Queen, Virgin Records, and Eagle Rock Entertainment has officially announced that it will release on SD Blu-ray Queen: Live at the Rainbow '74. The release will be avaialble for purchase on September 9th.
Sunday March 31, 1974 is a landmark date in the history of rock music. It is now celebrated in the multi format release of a rare recording made at legendary London venue The Rainbow, of a concert by a then up-and-coming band called Queen. 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.
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.
That concert, 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.
Just before the March Rainbow gig, Queen performed their new single Seven Seas of Rhye on must-see UK TV music show Top of the Pops. The highly coveted slot was a lucky break - they filled in for an absent David Bowie, who was unavailable - and the band made the most of it, delivering a thrilling performance that pushed the song into the Top 10.
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 – with some fans paying as much as £1.20 for a ticket!
Queen's performance was spectacular from the second that Freddie Mercury strutted onto the stage in his soon to become trademark white "eagle suit", a tight -fitting number specially made for him by top fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, which featured flowing winged sleeves. He pranced and posed, capturing the audience in seconds with his extraordinary voice and stage presence, while Brian May provided the counterpoint with his remarkable and ground-breaking guitar playing. The powerful "engine room" (as they liked to call it) of drummer Roger Taylor and bass player John Deacon completed a sound unlike anything British audiences had previously heard. Enraptured fans clapped and cheered, and gave the band a standing ovation.
That electrifying show was recorded by Roy Thomas Baker, co-producer of Queen's first four studio albums, and slated to be the band's third album (and debut live album) - a career defining release like James Brown's Live At The Apollo or The Who's Live At Leeds. 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.
Later in 1974 Queen had their first chart-topping single, Killer Queen, which encapsulated their brand of driving rock and clever lyrics. It appeared on Sheer Heart Attack, which was released in the autumn, was a massive hit and remains to this day many fans' favourite Queen album. To celebrate this success and crown a remarkable year, Queen returned to The Rainbow in November 1974 for two sell-out gigs that were even more spectacular than the one in March. These concerts included the typically flamboyant performance of Now I'm Here with which they had been wowing audiences on the tour. It featured Freddie apparently appearing in a spotlight on opposite sides of the stage almost simultaneously. The concerts received massive acclaim from fans and critics alike, and won over many who had until then doubted the band's potential. In this year, Queen also undertook their first concerts in Australia, USA, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Belgium and Spain.
Now, a remarkable 40 years later, Queen: Live at the Rainbow '74 has finally surfaced from the archives, providing an invaluable record of emerging superstars demonstrating their talent.
Queen, Virgin Records and Eagle Rock Entertainment are proud to announce that Queen: Live at the Rainbow '74 will be released on September 8, 2014 (UK on Virgin Records) and September 9, 2014 (US through Hollywood Records) in a variety of formats all newly mixed and mastered to the highest contemporary standard. These range from a standard two CD package, a DVD, an SD Blu-ray, a gate-fold double vinyl (including an audio reproduction of the aforementioned original live album), a quadruple vinyl boxed set, to a super deluxe collector's edition. This comprehensive and fascinating package includes two CDs, a DVD and Blu-Ray, a 60 page hardback book containing many rare photographs, and various items of memorabilia such as reproductions of the tickets, show souvenir programme and poster, as well as material from the band members' personal archives. (Full details of the various packages which will be released can be found at the end of this release). Vinyl and super deluxe formats are released as limited editions.
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.
Queen dazzled their audiences in 1974 with an unforgettable show delivered with a skill and confidence which belied their youth. The tape machines were rolling, capturing the highly electric performances. Now, to mark the 40th anniversary of these legendary shows, here, finally, is Queen: Live at the Rainbow '74 - lovingly restored, edited, mixed and digitally mastered, and including much footage never previously seen. It is a collection every Queen fan will want to possess.
Queen will be touring North America, Asia and Australia this summer with virtuoso vocalist Adam Lambert. The tour kicks off June 19th at Chicago's United Center. Tour dates and ticket information can be found at queenonline.com.
QUEEN: LIVE AT THE RAINBOW '74 - Package details
One CD featuring the November show
Two CD digi-pack, with one CD featuring the March show and the second CD featuring the November show
DVD or SD Blu-Ray of the November show with four "bonus" tracks from March
Package four (released in North America only)
SD Blu-Ray & CD combo box
2 Vinyl - Limited edition gate-fold double vinyl package, with one LP featuring an audio reproduction of the original March show live album and the other LP featuring highlights from the November show.
