Ultimate Dreamer (Wardour-020)
Ultimate Dreamer, the latest excellent Queen release on Wardour, is an updated and definitive version of the Zoom 1979 (LLX 3/4/5/6) release from many years ago. The tapes used for this release are very good to excellent with just a tinge of fuzziness. This achievement is especially impressive given that this is the Festival Hall in Osaka which usually works against producing great tapes.
The Wardour release runs at the correct speed (the older releases ran a bit too fast) and this is probably the definitive version. Some commentators observe that the tape for the second night is marginally better than the first. It is difficult to really tell since they are both excellent sounding and are superior documents from the Live Killers era.
Both performances are spectacular but the long touring is evident in Freddie’s voice. He’s able to hit most of the high notes and is very effective. It would completely give out in a couple of days and is evident on Wardour’s release of the April 25th show in Tokyo Dreamer’s Ball. But here it’s still pretty good and Ultimate Dreamer is an excellent document of the last days of Queen as a 1970’s arena rock juggernaut.
Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – April 19th, 1979
Disc 1: 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, Don’t Stop Me Now, Spread Your Wings, Dreamer’s Ball
Disc 2: Love Of My Life, ’39, It’s Late, Brighton Rock, drum & 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
Discs one and two contain the April 19th tape and it is complete from beginning to end, including long stretches between the encores giving. Freddie does his usual salutations in Japanese before launching into “Let Me Entertain You”. The fourth number on the Jazz tour alternated between the single “Fat Bottomed Girls” and the John Deacon number “If You Can’t Beat Them”.
This decision is still puzzling today since the former was an A-side single release that received lots of radio play then (and now) whereas the latter is a weaker number that has lapsed into obscurity. The medley on this tour is the only opportunity we have for a live “Bicycle Race”, but the audience reacts mostly to “I’m In Love With My Car”. “Don’t Stop Me Now” features the band introducing a new arrangement in the middle, a heavy power chord motif that is unique to both of the Osaka performances.
Disc 3 Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – April 20th, 1979: We Will Rock You (slow), 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, Teo Torriatte, Don’t Stop Me Now, Dreamer’s Ball, Love Of My Life
Disc 4: ’39, It’s Late, Brighton Rock, drum & guitar solo, Keep Yourself Alive (incl. Fun It), Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, Sheer Heart Attack, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen
The tape for the April 20th performance on discs three and four is virtually complete. There are small cuts in “Now I’m Here” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”. They are very small and don’t lose too much music. The set list is similar to the proceeding show. Freddie says: “This is a slightly different show from last night. This next song is from A Night At the Opera called ‘Death On Two Legs’. OH! I told you this was a different show. This is called ‘If You Can’t Beat Them’. I fucked up!?!”
“Spread Your Wings” is also dropped in favor of “Teo Torriatte”, their ode to Japan. Just like the other shows on the tour their long acoustic set (the longest the would ever play with three songs) is followed by the heavier songs “It’s Late” and “Brighton Rock”, featuring May’s long guitar solo and Taylor’s tympani show piece. “Keep Yourself Alive” contains a clear reference to the Jazz track “Fun It”, making this the only live performance of the piece.