Queen – Hail To Majesty (Wardour-055)


Hail To Majesty (Wardour-055)

Exposition Hall, Portland, ME – April 28th, 1974:  Procession, Father To Son, Ogre Battle, Son And Daughter, See What A Fool I’ve Been, Liar, Keep Yourself Alive, Modern Times Rock’n’Roll, Big Spender,  Bama Lama Bama Loo

Rainbow Theatre, London, UK – March 31st, 1974:  Procession, Father To Son, Ogre Battle, Son And Daughter, Keep Yourself Alive, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Modern Times Rock’n’Roll, Liar

Hail To Majesty contains two interesting tapes from early 1974, when Queen were touring off of the new album Queen II.  The first show is the April 28th, 1974 Portland, Maine Joe Maloney tape.  The Breakdown CDR label released a high generation copy of this tape on Early Battle which has tape deterioration by the end of the tape and runs too fast. 

When the master transfer surfaced, Breakdown released it again on First American Tour (with the 1977 BBC session as filler) and also on Portland Expo + Rainbow Theater 1974 (EOW-011) with the March, 1974 Rainbow Theater as filler.  Wardour follows the latter release by offering the master transfer of the Portland tape with Rainbow as filler, making this the first silver release of the concert. 

This runs at the correct speed and there is no drop in sound quality making it one of the best sounding audience tapes from Queen’s first tour of the US.

Since Queen were opening for Mott The Hoople and were sharing the bill with Aerosmith, the forty-five minute Portland tape represents the entire show.  The tape begins with the majestic Queen II opener “Procession” and “Father To Son.”  Another new song “Ogre Battle” follows and one can’t begin to imagine the audience’s reaction to the pounding drums, slashing guitars and whimsical lyrics of this epic piece.  

Brian introduces “Son & Daughter” as “something you might know a little bit better.”  May’s guitar goes out of tune at 5:57, right at the end of the guitar solo and plagues him for the rest of the show.  In the New Orleans show the week before this they played “Great King Rat,” but in Portland that is dropped as Freddie explains, “What we’d like to do for you is what we do from time to time.  Sometimes we leave it out but since you’re a special audience we’d like to keep it in.”

They play a rare version of “See What A Fool I’ve Been.”   During “Keep Yourself Alive” May loses his place in the solo.  The set ends with a fast version of “Modern Times Rock And Roll.”  The encores include their rock and roll

The disc is filled with the popular March 31st, 1974 Rainbow Theater tape.  Some sources claim this is an excellent audience recording, but is a professional multi-track recording probably intended for Queen’s first live album.  This recording is an edit between a pre-LP tape and the LP to fill in some gaps surpassing in sound quality previous releases like Master Of “Sheetkeekers” and High Voltage

Wardour released this previously on Majestic Rock, a bonus CDR issued with Dressed To Kill (Wardour-033).  This is the same EXCEPT they chopped off the final two minutes of “Liar” to make it fit with the Portland tape.  Quite why they cut the tape instead of using something else is a daft decision on the label’s part.  The thirty minute May 4 Waterbury, Connecticut tape has never been released on silver and would have made this a killer release with some extremely rare material.

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