4 Vinyl - Limited edition four vinyl LP boxed set, two LPs featuring the March show and two featuring the November show
Super Deluxe Box - Limited edition Super Deluxe lidded boxed set package containing:
1) Two CDs, one CD featuring the March show and the second CD featuring the November show
2) A DVD and SD Blu-Ray of the November show with four "bonus" tracks from March
3) A 60 page hardback book containing lots of previously unseen photographs, and (among other items), reproductions of two reviews, one from The Times and one from Disc and Music Echo. A series of four articles from the latter publication is also included.
4) Reproductions of two tickets from the March concert (those actually used by Brian's parents)
5) A reproduction of the tour itinerary folder for the March concert from promoter Mel Bush, including a letter instructing the band not to trash the hotel room or there will be dire consequences!
6) A reproduction of the 8 page show souvenir brochure
7) Two button badges – reproductions of items available at the concert
8) A reproduction of the purple and gold March concert poster
9) A reproduction of a fashion shoot in The Telegraph Magazine, featuring the band with fashion models.
10) A reproduction of the sticker stage pass from the March concert
SHEER HEART ATTACK TOUR
Live at the Rainbow, November '74
2. Now I'm Here
3. Ogre Battle
4. Father To Son
5. White Queen (As It Began)
6. Flick Of The Wrist
7. In The Lap Of The Gods
8. Killer Queen
9. The March Of The Black Queen
10. Bring Back That Leroy Brown
11. Son And Daughter
12. Guitar Solo
13. Son And Daughter (Reprise)
14. Keep Yourself Alive
15. Drum Solo
16. Keep Yourself Alive (Reprise)
17. Seven Seas Of Rhye
18. Stone Cold Crazy
20. In The Lap Of The Gods… Revisited
21. Big Spender
22. Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll
23. Jailhouse Rock
24. God Save The Queen
QUEEN II TOUR
Live at the Rainbow, March '74
1. Son And Daughter
2. Guitar Solo
3. Son And Daughter (Reprise)
4. Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll
Some fascinating (and noteworthy) facts about Queen: Live at the Rainbow '74:
The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, (from Queen II) was inspired by a painting by Richard Dadd (1817-1886) which now hangs in the Tate Gallery, having been donated to the gallery by war poet Siegfried Sassoon. The song is by far the most significant song on the Rainbow project in terms of rarity. The March 31st show was the last time Queen performed it in concert and this is the only known live recording of the song. The track's appearance on this package is likely to be the biggest surprise on the set.
Great King Rat and Modern Times Rock'n'Roll (from the first album), See What A Fool I've Been (the non-album B-side of Seven Seas of Rhye) and Flick of the Wrist (from Sheer Heart Attack), are also included on an official Queen live product for the first time.
The November show was released in part (not full) on the 1992 VHS, part of the little-known Box of Tricks package, but the March show has never been officially released.
On the 1992 VHS Liar and Keep Yourself Alive (from first album), Father To Son (from Queen II) and Jailhouse Rock only featured in part, whereas now on Queen: Live at the Rainbow '74 they are full versions for the first time. Modern Times Rock'n'Roll, Flick Of The Wrist, Seven Seas of Rhye and Big Spender (all from November) were NOT on the VHS video, so this is the first time they have emerged.
The following 15 songs from March and November Rainbow 1974 concerts have never appeared on any official Queen live album before (this excludes video): Procession, Father to Son, Ogre Battle, Son and Daughter, White Queen, Great King Rat, The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, Modern Times Rock'n'Roll, Liar, See What A Fool I've Been, Flick of the Wrist, In the Lap of the Gods (not to be confused with In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited), The March of the Black Queen, Bring Back that Leroy Brown and Stone Cold Crazy.
At first I was taken aback by "SD Blu-ray". But I assume this will have more high end audio than a DVD can offer, though I didn't notice it in the announcement. There are a lot of classic Rock concert, ballet and opera videos I would like to see with lossless audio, but the fact that many only have SD video makes companies hesitant to invest in blu-ray releases, I suppose.
I'm very interested but am wondering...isn't SD blu-ray an oxymoron? :P Queen has had a large enough legacy money wise
in where they could've given the concert footage some kind of HD treatment. I understand that it wouldn't have been some kind of stunning 1080p video but hell, maxing out the visual quality to whatever end, given the source material, is fine with me. I'm just suspicious that after some time they will release such an edition, leaving some of us debating whether to double dip.
I can't wait. Probably package 4 will suffice. It was shot on probably 1" or 2" tape, so there really isn't much else they can do with it visually, but the audio should be amazing. Looking at past Queen releases, it's obvious they do everything they can with what they have. Even the standard DVD releases used 96/24 DTS tracks. We lucked out with Hungarian Rhapsody and Live in Montreal being shot on film.
I absolutely adore the really early Queen years, and am ecstatic to be getting a live release from before the Bohemian Rhapsody days. Can't wait to experience the band's early years in live Blu-ray form.