Queen – The Ultimate Entertainer (Wardour-012)


The Ultimate Entertainer (Wardour-012)

The Stadium, Chicago, IL – December 7th, 1978

Disc 1:  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/Your My Best Friend, Now I’m Here

Disc 2:  Don’t Stop Me Now (intro)/Spread You Wings, Dreamer’s Ball, Love Of My Life, ’39, It’s Late, Brighton Rock, guitar & drum solo, 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

Roger Taylor admitted in Mojo magazine last year that the Jazz era was one of heavy transition for the band.  This is the last gasp of the glam-arena-rock Queen before their pop revolution beginning with 1980’s The Game.  They may have been embroiled in personality conflicts and egos in this time but it doesn’t show in their performances which were over the top as usual.  This is the leather Freddie era with all of the excesses!

The Ultimate Entertainer documents Queen’s stop in Chicago in the beginning of the Jazz tour.  This tape surfaced about a year ago and is absolutely stunning in quality.  The taper used the venue’s own microphone hung over the stage cutting down the audience noise and distortion out completely.  Wardour advertised this release as being as good as Live Killers, the official live album from this tour, and they are accurate. 

The balance, depth, echo and dynamics are mind-blowing clear and powerful.  It rivals anything that Mike Millard, our favorite taper, produced.  The tape is virtually complete.  There are minor cuts present, and the very end of “We Are The Champions” is missing twenty seconds.

The show itself is phenomenal.  Queen were always masters of pacing a set list and selecting then current songs with the expected ones and rarities.  The Jazz concerts contained the longest acoustic set they did in their career with three songs (at most they did two).  “Dreamer’s Ball” is an excellent stage number and am sorry they dropped it after 1979.  “It’s Late” is very dramatic, and the medley works very well. Freddie hits the occasional bum note but in general is in good voice.

Boot releases from Queen’s US Jazz tour are few and far between.  In fact the most well known is Live Achievements on Gypsy Eye documenting their Montreal show from December 1st.  The only concern with this release is that the tape runs too slow.  If this were corrected in subsequent pressings then this would be an essential purchase.  But this is perhaps the most vivid Queen audience tape in existence and a no-brainer for Queen collectors. 

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