By Madeline Bocaro © 1977
Queen Have Conquered!
Queen’s 1977 American tour is their most extravagant yet. They have unveiled a 5,000 pound crown apparatus, which conceals – then lights up the band onstage. The 20 foot-tall, 50 foot-wide crown is lifted above the stage, revealing the noble, aesthetic band known as Queen.
The crown rises as the stomping beat of “We Will Rock You” fills Madison Square Garden on Queen’s fifth return to New York. (First was their opening gig for Mott The Hoople in 1974. This time, Queen stands alone without a support band – strict headliners.
Freddie Mercury, Queen’s lead singer and poseur is the absolute ruler of both the stage and his audience. His monumental stance enslaves all eyes upon his slinky feline body, clad in a tight monochrome leotard with a harlequin pattern. Freddie’s golden voice is a precious instrument – whether he’s snarling out one of the band’s nasty ditties, or crooning one of their beautiful ballads.
The almost 2-hour long performance included selections from the band’s previous albums, along with a few from their latest, News of the World. There was a medley of singles; “Killer Queen”, “Somebody to Love”, “You’re My Best Friend” – all with Freddie at the piano.
Their extraordinary guitarist, Brian May was featured on “Brighton Rock” from their third album Sheer Heart Attack– definitely a highlight of the show. Brian solely accompanied Freddie during the ballad “Love of My Life”.
All four of Queen’s noblemen, including bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor took center stage for a wonderful rendition of their strange and beautiful song about time travel, “39” – this time with Brian May on acoustic guitar.
There were the inevitable rockers; “Liar”, “Keep Yourself Alive”, “Stone Cold Crazy” and the classic “Bohemian Rhapsody”. “Prophet’s Song” exhibited Queen’s outstanding harmonizing vocals, abandoning all instruments for a bit.
Dramatic lighting effects gave a striking visual impact, driving the show. Occasional explosions and rising smoke added to the excitement. Not only was there the usual stage lighting, but lasers also shot from the rear of the arena.
Taking a champagne glass in hand, Sir Frederick of Mercury cordially raised a toast. “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.” He then showered the audience with champagne and carnations.
Queen returned for two encores, including Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright” and Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock”. “We Are the Champions” was performed through clouds of smoke, with Freddie sporting a New York Yankees baseball jacket and hat as he made his exit.
All lights were dimmed, except for one spotlight illuminating Queen’s traditional gong, while their recording of “God Save The Queen” was played – with the entire audience still on their feet. Queen have conquered.
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