Last Concert In Japan (Wardour-031)
Jo Hall, Osaka, Japan – May 15th, 1985
Disc 1: Machines intro., Tear It Up, Tie Your Mother Down, Under Pressure, Somebody To Love, piano improv., Killer Queen, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Keep Yourself Alive, Liar, impromptu, It’s A Hard Life, Day-O, Dragon Attack, Now I’m Here, Is This The World We Created?, Love Of My Life, guitar solo
Disc 2: Another One Bites The Dust, Mustapha (intro), Hammer To Fall, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Saturday’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’s final show in Japan is very well known due to the vinyl release soon after the event. Queen’s Last Stand 1985 is a famous albeit very rare title. In the mid nineties a silver disc release also called Queen’s Last Stand 1985 (ETS 2583) surfaced. This was sourced directly from vinyl and was packaged in a perfect mini replica of the sleeve down to the paper doll Freddie cut outs on the back.
After this a second audience recording surfaced and was released as The Last Concert In Japan on Masterport (076). This one is incomplete with fifteen seconds missing from “Radio Ga-Ga” (between 4:40 -4:55), and cuts out two minutes in “I Want To Break Free” missing the latter half of that song, “Jailhouse Rock”, “We Will Rock You”, “We Are The Champions” and “God Save The Queen”.
Both the Masterport edition and Last Concert In Japan, the new release on Wardour, perfectly edit the older source with the newer tape to give as complete a show as possible. Not having heard the Masterport release I can’t tell what the difference is between the two besides the missing definite article in the title. The timing on the first disc on Wardour is identical to Masterport and the second disc is thirty-three seconds longer.
The first tape source is a very good and clear, slightly distant complete stereo audience recording. The second source used for a majority of this release is superior to the first in every way, being more clear, detailed and powerful. Wardour did a masterful editing job between the two and every second of the concert is preserved on this release.
This was the final show of their long Works tour which began the previous September. During Queen’s touring career from the early seventies to the mid eighties they pretty much followed the same general pattern of recording an LP during the summer followed by a tour of the States, a tour of the UK and Europe and finally Japan.
By the time they hit the far east they were very well rehearsed and tight, but oftentimes Freddie’s voice suffered as a result. The tapes from the Jazz tour are a very good example of this. Freddie’s voice sounds pretty good after several months of touring but he sounds a bit ragged and struggles to hit some of the high notes. He always wanted a roughness to his voice and perhaps this is the intended affect.
The band are very loose in this show and throw in several extras. Most notable is Freddie playing several bars of “My Fairy Queen” from the first album before “Killer Queen”. This is the only hint of a live performance of the piece. Freddie sings the beginning of “Mustapha” as an intro to “Hammer To Fall” with mixed results.
His voice really strains on the first “Ibrahim” but it is a nice touch and the audience responds with the appropriate “hey!” Finally this show contains an impromptu “Saturday’s Alright For Fighting” before “Bohemian Rhapsody” and turns out to be their longest attempt of the Elton John piece.
Wardour have utilized for the first time on a Queen release the thick glossy inserts used also on the Sirene and Beano titles of late. The inside contains the picture from the “Hammer To Fall” video shoot that was also used for the front of Last Stand Budokan. This is a great document not only of Queen’s final show in Japan but also one of their final shows ever.
After this they did Live Aid and then the two month long Magic tour in the summer of 1986. Hopefully Wardour will release some of those documents in the future. Last Concert In Japan is definitely worth having and is a worthy upgrade to all previous releases of this essential show.