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11 February 1977, Queen performed at The Philadelphia Civic Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 🇺🇸 “A Day At The Races Tour”

As seen in the second picture, John Deacon has switched from his 1968 Fender P-bass to a Music Man Stingray.

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Freddie’s spectacular 30th birthday set the foundation for his future lavish and expensive iconic celebrations…

The one birthday I’d like to recall in some detail was Freddie’s famous thirtieth birthday party bash in 1977 held at the notorious cabaret club Country Cousin run by Christopher Hunter and our dear friend Cherry Brown.

Freddie insisted that I throw the party for him and make all the arrangements. His single material contribution apart from settling the huge final bill was his week long project of writing by hand every single one of the hundred and fifty invitations. The thought of having them printed was overridden by his original whimsical and charming insistence on writing each one personally although it didn’t occurred to him how long this exercise would take.

The guest list who had been exhorted to ‘dress to kill’, included Elton John, John Reid, Tim Curry, Divine, Kenny Everett, Ken and Dolly East, Jim and Claudia Beach and every luminary in London’s music business. Apart from a very lavish banquet which comprised everything from oysters to lobsters, game to sausages, caviar to kumquats all displayed in table centrepieces which looked like cornucopia, I and Pete Brown, their tour manager, had arranged for the evening’s entertainment a cast of conjurors, acrobats, a snake charming stripper and some clothes-less girls.

The most expensive item on that evening’s bill was the flowers. Freddie adored flowers. Christopher Hunter returned from Covent Garden early that morning with about thirty boxes of blooms – irises, lilies, orchids, freesia, gladioli, roses every flower imaginable which was available at that time of year. These decorated the tables, the pillars, the walls, the bar area and the loos.

The whole effect was spectacular and as his first big party, Freddie’s thirtieth birthday celebration opened the floodgates to what became a tide of lavish and remarkable parties which marked the course of the rest of his life.

David Evans
This Was The Real Life

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Queen Live 26 – 27 January 1979 @ Forest National in Brussels, Belgium 🇧🇪 ‘Live Killers’ Tour

Before the concert on the 26th, the promo video for their new single ‘Don’t Stop Me Now,’ directed by Jorgan Kliebenst) was filmed.

Freddie, after the first song: “Hello Brussels! We meet again! It’s really nice to be back. You wanna rock? You wanna roll? Okay, let’s dooooooo it!”

Brian: “Thank you, good evening people of Brussels. It’s great to see you again. An old song for you now. This is a song from a couple years ago. This is something called Somebody To Love.”

Freddie, after a standing ovation following You’re My Best Friend: “Merci beaucoup! You lovely people. Okay, on with the show. Do you people remember a group called Mott The Hoople? I’m sure some of you do. A long, long time back when we first started out, we did a tour with those guys – the only support tour of our lives. And Brian wrote a song in dedication. This is from an album called Sheer Heart Attack.”

Freddie, while listening to the audience sing a football chant after Now I’m Here, says: “Let me hear you, c’mon! Thank you, you’re a beautiful audience.”

Brian, after Spread Your Wings: “Somehow you make a good noise here, people. You’re great. I think I should tell you an interesting fact. We’re thinking of making a live album, and this is the first night we’ve ever recorded for a live album, so I hope you make a nice little noise, as you are.” After Roger lets out a gigantic scream, Freddie says, “You bitch!” This is a beautiful version of Dreamers Ball, sung very passionately by Freddie.

Freddie, speaking to masses of cheers: “The last time we did this song when we were here, you were the best choir in the world. We’d like a repeat performance. This next number is called Love Of My Life.” After the song, Brian says, “You’re the best. The best. Unbelieveable. I don’t think we need a singer.” Someone in the audience keeps shouting for I’m In Love With My Car, even though Queen have already played the song. Brian continues, “Right, we’d like you to sing some more if you’d like. This is called ’39.”

