Piece De Resistance (Eat A Peach EAT 125/126)
The Forum, Montreal, Quebec, Canada – December 1, 1978
Disc 1 (60:34) We Will Rock You, Let Me Entertain You, Somebody To Love, If You Can’t Beat Them, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, Bicycle Race, I’m In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, You’re My Best Friend, Now I’m Here, Spread Your Wings, Dreamers Ball, Love Of My Life
Disc 2 (59:59) ’39, It’s Late, Brighton Rock, Fat Bottom Girls, Keep Yourself Alive, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, Sheer Heart Attack, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen
Queen’s tour to support the Jazz record would consist of dates in North America, Europe, and Asia, curiously there would be no UK dates until late in 1979. The North American tour was the longest of the three legs and would be mostly made up of concerts in the United States and four dates in Canada, the second being in Montreal and the subject of the new release from the Eat A Peach folks. The Montreal date has circulated for some time thanks to the recording, early editions of the concert have been Live In Montreal (Continental Sounds CS CD 10-005-006), Live Achievements (Gypsy Eye GE-090/091), Best Of Montreal (Wardour 022), and Definitive Montreal (Wardour 157). For review purposes I will be comparing this new set to the older of the Wardour titles, Best Of Montreal.
The recording has seen so many releases thanks to the wonderfully dynamic and atmospheric audience recording. It is clear and very well detailed, there is just a bit of audience noise near the taper, an occasional clap but nothing too intrusive, it does pick up the ambience within the Forum perfectly, this release demands to be played loud! When compared to the Wardour Best Of Montreal I find it to be similar, the Wardour is perhaps a bit louder and the Peach version is warmer and a bit more natural sounding. In his assessment of that title he stated that it may possibly run about 1% too slow, this new Peach title has similar music speed to it and to my ears does not drag, but neither does the Wardour title. I spot checked a few songs and found them to be the same length wise. The main differences I hear is they made the recording smoother, case in point the beginning of the concert has the taper adjusted his levels a bit lower and someone near him or the taper himself claps from time to time, they are smoothed over a bit in this version making them a bit less jarring. I found myself indifferent to the mastering, it does not harm the recording perhaps they make it a bit more palatable.
The concert is superbly played, the band seemed fueled by a very enthusiastic audience, I love the fast version of We Will Rock You into Let Me Entertain You, superb opening sequence and sets the tone of the evening’s performance. Somebody To Love has some really nice vocal harmonizing, I really love the ending of the song where Roger Taylor and Freddie sing the alternating chorus, Roger’s raspy vocals contrasting Freddie’s operatic style nicely. Brian May introduces the next selection in French, while not a huge fan of medleys I have always liked Queen’s. Not so much a medley but a non stop trio of songs that pack a punch, Death On Two Legs into Killer Queen via Freddie piano is a great transition, then into Bicycle Race into I’m In Love With My Car, very, very strong sequence of material.
According to the excellent Queen Live site, this version of Now I’m Here features Freddie’s “Show stopping vocal exchange with the audience”, great live song. Before I had any live Queen I had a cassette of Concert for the people of Kampuchea and was blown away by the song live, in fact it was what inspirited me to seek out Live Killers. The brief acoustic set is nice, GS states that the audience seem to be enjoying themselves, I cannot agree more, the three song set brings an intimacy to the recording that is quite nice. Queen Live says Freddie’s intro to Fat Bottom Girls is one for the ages, “We’re gonna do a brand new song for you right now. We’ve kind of excluded this in our latest repertoire. This next song is dedicated to all you ladies with great big tits and asses. And all you fellas with great big tits and asses!”, certainly one for the ages. The closing sequence of songs is very powerful and hit like a knock out punch Bohemian, Tie Your Mother, and Sheer Heart Attack whip up a frenzy, the audience cheer and bang on their seats in approval. Great recording and concert, at this stage Queen were a true force of nature.
The packaging is typical Peach, mini LP style sleeve wonderfully adorned with pictures from the Jazz tour, there is the fold open insert that does not have liver notes but does have the North American tour dates in the center. The CD’s have pictures on them, red blooded males will certainly appreciated the second disc as it has a bicycle race shot that is certainly to be admired. A typically nice package, and for me was worth seeking out.
I own Live In Montreal, Best Of Montreal, and now this new Eat A Peach title. All of these sound great and to say one is better than the rest will really just come down to personal preference. However, the Eat A Peach certainly has the best packaging and is a nice addition to their growing catalog. Great show, great sound…get it!