If you can’t play live, then you’re not a band. Hear that, The Beatles? You’re not a band. Get out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and take Ringo with you. Go, feh.
Stop being weird.
I’m just telling the nice people what they already know: part of being a Rock Star was your Rock Show. In fact, for some bands I won’t name who appear in the title of this blog, it was the entirety of their legend. Now, Queen’s records are brilliant and more importantly they are intentioned: the 40-or-so minutes on the two sides of the album were seen, a priori, as the medium (album), and not an adjunct to another medium (songs). Queen’s albums aren’t–the first bunch, at least–just a series of songs: it’s the difference between chapters in a novel and stories in a collection.
And–God help us all–I’m listening through all the damn records, and I plan on bothering you about them all, and I don’t care what anyone says. (I will not spend too much time bothering you about Hot Space. There are a whole mess of interesting socioculturological topics surrounding Hot Space, but it is their disco album. I know, I know: the Dead went disco, and so did the Stones and Blondie and everybody else, but only for a song or two; Queen went Full Disco.)
But, still: could they fucking play live? You know, plaaaaay, man?
And someone asking that question would be one of those noobs or casuals I mentioned earlier, the ones we should be nice to, and it is here that I realize that I was wrong, and these people should be mocked and possibly struck.
Could Queen play live? Yeah, a little bit.
This was them in ’74, touring the first two albums, at the Rainbow in London: it was their homecoming show after a successful world tour
That’s only some of it. The whole thing’s here, but I can’t figure out how to embed videos from DailyMotion. We’ll get to Queen’s show–tonight or tomorrow, who knows?–because while they sound great here, they don’t have the money to really be Queen. (Freddie is Freddie, don’t worry: Freddie could be Freddie when he was naked, and he often was.) It’s all the material from the first two records, mean and crunchy heavy rock, and it is all about fairies and dragons. (I don’t believe they do the Jesus numbers at this show.)
They looked like this:
And you can’t fool me: those are drapes. Someone has sewn lace onto the drapes they stole from Roger Taylor’s nan’s house, and now Brian May is wearing it.
There was no money yet. The records hadn’t sold very well (understandably so: they’re weird) and the band had signed a disastrous management contract with thieving criminals.
Ooh, did I hear Bingo? This early, wow.
Five in a row, I got ’em. Look: “Magic Guitar,” “Drummer found via classified ad,” and “Free space.”
Yeah, you have the free space.
And then “Boring bass player,” and “Disastrous management contract.”
Yup, that’s Bingo.
What do I win?
Duffel bag full of furious raccoons.
What? I don’t want–
Protect your eyes!
Anyway, like I said: no money. And being Queen took cash: that massive and iconic red and green robot light truss was stupidly expensive and temperamental, and fancy custom stages–and the trucks to move them–can’t be stitched together by the drummer’s girlfriend. They looked like this:
Taking over the world–always Queen’s stated intention–requires firepower, and pyro costs money. That dinky sign at the back wouldn’t cut it in Madison Square Garden.
They needed a hit. A killer hit.
You’re back? I thought the raccoons killed you.
I befriended them.
Oh, cool. How’s that going?
Not well. Raccoons are dicks.
They keep borrowing money.
And giving me rabies.
They’ll do that.