|Review by ReviewIt
Godfather’s latest Queen release presents two European shows from December 1974. The first, from Cologne, was released some time ago by the Gypsy Eye label as the 2-CD set In Concert ’74. Gsparaco posted a review of this title and readers are directed to that review for further details of the performance. The master tape of the show emerged in 2009 and has since been utilized for the single CD-R Best Cologne 1974 (the bonus disc with the Wardour release At Palace) and now for Majestic Wintertime.
review of the Gypsy Eye release has this to say about the sound:
Sartory Saal… is a small venue which guaranteed a clear recording.
An audience member sitting in front of the stage about ten metres back
produced this recording. There is a small cut at 7:28 in the guitar
solo and one after ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ but it’s otherwise complete...Gypsy
Eye attempted to brighten the tape a bit making it sound top heavy by
favoring the upper frequencies. A better generation has surfaced
recently that sounds better than this, however.”
thing which Gsparaco did not mention, but which other commentators have focused
on is some extraneous noise present here and on other Gypsy Eye
releases. Queenlive.ca states that, “Gypsy Eye have once again
added their crackling sound,” and The Real Wizard, posting on
queenzone.com, writes that ”they did hiss reduction, EQ’d it a
bit, and added this crackling sound they usually add to their
the emergence of the master, queenlive.ca refers to a minor speed issue
with the Cologne tape:
of the recording (minus God Save The Queen) plays a bit too fast.
After stopping the tape under the assumption that the show was over, the
aforementioned last track then cuts in, and the speed is correct.
The taper explained the speed difference as a battery issue, as his gear
would often work better after a short stop.”
Real Wizard mentions the speed issue more than once, concluding that,
“it only plays very slightly too fast.”
being an improvement, as one would expect from the use of the master tape, the
recording is a little lacking in clarity, with some hiss.
Any speed issues there may be are really not noticeable on
Godfather’s version or, indeed, on Best
Cologne 1974, though
both come in at around two minutes less than the old Gypsy Eye release,
allowing each of them to fit onto a single disc. I could discern no
obvious cut in the guitar solo on either release. Overall, the
tape is quite listenable for a recording of its vintage. The
taper himself, writing on queenzone.com, describes the sound
“H-I-S-T-O-R-I-C-A-L Mono-recording in ‘bad’ quality!” which
is a rather harsh judgement. Comments on the tape posted on
that site include, “not bad by 1974 standards” (Ginger01); “it
doesn’t sound bad at all. Maybe too much bass, but it will be
still a pretty enjoyable recording” (pittrek); ”a bit hissy,
slightly too much bass but powerful – definitely an upgrade!” (P-Tr
extinction event); “in my opinion is a much better version then Gypsy
Eye source” (CGtteir) and ”to my ears it has more depth and
punch” (The Real Wizard). Commenting at rather
more length, Madman, writes:
sound is mono, on one speaker, quite clear with good bass and small hiss
on the background. Really [sic] nice to my ears. For me it sound
like previous release, from Gypsy Eye have some EQ job (more treble, less
bass) and/or come from worser [sic] tape (so more hiss). This ‘new
tape’ have [sic] more clear vocal not so distorted, mentioned more
bass (wow, do You hear John job with this) and overal [sic] sound is just
better. In first play maybe sound ‘muffled’ but then it’s
two contains forty-three minutes of Queen’s show in Holland two days
later. The other band on the bill was the Dutch outfit Kayak and, by
at least some accounts, the show was a double-bill rather than one
involving a headliner and a support act. Apparently, more of the
audience was there to see Kayak than to see Queen.
van de Kamp, reviewing the show for Dutch magazine Oor,
writes some brief but positive comments about Kayak’s set and then sums
up Queen’s performance as follows:
it was possible to deliver an even more professional show [than Kayak],
especially in terms of stage presentation. Queen gave away a rousing show.
A truly royal spectacle, which amused me a lot. Carefully put
together, the show was convincing almost in its entirety. It is a band
full of ideas, both musically and visually. Singer Freddie Mercury
moved across the stage as if he was The Queen herself. And surprisingly,
on stage the band succeeded in putting across their often complex music
show started with ‘Procession’ (from tape), and the fitting ‘Now
I’m Here’ (from their new album Sheer Heart Attack), complete with
stereo effects: ‘Now I’m Here – Now I’m There…I’m Just A New
Man, Yes You Made Me Live Again.’
followed ‘Ogre Battle,’ Father To Son,’ ‘White Queen,’ ‘Flick
Of The Wrist,’ a clever medley with a piece of ‘Killer Queen,’ to
end with ‘Liar’ (on request), and a spectacular climax with ‘Lap Of
encore, ‘Big Spender’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ was a little bit of an
anti-climax to me. Then, accompanied by the majestic sounds of ‘God Save
The Queen,’ everybody went home. A highly entertaining and varied
evening of modern Rock ‘n’ Roll, at which I enjoyed myself a lot.
