Operatic Ecstasy (Wardour-003)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – March 31st, 1976
Disc 1: Bohemian Rhapsody (taped intro), Ogre Battle, Sweet Lady, White Queen(As It Began), Flick Of The Wrist, Bohemian Rhapsody/Killer Queen/The March Of The Black Queen/Bohemian Rhapsody/Bring Back That Leroy Brown, Brighton Rock, Son & Daughter, The Prophet’s Song, Stone Cold Crazy, Doin’ Allright, Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon, Keep Yourself Alive
Disc 2: Seven Seas of Rhye, Liar, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited, Now I’m Here, Big Spender, Jailhouse Rock, See What A Fool I’ve Been, God Save The Queen
It is a shame that Queen’s early concerts in Japan were not properly recorded and released. All of the tapes of their first two tours in support of Sheer Heart Attack and A Night At The Opera are listenable at best, but nothing like the Zeppelin tapes from their two Japanese tours. Just like other bands, Queen were accepted by the audience and they played exceedingly well.
Operatic Ecstasy is the second of four concerts played in Tokyo and one of the final for the Opera era. Freddie is at his preening best calling everyone “dears” and “cheribs” and drinking a toast to everyone. He even attempts entire phrases in Japanese to the approval of the crowd. The set list is filled with songs from all their LPs up to that point with the emphasis upon their latest of course.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” appears three times (the taped opera section and the “so you think” section at the beginning, the first couple of verses through the guitar solo at the beginning of a medley, and the final verse at the end). “Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon” makes a rare appearance in the set (only in Japan), although it is too brief to cause comment. Freddie makes a unique reference to “Death On Two Legs” during the vocal gymnastics in “The Prophet’s Song” (“Death on two legs…you’re tearing me apart” in the midst of the “now I know” section).
This is a nice production from the new label Wardour. Queen silver titles are still hard to come by these days, so it’s a nice addition to the catalogue. The tape is a very clear and crisp mono recording that is slightly distant from the stage. There are no offensive audience noises, however, and all of the instruments are clear and well balanced. Recommended to all fans of Queen and a sterling example from the Night At The Opera era.