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Queen began their longest tour of Japan on April 13th in the Budokan in Tokyo. And while the open night doesn’t have a tape source and remains shrouded in mystery, the second night has several tapes in circulation. One of the sources, which is good but muffled and thin sounding, was released on Pride And Joy (Wardour-047) several year ago.
Bootleg Race on Tarantura debuts the Mr. Peach recording for the show. Like other Peach tapes, it is very close to the stage and picks up the charisma and force of the band at this time. Queen sounds too loud for the recorder since the tape has slight distortion. It’s not too serious an issue, however, and is still better than Wardour.
Queen’s aesthetic changed throughout their
career depending upon their whims and movements in pop music. The Killers
era is the logical extension and summation of the seventies. A
certain brutality surrounds their music, but also nods to their theatric and
comical side too.
The opening sounds much too loud for the recorder to handle as they come onto stage for the fast arrangement of “We Will Rock You” which, after a curt greeting, is followed by “Let Me Entertain You,” a mindless rocker followed by a self-conscious parody of arena rock.
After ”Somebody To Love” Freddie introduces the next song as a song “from a new album called Jazz. Ah, you recognize it” after there is some cheering. “Much better than last night.” The John Deacon composition is alternated in the set with “Fat Bottom Girls” throughout the tour, and this is assumed to be the first performance in Japan.
Freddie introduces “Death On Two Legs”
saying, “we call him motherfucker. What does motherfucker
mean in Japanese? Well, you get the gist of it…” The
medley has a similar structure to the News Of The World medley
except that ”Good Old Fashioned Loverboy” is dropped in
favor of ”Bicycle Race” and “Millionaire Waltz” is dropped
altogether. It is a shame the single from Jazz is
truncated in the set, but they do manage to include bits of all of the
song’s sections in the ninety seconds it’s played. Included also
are the bicycle bells.
After that much fun, they return to arena rock starting with the playlet “It’s Late.” It’s such a melodramatic number that Freddie’s enthusiasm becomes infectious, sucking the listener in.
While introducing “Brighton Rock” Freddie makes fun at the band’s expense by introducing them as “the backing combo.” May’s solo is brilliant, but is actually quite overshadowed by Taylor’s Götterdamerung tympani interlude. It’s so loud it seems to shake the rafters of the Budokan, and the audience’s reaction boarders on the hysterical. Taylor has another, more conventional drum solo in the following song “Keep Yourself Alive.”
Freddie’s voice seems to weaken as the show progresses, forcing him to reinterpret the melody to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” During the final encore set, the audience sing along to “We Are The Champions” and, at the very end, the second closes to Mr. Peach serenade the band with their bicycle bells. It’s a true spontaneous show of support for the band and a great way to end the show.
Tarantura package Bootleg Race in a gatefold sleeve, utilizing the tour poster on the front cover and photos from the Killer tour in the inside. Since Freddie’s voice is quite alright in this show and given the sound quality, this is perhaps the best show to obtain for this era.