Manchester Magic (Wardour-102)
Maine Road, Manchester, England – July 16th, 1986
Disc 1 (61:17): One Vision, Tie Your Mother Down, In The Lap Of The Gods … Revisited, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Tear It Up, A Kind Of Magic, Under Pressure, Another One Bites The Dust, Who Wants To Live Forever, I Want To Break Free, Impromptu, Guitar Solo, Now I’m Here, Love Of My Life
Disc 2 (41:31): Is This The World We Created?, You’re So Square (Baby I Don’t Care), Hello Mary Lou, Tutti Frutti, Bohemian Rhapsody, Hammer To Fall, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Radio Ga Ga, We Will Rock You, Friends Will Be Friends, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen
Disc 3 (56:39): One Vision, Tie Your Mother Down, In The Lap Of The Gods … Revisited, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Tear It Up, A Kind Of Magic, Under Pressure, Another One Bites The Dust, Who Wants To Live Forever, I Want To Break Free, Impromptu, Guitar Solo, Now I’m Here, Love Of My Life
Disc 4 (46:27): Is This The World We Created?, You’re So Square (Baby I Don’t Care), Hello Mary Lou, Tutti Frutti, Bohemian Rhapsody, Hammer To Fall, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Radio Ga Ga, We Will Rock You, Friends Will Be Friends, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen
Queen’s final tour hit an emotional and commercial peak with two sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium in London. Four days later they played what was originally scheduled to be their final gig in the UK on July 16th in Manchester in Maine Stadium, “The “Wembley Of The North” years before it was demolished in 2003.
That didn’t pan out when a final gig was scheduled for Knebworth in August.
Manchester is one of the most well documented of the UK gigs. Three audience tapes plus amateur-shot video all exist and have been released before in the past. The most high profile release is Trick Master on the CDR label Trial, a four CDR set with two audience sources and a DVDR with the video.
Manchester Magic is similar two the old Trial title. It also presents two audience reocrdings. The first two discs cover the so-called “Rubble” tape. It is a clear and dynamic stereo recording with multiple comments from audience members to lend “atmosphere” to the gig. Discs three and four contain a second recording that is clear but distant and dry.
I’m never sure exactly what is gained when two tape sources are presented in toto in one title. This could have been a nice two disc title with the first tape source only. This is the one that collectors will pop into the player when the want a fill of Manchester magic.
Before a capacity 35,000, Belouis Some (who had a minor hit that year with “Round, Round” from the Pretty In Pink soundtrack) and Status Quo opened the show before Queen hits the stage with “One Vision” and its segue into “Tie Your Mother Down.”
Freddie yells “Hello everybody! Is it happening???” With the already rowdy Manchester crowd riled up, he exaggerates the tempo to the beginning lines of “In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited,” offering a melodramatic spin to the already maudlin piece. The Sheer Heart Attack tune melts perfectly into “Seven Seas Of Rhye,” one of his more demanding songs.
Freddie’s voice sounds very weak and painful to listen to in the two Wembley shows. But the four day break was a great benefit to the singer and he gives perhaps his best vocal performance of all the UK gigs.
The two boogie numbers, “Under Pressure” and “Another One Bites The Dust” get the audience so rambunctious that they start singing a football chant while Freddie is introducing “Who Wants To Live Forever?” He scolds them “This is not a picnic!”
Brian May’s guitar solo lasts over seven minutes before seguing into “Now I’m Here.”
The Manchester crowd behave themselves during the long acoustic section of the show, singing along with “Love Of My Life” and humming to “Is This The World We Created?” The classics end with Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti.” The band are joined by Spike Edney on piano and Nicci Gable. She was a minor star who sang back up to Belouis Some that time.
Before the final song of the night “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” someone in the audience sounds an air horn. Deacon duplicates the sound on the bass right before Freddie plays the opening notes.
The encore set with “Radio Ga Ga,” “We Will Rock You,” “Friends Will Be Friends” and “We Are The Champions” also move the audience close to tears. Everyone in the stadium (it seems) sing the words to “God Save The Queen” as the band are waving goodbye to the crowd. So ends the band’s final show in Manchester with Freddie.
Manchester Magic is packaged in a fatboy quad jewel case with Wardour’s expected tasteful graphic design. There are the usual Magic Tour photos including an interesting fish eye view from behind the stage in the middle. Although this could have worked as a two-disc set, this is still a nice production worth having.