Need Your Loving Tonight (Tarantura TCDQ-8-1, 2)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – February 13th, 1981
Disc 1 (59:20): Intro., Jailhouse Rock, We Will Rock You (fast), Let Me Entertain You, Play The Game, Mustapha, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, I’m In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, Need Your Loving Tonight, Save Me, Now I’m Here, Everybody Alright, Dragon Attack, Now I’m Here (reprise), Love Of My Life
Disc 2 (51:55): Keep Yourself Alive, drum solo, In The Death Cell, guitar solo, Vultan’s Theme, Battle Theme, Flash, The Hero, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, Another One Bites The Dust, Sheer Heart Attack, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen, announcement
After the highly successful Game tour in 1980 Queen played five nights at the Budokan in Tokyo from February 12th to the 18th. The band attended the Japan premier of the film Flash Gordon on February 10th, two nights before the opening show, and played a unique medley of tunes from the film during the performances.
Need Your Loving Tonight on Tarantura utilizes a new Mr. Peach recording of the event. Compared to the older tape pressed on Need You Loving Rock (Gypsy Eye GE-206/207), this is closer to the stage and much louder.
The break benefited Queen greatly. When the band are uptight they normally deliver an exciting show but when they are loose they can create such tremendous excitement and charisma and the second Tokyo show must rank among the very best.
The opening moments onstage are occupied with the same songs from the Game tour with ”Jailhouse Rock,” “We Will Rock You” and “Let Me Entertain You,” all excellent songs in building the excitement. ”Play The Game” provides some respite although Freddie truly blows his lungs out during the piece.
The medley begins with “Mustapha” and as Freddie is trying to get the crowd to sing along he interrupts the second “Ibrahim,” saying “stay in fucking tune!!!” “Death On Two Legs” had been an important part of the medley but five years after being introduced to the stage after Queen had become international superstars wore out its welcome and it would be dropped after this year. “Killer Queen” is very aggressive tonight with Freddie growling out the words.
“Fat Bottomed Girls” is dropped this night in favor of “Need Your Loving Tonight.” There is some commotion at the front of the stage when Freddie is introducing “Save Me.” He can be heard shouting ”Get him off!” a couple times and Brian is a bit distracted at the piano. In the middle of the next song “Now I’m Here” Freddie tries very hard to get the audience to clap in time.
“Dragon Attack” makes an appearance before “Now I’m Here” comes back again, beginning very slow and deliberate before “down in the city just Hoople and me.” The following “Love Of My Life” is the only acoustic number played in the set. May introduces the song in Japanese and the crowd sing along.
“Keep Yourself Alive” begins another exciting interlude in the show. May plays unique, mind bending riffs in the breaks which seems to confuse the rest of the band. Taylor plays a short drum solo as May goes into his solo spot with tympani underlining the opening notes. The six minute guitar solo, which would normally segue into the final verse of “Brighton Rock” goes into the “Vultan” theme from Flash Gordon instead.
Begun by Taylor on the drums, Freddie plays the catchy melody on synthesizer. They sustain it for almost two minutes before segueing into the bombastic “Battle” theme, running into “Flash” and finally ending with “The Hero.” It is the first time this arrangement was played on stage and would remain for the three remaining Tokyo shows (Feb 16, 17, and 18).
There is a small mistake when Taylor leads them into “The Hero” but May plays the “Battle” theme again. Freddie can be heard saying, “when am I singing?” The other nights would be much more polished but it’s a shame they never attempted this medley after Japan.
The energy continues with an improvisatory version of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and an impressive vocal performance in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Need Your Loving Tonight is packaged in a gorgeous gatefold sleeve with photographs from the Budokan shows.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)