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thunderbolt 31742 user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 29 Aug 07, 03:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Something that's always bugged me about Houston '77; as the opera part of Bo Rhap begins, the line "I see a little silhouetto of a man" is missing. I know that during the ANATO tour, Freddie sang this line himself from offstage, but I don't recall hearing him do that at any shows afterwards (aside from Earl's Court, which Sir GH's site says is likely someone tampering with the tape after the fact).

Have I not been listening to these bootlegs closely enough, or did someone just bring the wrong tape to the show that night?


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Posted: 29 Aug 07, 11:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

All I can do is stand by what I've said on my website... :)

Anyone else have their $.02?



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Posted: 29 Aug 07, 14:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

What did you say on your website, Bob?;)


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Posted: 29 Aug 07, 17:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

This:

"During this time period, Freddie wasn't heard singing "I see a little silhouetto of a man" on the tape of BoRhap's opera section, and it isn't heard on any audience recordings earlier than Richfield 11-25-78 - this leads me to believe that the opera section as heard on the video was most likely tampered with after the fact (bearing in mind that at one point the Earls Court shows were a potential official release)."

Discuss..?



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Posted: 29 Aug 07, 19:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm not challenging your site at all, Sir GH, so please don't take it that way. I haven't heard the Richfield show, so I can't comment there, but I do know that on the ANATO tour boots, it's very easy to tell that Freddie is actually singing the line offstage.

Your theory regarding Freddie overdubbing the line in Earl's Court makes sense, especially if it was an official release candidate (and, God willing, will be again). There's one question I'd need answered there before I could definitely chalk that up to a studio overdub, though, and I'll pose it here:

Assume Queen were cleaning up Earl's Court for an official release, but the project fell through. What bothers me about the after-the-fact recording of the line is why the band would choose something as simple as overdubbing a line in Bo Rhap to fix before they tried to overdub the microphone dropouts in TYMD?

Another reason I'd be more inclined to believe that Freddie actually did sing the line live: it was a special show in their hometown, right at the end of a tour. Queen has been known to pull out the stops for tour-ending shows, especially in locations as special to them as London and Japan (example: My Fairy King and MOTBQ being played as part of a piano medley in Osaka '85). They certainly pulled out lots of stops for Earl's Court, debuting the crown rig, reviving Procession, and covering Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting. Maybe having Freddie sing that line live was just another nod to the fans?

There's one aspect of that argument I can't rectify either, but I'll leave it to more experienced ears (such as yours, Sir GH) to make that distinction. Freddie's voice is much, much clearer during that line than at any other point in the song. Whether that can be attributed to singing over a backing tape as opposed to over four instruments competing for decibels, I don't know, but it is worth mentioning as a possible studio overdub hint.

Enough about Earl's Court. Back to Houston. I'm feeling rather stupid admitting this, but I can't find my FLAC of the Chicago '77 show. Seeing as how it happened less than a week before Houston, I think that would be our best bet as to determining just what happened at Houston. No one argument makes perfect sense. Because Freddie wasn't typically singing the line during that tour, one good guess is that someone picked up the wrong backing tape that night.

The obvious flaw in that logic? What the heck was the ANATO tour's backing tape doing in Houston? If they had accidentally brought it along instead of one with the line in there, wouldn't they have noticed before they got a month into their world tour and made a call back home to have the correct one sent over?

You could also argue fairly convincingly that they brought multiple backing tapes for Bo Rhap. Tapes wear out, and playing the same 60 seconds of it every night--not to mention rehearsals--would be a good way to kill it. Again, the question of why the heck the ANATO tape was brought along (and how no one noticed during rehearsals) is raised.

My best guess? Here goes:

There were 26 NOTW shows in the United States. Of those, we have five concerts preserved either in full or in part. It's entirely possible that the band brought that tape along, and Freddie would decide the day of--hell, maybe even during Brian's guitar solo--if the audience had been energetic enough to earn a special treat here and there. It wasn't unheard of for Freddie to do such things.

There's another unusual aspect to that operatic section, and that's Freddie's entrance at the end. Granted, our video record of that era is small, and the band wasn't doing the lightshow yet, but Freddie's entrance through the smoke as the operatic section was still rolling was unlike any other one I've seen him do.

My "official" theory then, which will no doubt be torn apart and debunked by those more qualified to make such assumptions, is as follows:

Sometime on that tour, Freddie d


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Posted: 29 Aug 07, 23:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thunderbolt<br><h6>Courtesy of God wrote:

I'm not challenging your site at all, Sir GH, so please don't take it that way.


