Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > The Works Tour Thread (Plus additional info)

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Posted: 30 Jul 11, 01:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'll be hosting another one of those Skype Debates about this tour (in one month), but I'd like to have a thread about this tour:

It seems that this tour seems to have the most mixed reviews out of all of the tours: Common complaints I've been reading are the mixes on the instruments (especially Brian's guitar, and Roger's drums), Roger's use of electronic drums on songs such as "Another One Bites The Dust," "Hammer To Fall," etc, and Freddie's voice not cooperating throughout the tour (London and Vienna being the most famous examples). I have seen some positives mentioned: The set-list (especially the 1984 one--with the medley of older songs), the lighting/stage rigs, and Freddie's impromptu falsetto section seems to be well-liked.

My take on it is that it's not my favorite tour, but it does have some of my favorite gigs: I adore Brussels (1st night): The band sound very tight (considering it's the first night of the tour), Freddie's voice sounds like late Hot Space Tour--and none of that husky, deep-voiced stuff he has later on, the crowd is wonderful, and there is just an overall great atmosphere on stage. "It's A Hard Life" and "I Want To Break Free" are probably the best overall versions from this first concert. Dublin is on par with that (though I hate how the quality "warps" the sound a bit). I love the first two Birmingham concerts--mainly for the atmosphere and the overall excellent performances. The Milan gigs are great--very underrated. Leiden has a brilliant crowd, and the "Is This The World We Created" is very touching, Leiden is truly underrated--and goes in my top 50 favorite concerts. Frankfurt is pretty nice, Stuttgart is my favorite concert from 1984 (Love Freddie's improvs throughout), and the band sound very strong.

For Sun City, it has some awesome musical moments (the impromptu is probably my favorite on the whole tour). I have received information from Peter Freestone and a fan source that only 7 concerts were performed in Sun City. Peter Freestone says that Freddie sounded "OK, but conservative" on the first concert, but after the concert, his throat tightened up and he was given steroids (I assume injected into his neck area). He says for the second night, Freddie took it "very easy." The third night is where Freddie lost his voice after Under Pressure (and where my fan source says that he saw Freddie rubbing his throat area and hacking on stage). Peter says that on the remaining gigs, Freddie sounded fine. I'm currently asking him what dates he remembers the concerts.

1985 has the Rock In Rio gigs (both are epic--especially the first night) in my favorites. I'm not too keen on the Australia gigs (it sounds like the band is a bit "labored" on stage--plus Freddie does some very conservative lines that don't reflect his vocal shape well (this "laziness" people say about the tour). 4/26/1985 is good though. I love all the Japanese concerts--5/9 has to be one the best concerts Queen's done in the 80s, and Nagoya is very underrated (it surprised me so much)!

Although Live Aid isn't part of the tour, I think I have figured out this mystery about Freddie's vocals from 1984-1985--and I must discuss this: Smoking HAD VERY LITTLE to do with Freddie's voice changes from 1980-1985. If anything, it probably deepened his timbre slightly, and maybe put a bit of "bite" on his higher notes, but it had very little to do with his vocal changes and shape live. Freddie started getting all "macho" in 1980 (growing the stache, etc), and he started to sing with more of a "chest-puller" kind of a tone. If you compare his vocals from the Crazy Tour to the 1980 Game Tour, his timbre is the same, but his tone has taken on a more chesty sound. This is from Freddie using more "chest voice" on his higher notes--to sound more powerful and "macho-sounding." By 1981, that had worn off, and his tone shifts back to his "normal voice." Compared with the Crazy Tour, his voice sounds more "full/richer" and mature by this point. There's no rasp, no husky voice--proof that smoking didn't change his voice (age did). 1982 has him being all soulful and I think he started singing deeper on purpose to match the soul/R&B stuff that Hot Space was circled around. By the later parts of the tour, his voice started getting tired: Peter has helped me figured this out--despite the long breaks between legs, Freddie rarely sang between legs, and combined with traveling from continent to Continent--and traveling by BUS to some cities (and combined with little sleep). He simply wore himself out! In 1984, Freddie started singing with a rougher/huskier tone on the Works Tour (I thought that was smoking related--but I've proved myself wrong), but I believe he sang that way on purpose. He probably wanted to beef up his image again (plus he looks really powerful and muscular in 1984-1985), so he wanted to sound closer to a traditional "macho-rock-singer" rather than sound "normal." That probably wore his voice down on the tour (plus the crammed tour dates). Live Aid has him singing in his "normal voice" again: Is there husky singing? No. Is there unnecessary raspy "shouty" vocals? No. Is there "baritonal-sounding mid-registers?" No. Live Aid is Freddie's REAL voice. He sounds almost the same as his Hot Space voice (just slightly deeper--that is age-related). The proof is in some of the songs: During Bo Rhap, his Bb4s are clean, and he sings them "right" (no bullshit phrasing), he hits the Hammer To Fall A4s without yelling (and he doesn't cheat the chorus parts), and In Champions, his high range sounds natural--even doing the chorus Bb4s.

