Today, Queen finally release Live at the Rainbow 1974.
These shows cull material from their truly amazing and underrated first three albums, pre-“Bohemian Rhapsody”, and let us thank God for that. Why is this release so important? Prior to their superstar turn on what would become a string of pretentious and uneven albums, Queen released, in just under two years, three LP’s of (gonna say it) fabulous hard and heavy RAWK: Queen, Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack.
The latter in particular was a varied affair, but with enough chops and smarts and attitude to carry off just about ANYTHING, and well. All killer, no filler: the sound of a young band that had nothing to lose.
The real shame is unlike almost all of their 1970s contemporaries, Queen waited until near the end of the decade to release a live LP (the just OK Live Killers from 1979). This release was originally planned to be out literally 40 years ago this fall. Those plans changed, and this material sadly sat in the vaults, with a few teasers here and there on compilations making their way to daylight and reminding people everywhere that Queen did once in fact rock just as good, if not better, than anyone.
Queen come off like a glam rock version of The Who: an awesome front man; a jackhammer solid and crazy drummer; a fluid, rock steady but quiet bass player and a hot shot guitar slinger. They never overshadowed one another and played tighter and with more precision than a Swiss watch. This concert is a rarity these days: casual fans won’t know many of the tracks, but taken as a whole, it is completely and utterly stunning.
Queen never rocked harder, heavier or with such style, confidence or swagger again. Listen and watch for yourself and then please do your best to try and defend every one of their albums after 1974. Word to the wise: you will fail.
Love to you all.
Photo: Courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment. l-r: John Deacon, Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury and Brian May
originally published on 09 September 2014