No no no... please, never have that attitude with me! I welcome the challenges, and I'm happy to update anything I've had to say.

Another reason I'd be more inclined to believe that Freddie actually did sing the line live: it was a special show in their hometown, right at the end of a tour. Queen has been known to pull out the stops for tour-ending shows, especially in locations as special to them as London and Japan (example: My Fairy King and MOTBQ being played as part of a piano medley in Osaka '85). They certainly pulled out lots of stops for Earl's Court, debuting the crown rig, reviving Procession, and covering Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting. Maybe having Freddie sing that line live was just another nod to the fans?


That's kind of stretching it... it IS just one line. :) But I can guarantee you, it's on tape. But maybe they played the album version with the line sung just because the show was being filmed. But if that's the case, then why not do it in Houston too, since that was being filmed? The whole thing just doesn't make sense!

Because Freddie wasn't typically singing the line during that tour, one good guess is that someone picked up the wrong backing tape that night.


I checked dozens of recordings on my hard drive, and they all don't have the line sung. Come to think of it though, why in the world would they play the tape without the line for 2 1/2 tours?

Sometime on that tour, Freddie decided to make a couple of changes in Bo Rhap, including the grand entrance while the tape was still rolling. This also accounts for the repositioning of the pyrotechnics--the Bo Rhap shot usually came from mortars lined in front of Roger's drum. The Houston video isn't clear on their location, but it appears as if they're being fired closer to the front of the stage, and off to the sides instead of in the center. Can't very well have Freddie flailing about on top of a bomb, now can we?


Hehe...

Your theory is entirely possible... but without enough footage, we never will know!

But I can be definitely sure that Freddie did not sing that line after the ANATO tour.



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Posted: 30 Aug 07, 02:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sir GH<br><h6>ah yeah</h6> wrote:

No no no... please, never have that attitude with me! I welcome the challenges, and I'm happy to update anything I've had to say.


Alright then, game on. :)

That's kind of stretching it... it IS just one line. :) But I can guarantee you, it's on tape. But maybe they played the album version with the line sung just because the show was being filmed. But if that's the case, then why not do it in Houston too, since that was being filmed? The whole thing just doesn't make sense!


I checked my FLACs again, and it definitely sounds like that first line has more volume and depth to it than the rest of the operatic section. I'm starting to strongly suspect it was played without that line live, then the line was plugged in later on, when someone was trying to clean up the show for a possible release.

This also kind of answers my own question about why they'd "fix" Bo Rhap before they fixed Freddie's mic problems. It's easy to plug a snippet of a multitrack over something else. Hell, it could have been done by a techie while the band were off doing whatever it is rock stars do between albums and tours. Fixing the mic dropouts, however, would have required Freddie to do take after take after take to perfectly replicate his voice from that night's performance before anything could be plugged in. Since we're now certain that the opening line of the operatic section was from tape, and not Freddie singing it live, that becomes a much simpler fix that doesn't even require the band to be there. Suddenly, it's entirely plausible that some techie with a laundry list of fixes could have seen Bo Rhap as the easiest of the bunch, and started there. Damn, now I want an audience recording of Earl's Court just so I can verify the theory that you seem to have reached long ago, but I just stumbled across. ;)

I checked dozens of recordings on my hard drive, and they all don't have the line sung. Come to think of it though, why in the world would they play the tape without the line for 2 1/2 tours?


I tried to come up with a plausible reason, something like "too complicated to make another backing tape," but realistically, these guys were making backing tapes from master copies before every tour. Surely they weren't so lazy as to continue using the ANATO tape for Bo Rhap simply to avoid the 5 minutes it would have taken to plug the record player into the soundboard, press "record" and get the operatic section on tape, were they?

But I can be definitely sure that Freddie did not sing that line after the ANATO tour.


On the one hand, Freddie singing the line himself for audiences that "earned it" is about the only reason beyond laziness I can come up with to answer the question. Seeing as how Freddie had the reputation of being a bit of a perfectionist, I just can't imagine that he would be ok with using an incomplete backing tape for 2 1/2 tours simply to avoid making a new one.

But then we run back into the simple problem that there are no documented occurrences of it. Statistically speaking, if Freddie were going to sing the line himself enough for it to be worth using the old tape, we should have at least one recording where he did so by now.

Sorry for being a colossal waste of your time, Sir GH. I'll come up with a better quandary next time.

In fact, here's a good one: who in the world decided that "Dreamer's Ball" and "If You Can't Beat Them" would make better live numbers than "Dead on Time"? ;)


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