It’s A Killer (Wardour-037)
MECCA Arena, Milwaukee, WI – September 10th, 1980
Disc 1, MECCA Arena, Milwaukee, WI – September 10th, 1980: Radio promo spot for Milwaukee concert, intro, Jailhouse Rock, We Will Rock You (fast), Let Me Entertain You, Play The Game, Mustapha, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, I’m In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, You’re My Best Friend, Save Me, Now I’m Here, Dragon Attack, Now I’m Here (reprise)
Disc 2: Fat Bottomed Girls, Love Of My Life, Keep Yourself Alive, Drum / Guitar Solo, 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 1980 tour for The Game was the longest and most successful they ever did of North America. It began in Vancouver on June 30th and ended on September 30th in New York and saw both the LP and the single “Another One Bites The Dust” hit number one. It’s A Killer documents the September 10th show at the Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center and Arena (MECCA) in Milwaukee, the first show after a weeklong break. Some say the early September dates were cancelled but there is no evidence supporting that claim. Early dates on the itinerary included “Need Your Loving Tonight” and “Somebody To Love” but both were dropped and this show presents the typical set list for most of the concerts with no rarities. The sound quality is excellent and detailed although slightly distant from the stage. It is still one of the best sounding recordings from the era capturing the atmosphere of the performance perfectly. There is a small cut in the middle of “Dragon Attack” losing about five seconds but is otherwise complete.
The tape opens with a minute long FM radio spot advertising the concert as “the major entertainment event of the year…Wednesday night at eight pm… at the Milwaukee Arena. Queen concert. It’s a killer!” (hence the title). “Jailhouse Rock” opens the show followed by “We Will Rock You” and “Let Me Entertain You”, just like during the previous tour. “Play The Game” is a restful semi-ballad before the medley beginning with “Mustapha”. This Jazz song was introduced into the set for the Crazy tour in 1979 and would last until their appearance in South America in March 1981. Many people have asked about a translation for this song but it is really impossible. Freddie uses words in at least four different languages (English, Arabic, Parsi and Hindi) and is largely gibberish. But between the vocal melody and May’s eastern scales it is one of the most unique songs released by a major rock act. Before “Save Me” Freddie continues the nightly ritual of speaking about his appearance by asking, “Do you think I look like Burt Reynolds with this? A lot of people hate it but I don’t give a fuck…I don’t give two shits!”
Freddie’s charisma is mostly due, not to the exaggerated arm gestures and fist pumping, but upon his vulnerable self-consciousness that lets everybody in on the joke. Pay attention to his facial reactions to his own movements on some of the videos available. Before “Love Of My Life” Brian May says, “I don’t know if I should tell you this but we have an album out called The Game. We just heard tonight it’s gone to number one in Billboard with a bullet so thank you.” “Keep Yourself Alive” is expanded into the Roger Taylor / Brian May drums and guitar extravaganza begun the previous year and sounds very potent in this recording. They liked to save the best for last and “Another One Bites The Dust” is played as the first encore followed by a destructive “Sheer Heart Attack”. It’s A Killer is Wardour’s second release from the US Game tour (following Ultimate Entertainer II (Wardour-014)) and the label again uses a dark tint over the cover picture imitating the style of the official LP. The inside has several pictures from the tour including one of Freddie sitting on the shoulders of Darth Vader, a funny choice since he sang he doesn’t like Star Wars in “Bicycle Race”. Like other current releases on this label the inserts are printed on thick glossy paper and are limited to three hundred copies and is very recommended.
Bonus dvdr, Civic Center, St. Paul, MN – September 14th, 1980: Let Me Entertain You, Play The Game, Mustapha, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, I’m In Love With My Car, Love Of My Life, Keep Yourself Alive, Get Down Make Love, You’re My Best Friend, Save Me, Now I’m Here, Guitar Solo, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down
St. Paul 1980 is the bonus dvdr. It is twenty-four minutes shot on super 8mm by an enterprising fan in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. He had recently obtained the equipment and filmed fragments of several shows between 1980-1982 starting with a Gary Neuman show in March. He is on the floor in what looks like the tenth row and is able to capture some amazing close-ups of Freddie and the band over the heads of the audience. Wardour assembled the fragments out of order by placing “You’re My Best Friend”, “Save Me” and “Now I’m Here” after “Keep Yourself Alive”. Also, what is labeled as “Get Down, Make Love” on the release is actually the tympani and guitar solo from “Keep Yourself Alive”. The sound, recorded by an external mike held by the filmer’s brother, runs a bit too fast but is otherwise excellent. He placed the show in its entirety on Youtube and can be seen there. Since there is no other documentation for this show this is a welcome addition and a great bonus by Wardour. (GS)If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)