Pride And Joy (Wardour-047)
Queen toured Japan twice in their early days in 1975 and 1976, but had ignored the nation with some of their most rapid fans for more than three years, missing the far east for the Day At The Races and News Of The World tours. To make up for the lapse Queen gave them a three-week long tour between April 13th and May 6th with fifteen total concerts scattered all throughout the country.
They played five shows in the capital and two in Osaka, and appeared in cities not usually visited by big British bands like Sapparo, Yamaguchi, and Kanazawa.
All but three, April 13th in Tokyo, April 27th in Kobe, and April 28 in Nagoya, have at least a partial audience recording circulating. No soundboards are known to circulate although all of the concerts were professionally taped for the official live album released later that summer. Most of them were also filmed and the video for “Love Of My Life” contains footage from one of the Tokyo shows (although the audio comes from Frankfurt as does the LP).
Pride And Joy on Wardour collects two audio and one video recording from their Live Killers tour of Japan. None of the material is brand new but this is their debut on a commercial release and Wardour have remixed these tapes to present the shows in the best possible sound quality.
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – April 14th, 1979
Disc 1, Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – April 14th, 1979: Intro / We Will Rock You (fast), 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, Don’t Stop Me Now, Spread Your Wings
Disc 2: Dreamer’s Ball, Love Of My Life, ’39, It’s Late, Brighton Rock/Guitar Solo, Keep Yourself Alive, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, Sheer Heart Attack, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen
The first two discs cover the April 14th show. This is the second date of the tour and Freddie’s voice is in good, but not great, shape. Musically this is virtually the complete show with only a cut during the guitar solo in “Brighton Rock”. After the audience cheers die down at the beginning, the sound quality improves from fair to being very good and clear.
There are some muffles in the tape like during “I’m In Love With My Car” but nothing too serious. It is in mono and the spectrum of frequencies is very narrow but it presents a good and vivid account of the show that night.
During the Jazz/Killers “If You Can’t Beat Them” was alternated with “Fat Bottom Girls” on different nights and is played on this evening.
Freddie introduces “Death On Two Legs” saying, “we call him motherfucker. What do you say in Japanese? Well, you get the gist of it…” “Spread Your Wings” is spectacularly played and this is one of the last times for the song in Japan. The three song acoustic set is the longest they ever played in and included Brian May introducing the band before the little stage is lowered before “’39”.
“Brighton Rock” includes May’s pyrotechnic guitar solo and Taylor’s turn on the tympani.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” quite rightly is the final song with “Tie Your Mother Down” and “Sheer Heart Attack” the first two encores before the “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” finale.
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – April 23rd, 1979
Disc 3, Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – April 23rd, 1979: Intro / We Will Rock You (fast), Let Me Entertain You, Somebody To Love, Fat Bottomed Girls, 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, Teo Torriatte, Don’t Stop Me Now, Dreamer’s Ball, Love Of My Life, ’39
Disc 4: It’s Late, Brighton Rock/guitar solo, Keep Yourself Alive, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, Sheer Heart Attack, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen
The April 23rd show was the first of the final three in Tokyo and occurred after a two-night trip to Osaka. The mono audience tape is fair to good sounding very distant from the stage. Audience noises, cheers and whistles often drown out the music making it hard to hear.
Hardcore collectors will enjoy this tape since the concert is great, but the sound quality is rough going for the casual. “Fat Bottomed Girls” replaces “If You Can’t Beat Them” and “Teo Torriatte” replaces “Spread Your Wings” in the set list and this is one of the first times the track was ever played and would be featured in future tours of Japan.
Freddie’s voice continually deteriorated on this tour and is noticeably worse than the previous week although he is not nearly as bad as on the April 25 show. The show really heats up with one of the better medleys played in Japan.
“Death On Two Legs” is especially venomous and this is one of the best versions of “Bicycle Race”. “Don’t Stop Me Now” sounds very energetic although it is hard to enjoy with the poor sound quality. May plays a very heavy metal guitar solo in “Brighton Rock”.
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – April 25th, 1979
DVD, Live at Budokan – April 25th, 1979: Intro, We Will Rock You (fast), Let Me Entertain You, Killer Queen, Bicycle Race, I’m In Love With My Car, Teo Torriatte, Keep Yourself Alive, Don’t Stop Me Now, Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions
The DVD contains a thirty-two minute television broadcast from the April 25th concert. Fifteen minutes of this footage was broadcast in Japanese television in the ’80’s but in 2002 almost double was broadcast on television. According to the label this is an upgrade of the air check version done at a high rate transfer.
The video quality is extremely good and the sound quality is excellent and it is great to have such rare footage commercially available. The songs are mostly edited in one way or another but what is present is great. The most spectacular visual is seeing Freddie sitting on the shoulders of Superman dressed in a campy red-rhinestone studded short suit!
Pride And Joy is Wardour’s third release from this era following Dreamer’s Ball, with the audience recording of the April 25th Tokyo show, and Ultimate Dreamer with the two Osaka shows from April 19th and 20th. All three titles derive from “Dreamer’s Ball” in one-way or another and they even printed the lyrics to the song on the inside cover. It can be assumed that song is popular in Japan. It is a great song and was played only on these tours so it counts as somewhat of a rarity. It comes encased in a fatboy jewel case with glossy color inserts and is limited to only three hundred copies worldwide.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)