5 July 1980, Queen performed @ The San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego, California 🇺🇸
“The Game Tour”

This is the earliest live tape of ‘Play The Game,’ and it’s played with a great deal of energy towards the end as their current arrangement has an extra chorus to play with. Later Freddie takes some liberties in the intro to ‘Get Down Make Love’ and Deacon waits for him to resume, coming back in a cycle later.

The band were amidst writing the material for the ‘Flash Gordon’ soundtrack while recording ‘The Game,’ and at this gig Mercury plays a bit of his composition ‘Ming’s Theme’ before ‘You’re My Best Friend.’ On the piano instead of the synth it almost sounds like something Rachmaninoff could’ve composed. Brian May adds a couple textural dive-bombs to mimic the synth.

“We used to do this song in total silence but times have changed since then, but I’m sure you all feel like a little singing,” says Brian before ‘Love Of My Life.’ All that’s changed is there are more firecrackers than singers in the audience on this night. Freddie nonetheless turns in a beautiful version of the ballad.

They’ve dropped most of the material from first five albums by 1980, but one of the biggest cheers of the night is when they launch into the verse of ‘Keep Yourself Alive.’ But it’s followed by a pretty lackluster solo from Brian that doesn’t really seem to take off anywhere. By the time they get to ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ any prior transgression is completely forgotten.

The amazing picture of Freddie reflected in the stage flooring was taken by George Rose

Tap on picture to see it in its entirety

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