Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Freddie's stage presence in the early years

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Nummer2 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 22 Feb 06, 08:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi,

after listening to a few early concert bootlegs (the two Rainbow gigs and a couple of others, 1973/4/5) I found it interesting, how much Freddie's behaviour on stage has changed by the years.

The psychologist in me likes to sum up things a bit:

In 1973/4, from what he says, he seems to be rather insecure about the audience's response or acceptance. He often asks if they like the song/the show in a somehow shy way. What adds to that is his very camp (gay?) behaviour, all those "whooo!"s and "Darling"s and "Dear"s. He seems to hide his nervousness behind those (a bit exaggerated) utterings.

He doesn't feel too confident in their performance, it seems, and he tries his very best to sing as good as on the albums. In later times he doesn't care as much for hitting the notes perfectly but adds much more power to his singing. The only parts where Freddie shows some glimps of things to come is the R'n'R medley, where he doesn't have album versions to compete with and seems to feel more comfortable.

All that changed in about 1975/1976, and in 1977 he had turned into the frontman we know him as and developed a coherent show.

What do you think?


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Posted: 22 Feb 06, 09:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I find the early years much more interesting. Even though the band were still a bit rough around the edges, I think their stage costumes live sets were more imaginative than gigs like Live At Wembley '86. The concerts themselves were more intimate. I guess I just don't like massive outdoor daylight gigs.


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Posted: 22 Feb 06, 09:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Absolutely, you're right. But still there's a great development from 1974 to 1979. The Live Killers tour was a completely different approach at entertainment than the early gigs were. Of course, Queen had much more money for some pimped stage equipment then, but apart from that, Freddie's sweating macho erotics weren't comparable to their intimate, fragile artists style they used to have before.




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Posted: 22 Feb 06, 11:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yes I think Fred's stage style evolved a lot over the years. On the Sheer heart Attack tour, he talked to the audience a lot about their work because they werel ess well known but by say The Live Kilers era, most of the chat was suggestive banter. I think those late seventies were probably their most high energy years as a band. On the MAGIC TOUR, YOU SEE fREDDIE, NO LONGE RNEEDING TO DASH AROUND TO BE IN COMPLETE CONTROL OF AN AUDIENCE- AND HE DOESN'T HE WAS A LOT MORE STATESMANLIKE COMPARED TO lIVE aT THE bOWL WHER EHE IS PERMANENTLY on the move. SOrry about the bad case by the way. Freddie also did a lot of arm punching in the later years, whereas earlier on he was limp wristed.


hj
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Posted: 22 Feb 06, 19:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It's funny when it comes to rating them as a live band, because there are pros and cons of every tour. Looks-wise, the band never looked better than in 73-75; long hair, Zandra Rhodes outfits and platforms but they were always rough around the edges as performers. Performance-wise, Live Killers era featured the band in top-notch form but they were fairly muddy sound-wise; Roger sounded like he was beating alumunium cans. Then again the sound at Milton Keynes was superb; the drums never sounded so big.


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Posted: 22 Feb 06, 22:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

But you can't blame the sound of the drums just by listening to the albums. I've seen them a few times and the sound was always just thunderous and deafening! It was AWESOME!!! Thank James Khalef for the live sound. The live recordings actually sucked. Live Killers is a good example. As far as Freddie's performance? He seemed somewhat shy and his stage patter rather timid in the early years but by the time NOTW came out he
was definitely a showman and had much more confidence at that point. When I saw them on the JAZZ and GAME tours... forget it! He had us all in the palm of his hands. A very commanding presence with confidence through the roof.

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Posted: 22 Feb 06, 22:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

FLASH DANNY wrote:

I find the early years much more interesting. Even though the band were still a bit rough around the edges, I think their stage costumes live sets were more imaginative than gigs like Live At Wembley '86. The concerts themselves were more intimate. I guess I just don't like massive outdoor daylight gigs.


Rough around the edges? What the hell are you talking about? Do you have a clue, dear? Listen to the medley from the Rainbow. In the Lap of the Gods, Killer Queen, March of the Black Queen and especially Leroy Brown have almost perfectly metoculous backing tracks. Maybe it was because they practiced more in those days (source: Live at the Bowl disk 2 interviews when all said they didn't practice the songs that much) regardless of the reason they were far from rough around the edges then compared to Wembley. In fact I would say they were a better band when they were younger. Then again maybe it was overdubbed at the rainbow.

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Posted: 22 Feb 06, 23:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

kdj2hot wrote:

FLASH DANNY wrote:

I find the early years much more interesting. Even though the band were still a bit rough around the edges, I think their stage costumes live sets were more imaginative than gigs like Live At Wembley '86. The concerts themselves were more intimate. I guess I just don't like massive outdoor daylight gigs.


