Imagine (Gypsy Eye GE 162/163)
Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany – December 14, 1980
Disc 1 (52:29): Opening, Jailhouse Rock, We Will Rock You (fast), Let Me Entertain You, Play The Game, medley, Save Me, Now I’m Here, Dragon Attack, Now I’m Here (reprise), Fat Bottomed Girls
Disc 2 (46:27): Love Of My Life, Imagine, guitar solos, Battle Theme, Flash, The Hero, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, Another One Bites The Dust, Sheer Heart Attack, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen
Queen’s tour of Europe for The Gamecoincided with the release both of Flash Gordon and the death of John Lennon, both ironically on December 8th. Material from the film soundtrack was introduced into the setlist that night and on the following evening a short tribute to Lennon with a cover of “Imagine” was also introduced.
One of the better documents from this era and with the cover intact comes from the December 14th show in Frankfurt, Germany. Imagine on Gypsy Eye is potentially a very good and clear audience recording of the event. The mastering on the tape is really poor, however. There are clicks scattered throughout the show and it sounds as if the remote plug for the tape recorder’s microphone wasn’t complete in the slot. It’s an annoying mastering fault by the label (it’s present in the alternate tape too).
It’s a frustrating listen and it makes it very hard to make it though the concert. “Sheer Heart Attack” and the forty-second fragment of “God Save The Queen” are missing from this source and Gypsy Eye edit a poor sounding alternate source to complete the show.
The performance is outstanding. And Frankfurt, known to have many disturbances in the audience because of inebriated American soldiers (Led Zeppelin, Genesis and Queen in 1982 all has problems in this venue), but this night they are well behaved.
European shows began as the American, with the cover of “Jailhouse Rock” serving as an introduction to the fast “We Will Rock You” and “Let Me Entertain You.” After “Play The Game” comes the medley which includes “Mustapha,” “Death On Two Legs,” “Killer Queen,” “I’m In Love With My Car,” and “Get Down Make Love” and like many of their releases Gypsy Eye groups the songs into one track.
Brian plays the piano at the beginning of “Save Me” but plays the wrong notes. Freddie has to stop singing for a bit and allow May to figure out the chord. The song continues without a hitch. “Now I’m Here,” which had the long vocal gymnastics on the Jazz tour now has the new song “Dragon Attack.” This is followed by “Fat Bottomed Girls” and afterwards May tells the audience: “I have very little to say, except you’re probably the best audience in the western world. The loudest, anyway…. This better be good, I tell you. You gotta sing this pretty good. This is called ‘Love Of My Life.'”
An acoustic arrangement of “Imagine” follows, lasting almost three full minutes and is greeted with loud applause. May’s eight minute guitar solo follows which segues into the Battle Theme from Flash Gordon, “Flash” and “The Hero.” All of this is tremendous fun.
The show ends with “Tie Your Mother Down.” The first encore set follows with “Sheer Heart Attack” and “Another One Bites The Dust” and the second with the expected “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions.” Gypsy Eye’s artwork is clever, utilizing a motif inspired by the Lennon LP Imagine with Freddie’s photo on the front. But as good as it is, this release could have been so much better and is another wasted opportunity.