Queen 1975 Show From London's Hammersmith Odeon Coming November 20

A major show by Queen that was broadcast live on the BBC from London's Hammersmith Odeon is coming to CD and home video on November 20.

The date was December 24, 1975 and Queen were finishing up the biggest year of their career, so far, one that saw the release of A Night at the Opera, the phenomenon of Bohemian Rhapsody and tours of the U.K., the U.S. and Japan. The BBC made the decision to use the occasion as the Christmas show for the year, an honor for such a young band.

Brian May said "This concert was very special because it was the first time we ever played a whole show completely live on TV … the Christmas Show. The quality, after great rescue work and transfer into the digital domain, is amazing. And the energy we had comes across very forcefully."

Queen - A Night At The Odeon - Hammersmith 1975 will be released on CD, 2 LP vinyl, Super Deluxe Box Set and digitally through Hollywood Records and DVD, SD Blu-Ray through Eagle Rock Entertainment. As well as a live recording of this legendary gig, the Super Deluxe Box Set also includes extra-special bonus features for the Queen fans.

Featuring 15 tracks from their first four visionary albums, plus covers of four classic rock'n'roll staples delivered with characteristic panache, A Night At The Odeon - Hammersmith 1975 captures a band in full flight and radiating megawatts of self-confidence.

The Christmas Eve show was the climax of the 26-date Queen Invite You To A Night At The Opera Tour, which had begun mid-November and had already seen the band play four nights at the same venue a month earlier. Melody Maker magazine had trumpeted the tour with the words, "Britain's most regal band await your presence," and the reviews of the previous shows had been ecstatic. "Queen and their music, presentation, production – everything about them says that they are more important than any other band you've heard," wrote British rock magazine Sounds. "Instead of simply treading the well-worn paths to pop glory, they have made their own paths," added The Sun.

By the time the band returned to Hammersmith on Christmas Eve, they were truly firing on all cylinders. No expense had been spared, from the stellar light show which lent a spectacular visual element to the night's proceedings to the suitably lavish white Bechstein grand piano which had been hired especially for this show. Nor had the band themselves overlooked the finer sartorial details. Freddie Mercury sported two different satin cat suits – one black, one white – during the show, designed by Wendy deSmet with the singer's input. Similarly, Freddie had painted the nails of his left hand black for the occasion, while Brian May had his (at the time) trademark white nails.

But for all the stage dressing, every Queen concert was purely and simply about the performance – and this was no exception. Cherry-picked from Queen, Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack and the triumphant A Night At The Opera, the set list showed every facet of the band, from the ornate hard rock of Keep Yourself Alive and Seven Seas Of Rhye to the baroque grandeur of The March Of The Black Queen, from the heavy metal strut of Ogre Battle and Son And Daughter to the playful genre-bending of Bring Back That Leroy Brown and Queen's breakthrough hit Killer Queen. It was also the tour when they first unleashed the soon-to-be-legendary Bohemian Rhapsody on an unsuspecting public – to a rapturous reception.

Freddie Mercury and Brian May were the yin and yang leading from the front, while Roger Taylor and John Deacon proved themselves to be one of the greatest rhythm sections of the era. By the time they'd completed a rock'n'roll medley featuring hits by Elvis, Connie Francis, Gene Vincent and Shirley Bassey, they had the 5000-strong audience eating out of their hands.

Decades before the phrase 'multi-media' became a buzzword, the Christmas Eve show stood as more than just a concert. It was simultaneously broadcast in stereo on BBC Radio 1 and on the BBC 2 television institution The Old Grey Whistle Test (the show's host Bob Harris introduced the band onstage). Luckily, although the TV cameras were turned off before the band returned for their second encore, and consequently video footage of Seven Seas Of Rhye and See What A Fool I've Been doesn't exist – the audio team did continue recording and so the CD and LP formats do feature the entire show.

As a result of the coverage, the show was heavily bootlegged in subsequent years, appearing under such unlikely titles as Command Performance, Rhapsody In Red, Christmas At The Beeb, Cardiac Arrest and Halfpence.