Queen’s huge popularity in the UK is completely logical.”
de Kamp confirms that the show ended with God Save The Queen, which does
not appear on this recording, which concludes with Son and Daughter
fading out. If the “presumed setlist” on queenlive.ca is
accurate, the entire set list was the same as for the Cologne show.
has the following comments on the tape of the Hague show:
many years it was rumoured that an audience tape from Queen’s first show
in Holland was out there, and its existence was confirmed in November 2011
when an mp3 sample was posted a Dutch website on the 20th anniversary of
Freddie Mercury’s death. A few months later it was promised that a
silver disc of the recording from The Hague would be given to everyone who
attended the 2012 Dutch Queen fan convention. The promise was
fulfilled (with permission from Queen Productions) and several hundred CDs
one side of a 90 minute cassette reportedly exists. The recording is
very good quality and well-balanced, although slightly distorted.
This is presumably from the master tape, but such details could not be
tape has been torrented in two inarnations, and The Real Wizard refers to
the second, corrected version as follows: “This monumental release had a
couple slight flaws, which are fixed here. The tape played a bit too
fast, and there were slight gaps between the tracks.”
version of the tape presented to us by Godfather on this release plays,
to my ears at least, at the correct speed and clearly there are no
gaps. One issue with the Hague tape, aside form its
overall incompleteness, is that the last song, Son And Daughter was not
captured in full and so we hear the song fade out before its conclusion.
awards this tape a B+ for sound quality, whereas the Cologne show only
rates a B. There is a certain amount of logic to this decision, as
the underlying sound quality is superior, but overall I found the Cologne
show a more congenial listen due to the distortion present on the tape
from The Hague. I also found, like Madman, that the Cologne tape
sounded less muffled on the second listen, as my ears adjusted to it.
three bonus tracks come from the first of two shows at the Rainbow, both
of which were recorded and filmed. In 1995 they appeared on the 2-CD
Ultimate Collection Volume 3
(Royalty Music) and five years later they turned up as bonus tracks on
Gypsy Eye’s release of the Live Aid performance, He
Made It On His Own.
The songs were long misattributed to the second Rainbow show, which cannot
be the case as during that show there was a power outage during Liar.
The songs have also been misattributed to the show at the Apollo
Stadium, Adelaide, Australia on 14 April 1976. Queenlive.ca states
that,” for years the London ’74 reel-to-reel recording was often
been mislabeled as being from this date,” and both of these old releases
attribute the songs to the Australian show.
tracks exist from the first night in stereo sound from the Trident
reel-to-reel. They first saw the light of day in the 90s, but in
2010 a superb quality version emerged. The tracks were intended to
be broadcast on the radio in the 90s, and this copy comes from the tape
that was given to the radio station. Earlier copies that circulated
had more tape generations, and thus less clarity in the sound and more
utilizes the new version for these three excellent performances and the
sound is a clear upgrade from previous releases.
with Godfather’s usual trifold packaging, with a striking
black-and-white posed shot of the band on the front. Numerous
onstage photographs from the era adorn the rest of the sleeve and the
eight-page booklet. With the exception of the one on the booklet
cover (which comes from the show at London’s Rainbow Theatre on
31 March), they are also monochrome. The shot of Freddie Mercury
from the rear of the sleeve comes from the Hague concert. It can be
seen on queenlive.ca and it originates from the book Voor
Queen En Vaderland
by Edger Hamer. The booklet notes have four brief sections, an
introduction followed by a section on each of the three shows.
Unfortunately, there is an error in the section on the Rainbow concert,
where the text suddenly switches to a slightly different version of
this release Godfather has restored the Cologne show to the catalogue with
upgraded sound, given us the first widely-available pressing of the
concert from The Hague and added three most welcome bonus tracks,
also in superior sound quality. Majestic
is therefore a very worthwhile acquisition for Queen collectors.