Queen – Great Queen In Vienna (Gypsy Eye GE152/153)

Great Queen In Vienna (Gypsy Eye GE152/153)
Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria – September 29th, 1984

Disc 1 (47:51):  Machines (tape), Tear It Up, Tie Your Mother Down, Under Pressure, medley:  Somebody To Love / Killer Queen / Seven Seas Of Rhye / Keep Yourself Alive / Liar, improvisation – It’s A Hard Life, Mustapha (intro) / Dragon Attack, Now I’m Here, Is This The World We Created?, Love Of My Life

Disc 2 (60:24):  Stone Cold Crazy, Great King Rat, Machines (keyboard improvisation), Brighton Rock (incl guitar solo), Another One Bites The Dust, Hammer To Fall, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga, I Want To Break Free, Jailhouse Rock, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen

Queen ended the month long Works tour of Europe with two shows at the Stadhalle in Vienna on September 29th and September 30th.  Great Queen In Vienna on Gypsy Eye is the only silver pressing of any of the Vienna shows, presenting the first of the two.  The label utilizes the soundtrack from the 8mm amateur home video taped of the entire show.  It is very clear and precise but thin sounding with the emphasis on the high end. 

The show is virtually complete.  There are small cuts at the beginning of “Is This The World We Created?,” a very small cut at the beginning of the keyboard “Machines” solo and a gap cutting out Freddie’s introduction to “Another One Bites The Dust.” 

The strain of singing every night is evident in Freddie’s voice in the very first songs “Tear It Up” and “Tie Your Mother Down.”  He struggles to hit the high notes and his voice wanders everywhere throughout the entire evening.  The rest of the band compensate however and Brian May in particular delivers and amazing display of virtuosity throughout.  

The first medley of the night is played at a furious pace beginning with “Somebody To Love.”  The Queen II homage “Seven Seas Of Rhye” is simply furious, but May tears up “Keep Yourself Alive,” having fun in spitting out heavy metal screeches on the guitar. 

One of the characteristics of the Works set is Queen’s desire to pack so much into medley.  The first begins with “Somebody To Love,” but “Mustapha” stars one with “Dragon Attack” and “Stone Cold Crazy” begins one which showcases May and ends with the final verse of “Brighton Rock.”  This tactic is more than simple nostalgia by referencing songs from the past, but it creates a sense of possibility and that anything is possible.

This fury is broken up by the short acoustic set.  May handles the introductions as he normally does and points out that, no matter what their fortunes are in the rest of the world their popularity is consistent in Vienna.  It’s ironic that Works, the only Queen album recorded and mixed in the US, was never played there and Brian sounds a bit bitter in his comments.  Queen’s reaction to their drop in popularity in the US is an overreaction.  The Game was such a success that anything would have paled in comparison.  

Regardless, after the medleys they focus upon the hits and the new singles.  In “Hammer To Fall” May busts a string and has to use a spare guitar.  He disappears in the mix obviously but otherwise the band don’t miss a beat.  

Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright” is played by audience request as a prelude to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  The big hit from the LP “Radio Ga Ga” closes the show.  A full two minutes of cheering proceeds the first encore, “I Want To Break Free” complete with the audience reacting to Freddie in drag.  A six minute improvisotory “Jailhouse Rock” leads into the expected “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions.”  Great Queen In Vienna is given an austere looking front cover with a shot of Freddie singing one of the acoustic songs.  Overall this is a great sounding document and one of Gypsy Eye’s best releases.         

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