So there you go: Most of Freddie's vocal changes are age, touring, and stylistic. The smoking had maybe 10% at the very most.

PS: Gary Taylor said to me that Queen did NOT record the London 1984 shows for a live album, nor were they planning too.

-Gregsynth


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Posted: 30 Jul 11, 10:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The london shows weren't the best in the context of Freddie's voice, but it's a pity, as there is a rumour that year 84 is not well documented regarding the gigs.

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Posted: 30 Jul 11, 11:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

mondeo112 wrote: The london shows weren't the best in the context of Freddie's voice, but it's a pity, as there is a rumour that year 84 is not well documented regarding the gigs.
================

1984 is pretty well documented as far as the recordings! We haven't heard the second Dublin concert yet, and the rest of the Sun City gigs, but we've got most of the European gigs under our belt!


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Posted: 30 Jul 11, 16:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I keep in contact with Gary Taylor via Facebook/email!


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Posted: 31 Jul 11, 01:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Ref works tour & Freddie's voice. Its rather simple he wasn't looking after himself in anyway shape or form. Looking back with hindsight it's easy to see (Munich/partying etc) plus booze & drugs ruin vocal chords so this could be seen as Freddie's "Indian Summer" before what was to come with 1987 onwards & don't forget he wasn't in a stable relationship up until Live Aid.

I also think the condition of Freddie's voice wasn't really the top list of priorities in his mind. Paul Gambaccini quoted in interviews when quizzed about this "new disease" at the time was Freddie looking after himself & Freddie's response "I'm doing everything & anything with everyone". People can make of that what they will.

I'm not criticising Freddie or casting judgment  but I think even by 1984 he had a fair idea he maybe in trouble & with a pending death sentence around the corner as it was then, its difficult to predict how anyone would react.

The set-list was a good idea, but the drums & guitar sound was horrific & having a piano/keyboard in Tie Your Mother Down was horrible

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Posted: 31 Jul 11, 01:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It would take a long time for booze and drugs to ruin a voice. Elton John took cocaine from 1975-1985 (still had his original voice intact), yet lost it in late 1986 (and then surgery in 1987), but that was due from him overtouring and thrashing his voice on stage. Drugs don't affect a voice directly in most cases, it's what you do while on them that causes problems.

As for his voice on the Works Tour, Freddie purposely sang macho (which can wear a voice down quicker than normal), and combined with the tour dates, and the partying backstage, we got what we heard on the tour!


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Posted: 31 Jul 11, 01:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

bluesbreakersLORD wrote: Gregsynth wrote: I keep in contact with Gary Taylor via Facebook/email!
===============================================================================================
Can you ask him questions which  I can send you ?? PM?
====================

I'll do my best!


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Posted: 31 Jul 11, 03:36 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Are there multi-tracks of any of the 1984 gigs? You would expect a 'yes' since The Works brought them back.


