Queen Live at the Rainbow ‘74
Label/Studio: Virgin Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment
Release Date: September 09, 2014
Review Date: September 07, 2014
Any of us who were teens in the seventies is more than aware of the dominance that Queen had on radios and stereos across the fruited plain and around the world. Their vocal and instrumental brilliance and innovation drew countless hoards to listen to this group was a little bit opera and a lotta bit rock ‘n roll (sorry, Donnie and Marie).
Queen started gaining some notoriety within critics circles in the United Kingdom with their self-titled debut album. Then the band released their third album, “Sheer Heart Attack,” in 1974. The LP went gold and an enthusiastic fan base was most definitely developed on both sides of the pond. Before that album came out, however, fate (or the rock and roll gods) intervened. The band was scheduled to play the legendary Rainbow Theater.
Although the group now had a first hit single under its belt, and second album Queen II had just been released to critical acclaim, many felt that playing The Rainbow was overambitious. It was the premier London venue of the time, on a par with L.A.’s Palladium and New York’s Fillmore East. But the band had paid its dues, slugging it out in clubs and college halls for four years, and never doubting their own potential. The band’s confidence was vindicated when the venue quickly sold out the capacity of more than 3,000 seats. Few who turned up for that iconic performance could have predicted they would go on to become arguably the world’s best and most successful rock group, although many more may have suspected it after this stunning show.
Fortunately, that memorable performance was captured on film and on audio with the intent to release a live album. . Intended to be a recording that captured the magic of a live band firing on all cylinders, Queen: Live at the Rainbow ’74 would undoubtedly have been a big success. But Queen’s ferocious creative momentum produced a stack of new songs begging to be recorded and instead of releasing the live album the band went into the studio to record what was to become 1974's breakthrough album, Sheer Heart Attack. As a result the already completed Rainbow live album was shelved and consigned to the archives.
That concert, forty years later, is being heard live for the first time in the soon to be released Queen: Live at the Rainbow ’74, marked the culmination of the band’s countrywide tour, their first as headliners - hot on the heels of a tour supporting Mott the Hoople, late in 1973, on which they were widely regarded as having blown the hit band off the stage. Queen got rave reviews, almost unheard of for a support band, and it was obvious that in future they would be top of the bill. The band’s momentum had been building since the release of their eponymous album in July 1973 and, following their success on the Mott tour, at the beginning of 1974 they were tipped as Band of the Year in UK music paper Disc and Music Echo.
Among the unique material contained in this release are over a dozen tracks never previously released on any official Queen live album. The release will come in CD, Vinyl and standard DVD or SD Blu-Ray formats available as standard releases or special limited edition sets as well as digital formats.
These recordings capture Queen at that time in all their glory: the dramatic stage presence, the highly original self-penned repertoire of songs, high-energy performances coupled with stunning melodic and harmonic content, and the uncompromising perfectionist approach to every aspect of their performance which is still maintained to this day.
Undoubtedly, Queen fans (as well as rock historians and musicologists) will want to include any one of the packages of this historic performance in their own audio and/or video library.
- Written by Randy Patterson
Queen Live at the Rainbow ‘74