Indeed, this was the first show to be properly recorded by the band with the intention of making a live album. The next twenty shows were recorded, but for quality reasons many of the shows couldn’t be used. Live Killers would be released in June.

Plenty of footage from this tour was filmed to be shown on TV, as it was likely intended to be used as promos for the upcoming live album. But much of the footage isn’t great quality, as the cameras weren’t able to handle the amount of brightness coming from Queen’s lighting rig. The only truly great quality footage is from Munich and Paris.

Footage of this show in Brussels was used in a TV special called “Follies” that initially aired in 1979, there is a clip below.

The beautiful pictures were snapped by Philippe Carly

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12 February 1981, Queen performed at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan 🇯🇵 a short ‘Flash Gordon’ tour (The Game Tour)

This is the first of five shows at the Budokan, which are essentially warm-up gigs for the upcoming stadium shows in South America. In an interview on Japanese TV, Brian May says the reason they only played the Budokan was because of their lighting rig. Extra scaffolding needed to be installed into the hall to accomodate it, which he says wasn’t possible at the other venues they had played in the past. At the end of the interview he adds, “We’re particularly glad that we seem to be accepted as a musical group as well as what you call an idol group now.”

Fat Bottomed Girls is excellent tonight (particularly Mercury in the third verse). The audience dutifully sing their part in Love Of My Life, to which he responds, “It’s easy if you try, folks!”

In a TV interview the day before their first concert in Argentina, Brian expands on this latest experience in Japan: “It’s the best tour we’ve done there, and we’ve done four tours, and it was clearly hysterical. Our audience is changing a bit from a kind of teeny-bop audience into a more rock audience in Japan. Japan was one of the few places where we had a young audience, but now it’s more in line with how it is in the States and Europe.”

The picture of Freddie during soundcheck was taken by Koh Hasebe

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11 February 1979, Queen performed their second evening at Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle in Munich, Germany 🇩🇪 “Live Killers Tour”

Seven songs from this show (Let Me Entertain You, Now I’m Here, the last half of Bohemian Rhapsody, Sheer Heart Attack, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, and God Save The Queen) were broadcast on German TV about a month later (on March 9), and again in 1991 shortly after Freddie’s death. It is a beautiful multi-cam shot. The audio, although mono, sounds about as good as Live Killers. The footage was filmed on 16mm film, and the audio was captured with the Rolling Stones mobile studio, all on the condition that Freddie approved of what he saw prior to broadcast. The songs broadcast were the only songs filmed, and all the raw footage was discarded. Only the broadcast master of these six songs remains, which is tragic since this is amongst the best footage of Queen ever filmed.

Soundcheck footage of Fat Bottomed Girls with hired strippers on bikes (who appeared at the concert) was shown as well, along with phenomenal footage of the crew testing out the lighting rig. An interview with the band concludes the first segment of the program before the concert footage is shown.

When the audience chants for Mustapha before Now I’m Here, Freddie replies, “I’ve never heard of the bloody song!” He then asks the audience, “Did anybody here come to see us last night?” which indicates that the footage is indeed from the second night.

After the first few vocal exchanges with the audience during Now I’m Here, he says, “You passed the test.”

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Fame has changed me, but it’s happened in two stages. I would be a fool to ignore the fact that it changed me in terms of being snobbish and arrogant in the early days. With our early success, I thought I was the bee’s knees, but then I came to realise that success can be handled in a different way; that I should pay more attention to making people realise I’m normal. Success did change me, and now it’s changed me again – I hope for the better. I can live without fame quite easily. My lifestyle doesn’t suddenly stop because fame might end. If all my money ended tomorrow I would still be the same person. I’d still go about the same way, like I had lots of money, because that’s what I used to do before. With or without wealth, I seem to do it.
That’s the only way to do it. I like living life to the full. That’s my nature, and I’m just not going to conform or listen to people about how I should react. I do what I want to do!

Freddie Mercury

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