Terrible Gig

Update: Hello to anyone who has found their way to this page from the Queenzone forum. Sorry if my review upsets you, but it’s just my honest recollections of gig that I didn’t enjoy.

As I say below, I’m sure that these problems have all been fixed up in the DVD release, so there’s no point looking for them there.

It seems that Queen have released a “new” live CD and DVD called Queen on Fire. It’s not really new as it’s a recording of a 1982 concert at the Milton Keynes Bowl.

I’ve only ever seen Queen live once. And it was at this concert. I’m sure I’d already made up my mind that I didn’t like Queen much so I don’t really know what I was doing there but anyway this was the day that I became certain that I had no future as a Queen fan.

They were terrible. It was the Hot Spaces tour. And you’d have to go a long way to find a Queen fan that didn’t think that was their worst album by some considerable distance. And the show was full of songs from it.

Three things stand out in my memory.

  • Brian May played the guitar solo from “Brighton Rock”. They didn’t do the whole song, just the guitar solo. And he running all over over scaffolding around the stage. Until his guitar lead feel out and he went silent. A sheepish roadie scurried after him and plugged him in again and he carried on. But the moment was lost.
  • Queen never played the whole of “Bohemian Rhapsody” live. They always left the operatic section to tapes and videos. You’d think that after doing it for five years they would have got the timing pretty well sorted. But on that night they screwed it up massively. They came back in just a split second too late and it sounded terrible.
  • One of the singles from Hot Spaces was “Under Pressure”. So they were pretty much expected to do it live. But trying to do it without David Bowie was always going to be a challenge. Unfortunately they went ahead and did it anyway. Disasterously. That may well be the single biggest reason why I now hate listening to Queen.

I’m sure that all of these fluffs will have been patched up on this new release. And I’m sure that the Queen fans will love it. But it can only remind me of one of the worst gigs I’ve ever seen.


  1. I never got to see Queen live, though often I wished I’d been able to see them in the 70s. To my ears they lost something special when they entered the 80s. I watched a documentary last night, and Paul Gambaccini commented how Freddie was getting into the New York gay scene during the writing on Hot Spaces. The sales of the album in the US took their toll, and the dalliance into solo projects didn’t do much better either.In all the live concert TV broadcasts I’ve seen of the 80s gigs, the band always managed to hint at the greatness they once had, but only just managed to be above a pastiche of themselves. Innuendo was a fine comeback for the band, and only served to show what they should have been during the 80s. It was a shame it had to be a swansong album.

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