Rough around the edges? What the hell are you talking about? Do you have a clue, dear? Listen to the medley from the Rainbow. In the Lap of the Gods, Killer Queen, March of the Black Queen and especially Leroy Brown have almost perfectly metoculous backing tracks. Maybe it was because they practiced more in those days (source: Live at the Bowl disk 2 interviews when all said they didn't practice the songs that much) regardless of the reason they were far from rough around the edges then compared to Wembley. In fact I would say they were a better band when they were younger.


Dear oh dear indeed. I would think that someone as cluey as yourself would know that the Rainbow gig was later heavily modified in the studio. Check out some boots from other shows of the same period; the band are good but improve by leaps and bounds by the time they pulled off virtually flawless (musically anyway) performances by '86.


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Posted: 23 Feb 06, 05:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

[

Dear oh dear indeed. I would think that someone as cluey as yourself would know that the Rainbow gig was later heavily modified in the studio. Check out some boots from other shows of the same period; the band are good but improve by leaps and bounds by the time they pulled off virtually flawless (musically anyway) performances by '86.


I'm sorry Danny but you're speaking nonsense here and it's about time someone said.The early performances were far better musically than in '86- Brian's guitar sound at Wembley is horrid and the guitar solo on WWTLF is out of tune to my ears and Fred's voice had lost a lot of its control- he used to sing perfectly live in the early years. Flawless is not a word I would use to describe their mid eighties live shows. The seventies shows were intricate and nuanced but in the eighties the sound was brazen and gloriously unsubtle- don't hide from the truth please!




hj
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Posted: 23 Feb 06, 06:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Asterik wrote:

[

Dear oh dear indeed. I would think that someone as cluey as yourself would know that the Rainbow gig was later heavily modified in the studio. Check out some boots from other shows of the same period; the band are good but improve by leaps and bounds by the time they pulled off virtually flawless (musically anyway) performances by '86.


I'm sorry Danny but you're speaking nonsense here and it's about time someone said.The early performances were far better musically than in '86- Brian's guitar sound at Wembley is horrid and the guitar solo on WWTLF is out of tune to my ears and Fred's voice had lost a lot of its control- he used to sing perfectly live in the early years. Flawless is not a word I would use to describe their mid eighties live shows. The seventies shows were intricate and nuanced but in the eighties the sound was brazen and gloriously unsubtle- don't hide from the truth please!



So what are you saying - the Magic Tour was the only tour when Brian f*cked up with the chords? Or that Freddie struggled to hit that high note in Under Pressure? There were pros and cons of every single tour. I'm talking in terms of musical performance, the band never sounded as tight or as professional as they did on the Magic Tour, particularly the rhythm section of Roger and John. Their performances of TYMD, WWRY, HMT, etc. were the best they ever did. Freddie's voice in '86 is a completely different story, but that wasn't in the original equation and is therefore irrelevant to this discussion. Now I could be just an elite perfectionist but from all the 70s performances I've seen/heard, the only one that meant anything to me was the Rainbow show and, suprprise suprise, it was the one that copped the studio treatment. I'm not saying Queen weren't great in the 70s - my fav era is Live Killers all the way - but I felt their musicmanship was never up to scratch as the way it was on the Magic Tour.

But this is just my opinion, rightly justified. Feel free to Tear It Up.


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Posted: 23 Feb 06, 06:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Today morning I listened to the earlier Show at Rainbow Theatre, from March 31, 1974 (because those 2 are comparable, soundwise). Their performance then was not at all worse than the one from November 20th. Except some of the backing harmonies, but that's no surprise.
So, has that concert been worked on, too, or is it true, that they could play technically good live gigs back then?


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Posted: 23 Feb 06, 11:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Fair enough- I don't like the sound of the Magic tour gigs- the bass picks up too much, you can hear it under the guitar on TYMD at Wembley- tha tisn't supposed to hapen- the heaviness was lost. Brian's guitar sound lacked any guts on that tour though it was miles better than the Works era. If you want tightness, listen to Queen in 1982- Dragon Attack and Back Chat- two of the most tight,rhythmic and aggressive renditions you'll ever hear.

For stadium gigs Queen should have had a second guitarist on songs like NIH and TYMD-because at Wembley the sound does not register for me.


hj
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Posted: 23 Feb 06, 14:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In the early years Queen was more focussed and they were concentrating much more on their performance than the later years. That's why their harmonies sound so nice and powerfull.

