Friday, 17 May 2019

Queen - A Night At The Odeon (1975)

  

Recorded live at Hammersmith Odeon, December 24th, 1975

This was recorded on Christmas Eve, 1975 as a BBC TV special, live from Hammersmith Odeon. I remember watching on a tiny portable 6" screen black and white TV in my bedroom. Now it is available as a CD with accompanying DVD, which is great, after all these years. The music is my thing, so that is what I shall comment on. The sound quality is absolutely superb, much better, in fact, than Queen's "Live Killers" from 1979, which, for ages, was their only official live album. God knows why this was allowed to rot in the vaults for so long.

Queen were at the height of their first era powers here. "Bohemian Rhapsody" was at number one and their popularity had soared. For me, this was Queen at their very best. You can't beat 1974-1977 and Freddie with long hair, black fingernails and frilly blouses, none of that macho eighties stuff :). As always with Queen live gigs, however, they insisted on doing a "medley" at one point. Did they ever play "Killer Queen" in its entirety? I doubt it, which was a shame. Also, the magnificence of "The Black Of The Black Queen" deserves a full performance, not just a minute and a half. Sacrilege. On this set, even "Rhapsody" is included as part of the medley, which again is a mistake and this segment all sounds very clumsy. "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" and "Son And Daughter" are also frustratingly curtailed.

That has always been my negative over Queen live sets. The rest of my points are always positives. "Now I'm Here", "Ogre Battle" and the beautiful, underrated "White Queen" are delivered superbly, full of resonance and sheer live power. One forgets just what a muscular, heavy outfit Queen at this period were. This was an excellent live performance from a group really at the top of their game. Forget all that later stadium stuff, venues like the Hammersmith Odeon were made for Queen to rock the floorboards. And they did. Wonderfully.

TRACK LISTING

1. Now I'm Here
2. Ogre Battle
3. White Queen
4. Bohemian Rhapsody
5. Killer Queen
6. The March Of The Black Queen
7. Bohemian Rhapsody (Reprise)
8. Bring Back That Leroy Brown
9. Brighton Rock
10. Son And Daughter
11. Keep Yourself Alive
12. Liar
13. In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited
14. Big Spender
15. Jailhouse Rock Medley
16. Seven Seas Of Rhye
17. See What A Fool I've Been
18. God Save the Queen

B+

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