With the issue of A Night At The Odeon this legendary show has finally been given the pedestal it deserves, delivered in fitting style, featuring an incredible new audio mix in stereo and 5.1 surround-sound plus an absolute state-of-the-art restoration of the video.

As well as audio and visual footage of the gig, the DVD and SD Blu-Ray versions feature two special bonus features – Looking Back At The Odeon, a brand new 22-minute documentary featuring a previously unseen interview with Brian May and Roger Taylor by BBC2 Old Grey Whistle Test presenter Bob Harris about the 1975 Hammersmith Odeon show, plus the rarely seen Live At The Budokan – Japan 1975 footage, featuring three songs (Now I'm Here, Killer Queen and In The Lap Of The Gods… Revisited) recorded during their legendary tour of the Far East.

Says Bob Harris of that night: "Christmas eve 1975 marked an important moment in the history of the Old Grey Whistle Test and Queen. The band were in party mood at the Hammersmith Odeon that night and no wonder. They had already spent the best part of a month at the top of the UK singles chart with the sensational Bohemian Rhapsody, the video for which had instantly redefined the presentation of music on TV. They were at the peak of their powers - confident and stage sharp at the end of a barnstorming UK tour. I donned top hat and tails to salute and introduce them before they played one of the best sets I had ever seen. It was an incredible night but it was more even than that. It was the moment Queen became superstars."

The Super Deluxe Box Set also includes a never-before-heard recording from the pre-show soundcheck – something that no one outside of the band themselves knew existed until now.

The track lists:

CD/Vinyl/Digital
  • Now I'm Here
  • Ogre Battle
  • White Queen (As It Began)
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Killer Queen
  • The March Of The Black Queen
  • Bohemian Rhapsody (Reprise)
  • Bring Back That Leroy Brown
  • Brighton Rock
  • Guitar Solo
  • Son And Daughter
  • Keep Yourself Alive
  • Liar
  • In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited
  • Big Spender
  • Jailhouse Rock Medley
  • Seven Seas Of Rhye
  • See What A Fool I've Been
  • God Save The Queen
DVD/Blu-Ray
  • Original Broadcast
    • Now I'm Here
    • Ogre Battle
    • White Queen (As It Began)
    • Bohemian Rhapsody
    • Killer Queen
    • The March Of The Black Queen
    • Bohemian Rhapsody (Reprise)
    • Bring Back That Leroy Brown
    • Brighton Rock
    • Guitar Solo
    • Son And Daughter
    • Keep Yourself Alive
    • Liar
    • In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited
    • Big Spender
    • Jailhouse Rock Medley
    • God Save The Queen
  • Live in Japan (Recorded live at the Budokan, Tokyo, May 1, 1975)
    • Now I'm Here
    • Killer Queen
    • In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited
40th Anniversary 12" Vinyl Single
  • Side A
    • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Side B
    • Now I'm Here (Odeon Soundcheck 1975)
Contents of Limited Edition Super Deluxe Boxed Set
  • 1 CD, 1 SD BLU-RAY, 1 DVD, 12" Single, 60 page hardback book and concert memorabilia in lift-off lid box
  • 60 page hardback book containing previously unseen photographs
  • Reproduction of ticket from the concert
  • Concert programme
  • Conference badge
  • Reproduction of the tour itinerary
  • Six button badges
  • Reproduction of the 1975 tour poster
  • Reproduction of the sticker stage pass
  • Reproduction of 2 balloons dropped into the crowd at the end of the 24th December 1975 Hammersmith show

1 comment

Edward Kaczmark said...

These early shows being released...well...all I can say is IT'S ABOUT TIME !! There are many more out there,..bootlegged, but from tapes that ARE around and the rights could be secured by people like EAGLE ROCK,or another company and cleaned up and put out for all Queen's fans to enjoy time and time again. We are all getting older...how much longer do we have to wait to spend our ''retirement money'' on something that we would love to spend it on !!!

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