Queen – Canadian Assault (Wardour-053)

Canadian Assault (Wardour-053)

PNC, Vancouver, BC, Canada – December 14th, 1978

Disc 1:  Intro / We Will Rock You (fast), Let Me Entertain You, Somebody To Love, If You Can’t Beat Them, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, Bicycle Race, I’m In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, You’re My Best Friend, Now I’m Here, Spread Your Wings, Dreamer’s Ball, Love Of My Life, ’39

Disc 2:  It’s Late, Brighton Rock, drum solo, guitar solo, jam, Fat Bottomed Girls, Keep Yourself Alive, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, Sheer Heart Attack, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen

Canadian Assault on Wardour presents, pressed on silver discs, the brand new tape source which surfaced in November 2006 of Queen’s Vancouver show on the Jazz tour.  Any good sounding tape is welcome, but this one is especially because no other tape has ever circulated from this date giving us a brand new show to enjoy. 

Notes accompanying this tape by the one who did the transfer state this is a first generation analogue remastered to digital: 

“Originally recorded by Fred W. from right up front and center. Lineage: Fred’s mics and rig (unsure – Marantz?)>Maxell UD90 tapes>vintage Akai replay deck (azimuth adjusted, no Dolby)>Sentrek 12 band analog EQ (minor low and high boost)>Denon DRM500 recording deck (Dolby on for recording) to make my tape copy>Maxell XL II 90>played back on same Denon DRM500 (azimuth re-adjusted, no Dolby)>Sentrek 12 band analog EQ (more lows and highs, shaping upper bass/lower mids)>SoundBlaster live! 5.1 card (grounded and tweaked)>Wavelab 4.0 (track markers only, no digital processing at all)….When I originally copied this from Fred’s collection for myself on cassette, I was amazed how clear this recording was and how close Fred sounded to the stage. I almost always performed EQ surgery on any copies I made to try and smooth everything out, and this was no exception. This tape, like many recordings Fred did thru the years, was pretty close to perfect already and didn’t need much work to make it sound like you were actually there, however, the lowest tones of bass and kick drum were a little thin, and upper bass/lower vocal range was a little jumpy.

“Well that’s all fixed now.  There is some noise associated with the original tapes (normal bias ‘low noise’ tapes!) but that should not discourage you at all. My copy sounded more pleasing than the originals did, and even more refined when played into the computer for you now. I have chosen to not process the noise out, and leave a little bit of the shit and corruption in. I think the background noise gives this tape life and breath, and removing it would kill the atmosphere it brings. You will get used to it after 5 minutes, and it’s not noticeable at all over the music.” 

The cdr label Breakdown was the first out of the gate with this tape with the release of Right Up Front, but Wardour produced a beauty of a release with Canadian Assault.  They compare this to the Montreal and Chicago tapes from this tour (and also released by Wardour) and it is a fair comparison. 

The hiss mentioned above is not a factor and outside of the audience screaming their heads off in the beginning and some scattered comments they are not intrusive.  There are several cuts on the tape with the first coming after “You’re My Best Friend” that omits the very beginning of “Now I’m Here”.  There is a small cut after “Spread Your Wings”, but the biggest cut is at the end of the guitar solo in “Brighton Rock” which cuts out the second verse.  Nevertheless, Vancouver is a beautiful, vivid, three-dimensional recording that captures the essence of the Killers era.  The performances of the songs is reminiscent of the atmosphere on the official release and now stands as one of the best recordings from the North American Jazz tour.

The following year’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Another One Bites The Dust” would be their best selling hits and would permanently change their aesthetic into more pop and dance oriented, but Jazz is Queen at their most dark and aggressive.  The songs were slower and more deliberate, and even their lighter songs sound menacing. 

Brian May introduces “Somebody To Love” as “a song that will bring back some memories” and give a performance that gets the audience by the recorder excited.  Freddie offers a long explanation about “Death On Two Legs” when he says,  “About three years ago we used to have a manager.  Or a manag-ah in English.  The guy used to try to look out for us and he was a real motherfucker I tell you.  And we soon got rid of him and we remember him and wrote him a song.  That’s right, that’s right, this is a song called ‘Death On Two Legs.'” 

“Bicycle Race” is included in the medley and includes snippets of each of the parts of the very complex number.  Vancouver’s “Spread Your Wings” is perhaps the best version on tape with an emotional solo by May.  A girl by the recorder reacts to seeing the small acoustic set stage lowered as May says, “We’ll have a little fun now.  We have a little, special stage to get closer this time.” 

The second half is dominated by the long “Brighton Rock” solo that includes May’s effects and Roger Taylor’s tympani solo.  It is cut as they get into a catchy heavy metal riff.  Canadian Assault makes good use of the Jazz motif and includes several stage shots plus the famous photo of the naked women on stage with their bicycles.  Along with the other Queen releases on Wardour, this is another high-class title worth having. 

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