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Posted: 31 Jul 11, 06:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sorry for posting that late but I meant the rumour which has spread about year ago that the Queen audio archives have notoriously small soundboard/multitrack recordings from the tour 84.

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Posted: 31 Jul 11, 20:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I know that Brian/Roger have stereo soundboard copies of the 1984 gigs--I'll ask about Queen productions having anything of the sort in their archives.

While I don't have much info about Hyde Park--what I do know is that it's "getting worked on." That is 100% confirmed.


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Posted: 01 Aug 11, 11:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

flashgordon2011 wrote: Gregsynth wrote: I know that Brian/Roger have stereo soundboard copies of the 1984 gigs--I'll ask about Queen productions having anything of the sort in their archives.

While I don't have much info about Hyde Park--what I do know is that it's "getting worked on." That is 100% confirmed.
================================================================================================

what about Hyde Park 1976 gig? 
Fragment of Hyde Park  gig`76 which was showed in the documentary film "Days of Our Lives" shook me, the quality is good.
Why have this gig not released officially?
does anybody know the answer to this question?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I heard on the general forum that it's been released as a Russia only release. ThistleBoy80 said it, because some guy called Anton really, really wants it.


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Posted: 01 Aug 11, 14:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Excellent analysis, Greg.  You're getting really good at this.


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Posted: 01 Aug 11, 15:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks!


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Posted: 01 Aug 11, 15:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sir GH wrote: Excellent analysis, Greg.  You're getting really good at this.
Indeed, I completely agree with almost everything.

Glad Greg mentioned Freddie's lazy singing in 1985;-)

I do NOT - however - agree with the smoking theory.
Smoking does two things with a voice:
1) It makes the range smaller
2) The voice doesn't recuperate as easily after intensive singing

Those were Freddie's problems in the mid eighties...

His voice got stronger and stronger all the time (just check out his very best shows from this era) BUT after a few shows his range was shot and he didn't recover...


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Posted: 01 Aug 11, 15:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freddie's vocal range increased in the 80s--he was able to hit very strong D5s and Eb5s in full voice. He also gained a stronger lower register. Smoking does effect a voice--but not so much in Freddie's case.

The reason why Freddie's voice went downhill quickly on the Works Tour was not smoking--smoking alone would not do that. He sang VERY rough, and pulled chest to the higher 4th octave, that will seriously mess up your vocal stamina. It also doesn't help that he would belt A4s and Bb4s with so much force (showing off his power), that after about 4-5 shows on the tour, you can already hear vocal fatigue.

The abusive Works Tour singing messed his voice up, not the smoking.


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Posted: 01 Aug 11, 17:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'd say it was a bit of both.


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Posted: 01 Aug 11, 21:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think the smoking affected not so much his voice--but his vocal stamina: Here's a brief sample of tour dates from the Hot Space Tour and Works Tour:

HOT SPACE 1982:

5/1 (Dortmund)
5/3 (Paris)
5/5 (Hanover)
5/6 (Cologne)
5/7 (Cologne)
5/9 (Wurzburg)
5/10 (Boblingen)
5/12 (Vienna)
5/13 (Vienna)
5/15 (Berlin)
5/16 (Hamburg)
5/18 (Kassel)

WORKS 1984:

8/31 (Birmingham)
9/1 (Birmingham)
9/2 (Birmingham)
9/4 (London)
9/5 (London)
9/7 (London
9/8 (London)
9/10 (Dortmund)

On the both tour dates, there's back to-back shows and Freddie sounded great on all of these shows (the Hot Space ones). For the Works Tour, he started off fine, then by late Birmingham/early London his voice was almost shot out. On the Hot Space tour, Freddie wasn't trying to be "Mr. Bad Guy," and sing very macho with his chest voice. I think the smoking reduced the vocal stamina, and the the timbre and tonal differences were Freddie purposely singing deeper/rougher, and the tour dates. Plus, Freddie didn't tour in all of 1983, so maybe his vocals weren't 100% "ready" for a big tour? That's my guess!


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