Princess Road (Tarantura TCDQ-4-1, 2)
Shiritsu Kohseinenkin-Kaikan, Himeji, Hyogo, Japan – March 24th 1976
Disc 1 (44:02): opening, start, introduction, Bohemian Rhapsody, Ogre Battle, MC, Sweet Lady, MC, White Queen, Flick Of The Wrist, MC, Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, The March Of The Black Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody (reprise), Bring Back That Leroy Brown, MC, Brighton Rock, Guitar Solo, Brighton Rock, Son And Daughter
Disc 2 (54:07): Band Introduction, The Prophet’s Song, Stone Cold Crazy, MC, Doing Alright, Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon, Keep Yourself Alive, Drum Solo, Keep Yourself Alive, Liar, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited, Now I Am Here (encore), Big Spender, Jailhouse Rock, Stupid Cupid, Be Bop A Lula, Jailhouse Rock, God Save The Queen
Despite their popularity gained from the success of Sheer Heart Attack and A Night At The Opera in England, Japan was the first place to grow and develop a rapid, fanatical following for Queen. The reception they received on their first visit in 1975 caught them by surprise and inspired Freddie in particular to become deeply interested in Japanese culture.
On their return to Japan in 1976 more shows were scheduled and, with the case of the third night in Himeji, more obscure cities. Princess Road is the latest Queen release on Tarantura utilizing a previously uncirculated Mr. Peach recording. The sound is slightly distant but very clear and dynamic, capturing the atmosphere of the show very well. A tape flip after “Son And Daughter” eliminates some of the band introduction and one after “Liar” eliminates Brian May’s speech and the opening notes to “In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited,” but is otherwise complete.
Freddie acknowledges the reception by attempting phrases in Japanese past the expected “domo” and “konichiwa.”
The recording starts off with the opening tape which leads into the hard rock section of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and a great “Ogre Battle.” Roger Taylor botches some of the backing vocals and Freddie’s voice is very erratic. This is most noticable when he sings the first verses of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the medley. He’s forced to invite a new melody for the tune, stretching it in new directions.
The middle of the show is devoted to Queen’s heavy metal / vocal games and gymnastics with the long “Brighton Rock” (with the dark “Son & Daughter” thrown in) and “The Prophet’s Song.” Freddie throws in a “death on two legs….” reference in the latter.
After “Doing Alright” Freddie introduces “Lazy On A Sunday Afternoon” as “one minute six seconds of a song.” Taylor has his drum solo in “Keep Yourself Alive” and the set ends with “In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited,” one of their more effective set closers which would be replaced later in the year. “Now I’m Here,” the single from Sheer Heart Attack is the first encore and the rock and roll medley with Freddie’s strip tease closes the evening.
Princess Road comes packaged in a gatefold sleeve with common photographs from the tour. This the fourth Mr. Peach recording to be pressed onto Tarantura and the second from 1976. Since it seems that the Peach archive is extensive and Queen played Japan often, we can hopefully expect many more excellent sounding recordings to surface in the future.