Queen – Earls Court 1977: Definitive Edition (no label)


Earls Court 1977:  Definitive Edition (no label)

Earls Court, London, England – June 6th, 1977

Procession, Tie Your Mother Down, Ogre Battle, White Queen, Somebody To Love, Killer Queen, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy, The Millionaire Waltz, You’re My Best Friend, Bring Back That Leroy Brown, Death On Two Legs, Doing All Right, Brighton Rock, ’39, You Take My Breath Away, White Man, The Prophet’s Song, Bohemian Rhapsody, Keep Yourself Alive, Stone Cold Crazy, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited, Now I’m Here, Liar, Rock and Roll medley (Lucille, Jailhouse Rock, Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, Stupid Cupid)

In the early eighties Earls Court was christened to be the pinnacle of arenas for rock performances in London with Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and, Genesis all booking the venue.  Queen ended the long and fruitful tour for A Day At The Races with two shows, on June 6th and June 7th.  For the event the band paid £50,000 on a new lighting rig, the famous giant crown, measuring  25 feet tall by 54 feet wide and weighing two tons.

Like Zeppelin before them, Queen also simulcast the action on stage onto giant screens so that everyone in the venue could have a close up view.  Earls Court 1977:  Definitive Edition captures the footage captured by one of the two cameras that night.  As to be expected, there are premium close up shots of the band with some great full stage shots. 

It’s obvious that this is one of two cameras because at times it focuses upon something other than the obvious action onstage.  During “White Queen,” for example, instead of focusing upon Freddie singing the song you can watch Brian playing the guitar and singing back up.  And during “Bohemian Rhapsody” the camera focuses for a long time on John Deacon.

The manufacturers of this title either got hold of a really good print or did excellent work because the video has never looked better.  There is much more definition and clarity in the colors and in the dark sections.  It is eminently watchable and stands as one of the greatest Queen videos from their arena rock seventies peak.

The video begins with the “Procession” introduction.  Although it was abandoned several years before, it was revived only for these two shows before disappearing again forever.  “Procession” segues into the A Day At The Races music before the band come on stage with “Tie Your Mother Down.”  Freddie’s vocals cut out several times throughout the song and is followed immediately with “Ogre Battle.”

Afterwards Freddie thanks the crowd and asks:  “This is the right carnival, isn’t it? Did you see in the front? I shall have to have a look at it tomorrow, right?”  Queen play “White Queen,” a song that has been a constant in the set for three years, for the penultimate time.  It would appear in the following night’s show and then be dropped.

The medley on this tour starts with “Killer Queen” in which perfume came “naturally from London,” runs through two Freddie songs from the new album and ends with “Bring Back That Leroy Brown” (like “White Queen” making it’s penultimate appearance ever in a Queen show).

 Before “Brighton Rock” Freddie claims he was going to make a long speech, “but forget it.  Cheers!  Have champagne for breakfast tomorrow.” He introduces the song which features “a very well-known fireplace that hangs around Mr. May’s neck.”  May’s solo is very long with bits of “Frère Jacques” and “Three Blind Mice” in the improvisation. 

The heavy metal extravaganza is followed by the only acoustic song of the night “’39.”  The band line up at the front of the stage including Roger Taylor with bass drum and tambourine.  On the next tour it would be expanded with “Love Of My Life” and would grow even longer on the Jazz tour.  Instead, it’s followed by Freddie’s solo piece “You Take My Breath Away.”  An amplifier blows up in the middle, startling the singer, but he continues without a beat.  Afterwards he jokes “maybe next time we will bring back an orchestra, bring with us an orchestra, what you think? Costs more money. I really feel like been evil tonight.”

The next big extravaganza is the long “White Man” / “The Prophet’s Song” medley.  Freddie tells the audience before hand that “every night that we’ve done the song, these two songs on the tour, they seem to getting better every night, depending on the practice of course. But it really depends on the audience as well. Now, you’ve been a bit cool and sophisticated up to now, but get your asses going, ok? We can all be nice and cool, but I mean you’ve got to give out some time.”  Despite the absurdity of the topic of the songs, it is an exciting live piece with Freddie’s vocal gymnastics. 

“In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited” makes one of its final appearances as the final number this night, and the encores include “Now I’m Here,’ “Liar,” and a rock medley which incorporates Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting.”  It is pressed in NTSC format region zero and is compatible with all DVD players in a basic DVD plastic case with double sided inserts.  Earls Court 1977:  Definitive Edition is a tremendous release worthing having.     

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