Queen – A Night At The Summit (Queen Digital Archives Q-006A/B)

A Night At The Summit (Queen Digital Archives Q-006A/B)

The Summit, Houston, TX – December 11th, 1977

Disc 1:  Intro (We Will Rock You slow, taped), We Will Rock You (fast), Brighton Rock, Somebody To Love, Medley:  Death On Two Legs / Killer Queen / Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy / I’m In Love With My Car / Get Down Make Love / The Millionaire Waltz/ You’re My Best Friend, Liar, Love Of My Life, ’39, My Melancholy Blues

Disc 2:  White Man, The Prophet’s Song (vocal part only)/ guitar solo, Now I’m Here, Stone Cold Crazy, Bohemian Rhapsody, Keep Yourself Alive, Tie Your Mother Down, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, Sheer Heart Attack, Jailhouse Rock, God Save The Queen

Queen’s show in Houston on the December 1977 is one of their legendary concerts not least for which is the hope for a complete video of the event.  Its existence has been gossiped about for years but the only shred we’ve had is about an hour of what sounded like a soundtrack.  Recently the entire soundtrack has been found and finally released as A Night At The Summit, the latest on the DQA label. 

The show is good and there is a lot of fun pouring out, but the first half of the show plagued by Brian May’s out of tune guitar.  It’s most noticeable in the “pastiche” (and not that “horrible word” medley, as Freddie petulantly explains) and the elongated “Millionaire Waltz” which sees him breaking a string and coming in late for the guitar solo. 

The string breaks again at the beginning of “Liar” and Freddie has to wait before coming in with the first verse.  (And to address Freddie’s complaint, a medley is “a series of songs strung together into one longer performance”, whereas a pastiche is “a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek imitation of another’s literary style”.  So, strictly speaking, Queen performs a medley and not a pastiche). 

After the acoustic set of “Love Of My Life” and “’39” things improve dramatically.  The “White Man” and “Prophet’s Song” medley includes a Brian May homage to Jimi Hendrix, the “Brighton Rock” solo, and the first recorded instance of the riff that would later be used on Hot Space’s “Put Out The Fire”.  

There is no return to the final verse of “The Prophet’s Song” as was the custom on this tour but rather the guitar solo segues into “Now I’m Here” (without the vocal games).  The show ends strongly and the only song missing is “Spread Your Wings” which may not have been played.  

A Night At The Summit is a must own for Queen collectors.  The tape is definitely the video soundtrack and not a soundboard.  It is excellent, crisp mono with some buzzing in quieter moments and some clicking in “We Will Rock You”.  It’s also great to finally see Digital Queen Archives release something this year.  After several groundbreaking releases last year, they fell quiet after their Live Crazy 1979 DVD last December.  With this and Secret Fantasy out, let’s hope they become more prolific.   

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