Freddie was very kind during the early years. In fact he was a little shy. But indeed, it changed around 1977, because his experience had grown a lot! He became an entertainer, with vulgar language sometimes!

Also Queen's stage began to grow, there was more show. Huge lighting rigs, smoke, bombs on stage etc. They began to grow on visual aspects aswell.



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Posted: 23 Feb 06, 15:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Quite right Rick '77 was the turning point. You can tell that from the album (NOTW)Get DOwn make Love was the first sexual song that Fred wrot ein my view.


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Posted: 23 Feb 06, 16:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In the early years, it seemed to me that Freddie was spending a lot more time at the piano in concerts (most of the time?) I have a version of I'm In Love With My Car (on dvd) that has beautiful piano in it which I don't hear at all on later dvds. He used to wear those stacked-heel boots and take high-legged big steps in them. I love the We Will Rock You dvd. He is so graceful, slinky, just like soft butter flowing across the stage. At Wembley he looked as though he was enjoying himself immensely. Absolute control of the audience. Watching Queen over two decades is like seeing boys change to men.


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Posted: 24 Feb 06, 01:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"Watching Queen over two decades is like seeing boys change to men."

Hmmmm ... Sometimes I have the impression, it's the other way round. They were much more serious in the early years.


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Posted: 24 Feb 06, 04:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Nummer2 wrote:

Hi,

after listening to a few early concert bootlegs (the two Rainbow gigs and a couple of others, 1973/4/5) I found it interesting, how much Freddie's behaviour on stage has changed by the years.

The psychologist in me likes to sum up things a bit:

In 1973/4, from what he says, he seems to be rather insecure about the audience's response or acceptance. He often asks if they like the song/the show in a somehow shy way. What adds to that is his very camp (gay?) behaviour, all those "whooo!"s and "Darling"s and "Dear"s. He seems to hide his nervousness behind those (a bit exaggerated) utterings.

He doesn't feel too confident in their performance, it seems, and he tries his very best to sing as good as on the albums. In later times he doesn't care as much for hitting the notes perfectly but adds much more power to his singing. The only parts where Freddie shows some glimps of things to come is the R'n'R medley, where he doesn't have album versions to compete with and seems to feel more comfortable.

All that changed in about 1975/1976, and in 1977 he had turned into the frontman we know him as and developed a coherent show.

What do you think?


Good observations. I agree completely.



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Posted: 24 Feb 06, 05:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm not sure because I wasn;t around at the time, but maybe Freddie adapted with the trends at the time?


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Posted: 24 Feb 06, 09:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

@pcgenius9: Yes, good point. Maybe like this:

Around 1976 the punk movement started and it took a couple of years to develop into a world wide, but still UK centered, fashion wave – varying from genuine punk to short-lived streams like New Wave and New Romantic and influencing other genres like Ska/Reggae and, of course, Rock.

Queen – and esp. Freddie as their front man – had to adapt to the louder, more aggressive and less sophisticated style that was en vogue then. After the Sex Pistols, no kind of stage behaviour or style could offend a concert audience anymore. 1979 they incorporated the punk element into their shows – e.g. watch Freddie damage the stage equipment in "Sheer Heart Attack" or insult the audience. But of course it remained a shy attempt, Queen never wanted to focus too much on one thing. They always absorbed new styles and incorporated them into their performance and music.

What were the trends back then? In 1973 to 75 it was glam rock/art rock, that influenced Queen most. In 1976/77 it was punk, no doubt. "Sheer Heart Attack" (the song) clearly is a product of that influence, but rather a parody than a real punk song. In 1978/79 disco music was at its peak and punk wasn't new anymore (though still very important as an influence on almost every other genre: folk, pop, rock, reggae, ska ...). Queen never was into mainstream disco or soul music, so the influence is marginal, but they soon dropped the punk elements and turned to something new: black music. It started in 1979/80 with The Game (AOBTD, DA) and culminated in Hot Space. The funky element must have been very popular within the band, at least Freddie seemed to be fascinated about it. I always had the impression, that he was extremely disappointed about the public not being as fascinated about Hot Space – not only out of monetary reasons. He really was on fire when performing "Staying Power", "Action This Day" and especially "Back Chat" (I'm convinced, BC was one of his favourite Queen songs).

But the poor public acceptance put an end to that phase and Queen returned to what they were best at: rock, and added some other popular, secure elements. That's when they went pop.

Though I'm disappointed about the fact, that they turned into a mass compatible pop band, I must admit that they did better than most of the other bands at that time and that they stuck to their virtues: creativity, variety and virtuosity.

That was much, now I have to rest. Back to work.

Bye,
Nummer2


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