Get Your Knickers Off (Tarantura TCDQ-7-1, 2)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – March 22nd, 1976
Disc 1 (41:18): Opening, introduction, Bohemian Rhapsody, Ogre Battle, mc, Sweet Lady, mc, White Queen, mc, Flick Of The Wrist, mc, Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, The March Of The Black Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, Bring Back That Leroy Brown, mc, Brighton Rock, guitar solo, Brighton Rock, Son And Daughter
Disc 2 (54:17): band introduction, The Prophet’s Song, Stone Cold Crazy, mc, Doing All Right, Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon, Keep Yourself Alive, drum solo, Keep Yourself Alive, Liar, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited, Now I’m Here (encore), Big Spender, Jailhouse Rock (oldies medley), God Save The Queen
Queen second tour of Japan, after they scored their biggest worldwide hit with single “Bohemian Rhapsody” and LP A Night At The Opera, began on March 22nd in Tokyo and covered ten shows in six cities. Nine of the shows were taped and in circulation and were the source for many titles on both vinyl and silver pressed disc with the second night of the tour in Nagoya on March 23rd the earliest. The opening night in Tokyo was the missing link.
Get Your Knickers Off on Tarantura is the first time the opening night has been made available. It is a Mr. Peach recording of the entire show, including the long audience-cheering encore interludes. Compared to other Peach recordings it is slightly distant from the stage but still very clear and detailed.
Eleven days followed the final show of their US tour in San Diego on March 12th and the band sound, during the initial numbers, well rehearsed and enthusiastic to be in Japan again. The Kenny Everett opening tape leads into the already famous operatic middle of “Bohemian Rhapsody” before the band come on stage for the hard rock final verse.
Queen give the audience a heavy metal attack. The new song “Sweet Lady” is very powerful, quickly inciting the audience into a frenzy. Afterwards Freddie laughs, thanks the audience for the warm welcome, and drinks a toast to Tokyo before introducing the next number “White Queen.”
Brian May breaks a string during “White Queen” and has to switch to a spare guitar in the middle of the song. It comes close to ruining what is an otherwise excellent performance. Afterwards May tells Tokyo “it’s good to back. It’s been too long. We’ve been away too long” before introducing “Flick Of The Wrist” from Sheer Heart Attack.
The medley is fraught with problems. May botches the guitar part in the “Bohemian Rhapsody,” playing a strange out-of-tune melody, and Roger Taylor’s mic cuts out (or he misses a cue) in “The March Of The Black Queen” (the “my love is in your hand” part).
Things improve afterwards. “Brighton Rock,” which Freddie introduces by saying “is a song that we didn’t do last time, but we’re gonna do it now,” is extremely heavy and powerful. The guitar solo segues into the well-worn “Son And Daughter” riff and that song’s climax.
“The Prophet’s Song” is May’s second epic played in a row. Freddie duplicates his vocal gymnastics effectively before the song segues into “Stone Cold Crazy.” The contrast between the finesse of the former and heavy metal crunch of the latter is startling.
“Liar” is notable for the utter enthusiasm of the Tokyo audience, clapping along and responding to Freddie’s “I’m gonna be your slave…” with “ALL NIGHT LONG.” It is a very big, long and loud sing-along. May’s introduction to “In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited” is cut. “Now I’m Here” and the oldies medley close the show.
Tarantura package Get Your Knickers Off in a gatefold cardboard sleeve with several rare photographs from the 1976 tour of Japan. It’s a very nice release, a true gem, that is highly recommended for Queen collectors.