At Palace (Wardour-086)
Palace Theatre, Providence, RI – April 27th, 1974
(45:50): Procession, Father To Son, Ogre Battle, Son And Daughter, Great King Rat, Liar, Keep Yourself Alive, Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll, Big Spender, Bama Lama Bama Loo
Queen’s first US tour with Mott The Hoople has ascended into band legend courtesy of “Now I’m Here” from Sheer Heart Attack. Recently the Dan Lampinski recording of the April 27th, 1974 Providence concert has surfaced and has been pressed by Wardour.
At Palace contains Queen’s forty-five minute opening set in fair to good sound quality. It is one of Lampinski’s earliest tapes and is not nearly as good as the ones he would produce in later years. It is, however, a very rare and listenable recording of an important era in Queen’s history. A small cut at 3:37 in “Liar” is the only significant one on the tape.
Providence was the sixth stop on the tour (following gigs in Denver, New Orleans and Boston, among others). The taped “Procession” starts the show before “Father To Son,” the same progression as found on their latest LP Queen II.
Already the audience are begging for “Liar” from the first album, and Freddie Mercury has to cool their heels so they can get through the setlist. “We’d like…’Liar,’ oh yes. We’ll do that later in the show. Right now we’d like to do something from Queen II.” “Ogre Battle,” another new song follows, and sound much more brutal than the studio recording.
Brian May introduces “Son And Daughter” as “I want you to be a woman,” the first line of the song, and contains his elongated technical guitar solo. Not as long or as adventurous as “Brighton Rock,” but it is still effective for such a short and compact set. “Great King Rat,” which Freddie refers to as about “a dirty old man,” follows.
“Liar” receives the biggest ovation of the night since it was most popular in Providence at the time. May’s solo is unique for not having an echo effect, and the audience clap along to the tune. They receive a standing ovation afterward the song as well as after “Keep Yourself Alive.” Freddie tells them “you just keep yourself alive” and May interjects, “you young people here in America are fabulous.”
The reception is such enthusiastic that they return after “Modern Times Rock ‘N’ Roll” for a second encore of covers. At Palace is a great Queen release on Wardour, a title definitely worth having. The work on this tape to speed correct and make it listenable is tremendous.
I agree the sound quality isn’t up to standard for Dan Lampinski’s recordings but for the Queen collector is still an important release.