December 8, 1974, Queen performed at Congresgebouw in Hague, Netherlands “Sheer Heart Attack” Tour

This is Queen’s first show in the Netherlands. The Dutch band “Kayak” played before Queen, but perhaps not as the traditional opening act. Some members of Kayak have claimed that it was a ‘double bill’ organised by EMI records to promote both bands (thanks to Jeroen Kooistra for the story).

The show sold poorly due to bad promotion. People passing the venue were let in for free, so it would appear more full.

Mercury is timid after the first song. “Thank you and good evening, and welcome to the show. This is our first time in Holland, and I know you’re going to like it. Yes? It’s really nice to see you all. It really is. Right now we’d like to carry on with a number from Queen II; that’s our album. And this is Ogre Battle.” He delivers the song convincingly. After the audience quickly quieten down afterward, he remarks, “It’s so quiet; you can hear a pin drop, you know, one of those things.” They warm up to him a bit when they confirm they’ve heard of Queen II upon his asking.

“We’d like to do a sad number. A very sort of delicate, sad number, so you’d better get your handkerchiefs out. You know those things?” He then introduces White Queen, the third song in a row from their second album.

After the medley, he says (referring particularly to the musical complexity of Bring Back That Leroy Brown): “I hope that took you by surprise. I thought you thought we were a pop group. You know, pop.” He says ‘pop’ in an almost condescending way towards the disposable nature of pop music, light years away from the overtly pop songwriter he’d purport to be in a decade. He continues, “We’d like to do something from our first album. Would you like that?” Someone in the audience promptly shouts out for Liar. “No, Liar will come later on. We won’t go away without that. Right now we’d like to do Son And Daughter.”

A review of the show confirms that God Save The Queen is now being used as the exit music.

A silent reel-to-reel video (apparently in black and white) of the concert exists, and is said to include backstage footage from before the show. The reels sold at a fan club convention in Rotterdam in the 1990s, and its contents have yet to emerge.

More pictures from this show can be seen in a Dutch book called “Voor Queen En Vaderland” by Edger Hamer. It has concert reviews, commentary by friends and Dutch artists, and a general focus on the relationship between the band and the Netherlands, a nation that truly embraced the band over the years.

The wonderful pictures are by Gijsbert Hanekroot

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