February 5-8, 1976 – Queen performed four sold-out shows at the legendary Beacon Theatre
Here’s a review from New York Times by John Rockwell:
Queen, a British Rock Quartet, Plays 3 Shows at the Beacon
Queen, the British quartet that opened a three-night run Thursday at the Beacon Theater, makes a particular kind of progressive rock music.
The music is sharply and tensely constructed, switching abruptly from mood to mood, blending styles into a febrile collage. On records, the juxtapositions are mixed with a variety of technical wizardry that might seem hard to reproduce on stage. But in fact, Queen’s instrumentals are unusually sharp for rock musicians, with the simpler formulas executed with a rare bite, and more complex endeavors assayed with aplomb.
And yet, none of this is accomplished with the over reliance on synthesizers and other electronic technology that tempts so many of the progressive rockers into flashy, superficial display. Queen sticks to the time-honored rock basics guitar, bass and drums, plus occasional acoustic piano from Freddie Mercury, the lead singer.
The instrumentation works to keep the music honest, even if Brian May, the guitarist, does have a penchant for generally clever echo effects. Deacon John does vary the bass line beyond the conventional rock stepwise plunking and Roger Taylor is clever enough to keep the drumming alive and flexible. If one really liked the results – and the sold-out house Thursday was demonstrative in its enthusiasm-one might talk of an extension of Beatles complexity anchored by post-Who basics. Except that for this observer, the end result is too often calculated and precious. Mr. Mercury is a good singer, and he has improved his stage presence, but he is still self-consciously posturing. And for all the skill and invention elsewhere, the music sounds hollow at the core.