Media Moment: The Calgary Herald newspaper
Queen-related: Concert review from 1977
The Calgary Herald
Thursday, March 17, 1977
Queen rules stage with dramatic effect
By Bill Lindsay (Herald Staff Writer)
Queen have taken quite a fancy to themselves.
“We started out with hard rock, but I think we”ve come a long way since then, I hope you agree,” purred Freddie Mercury, front man of Queen, to an adoring full house at the Jubilee Auditorium Wednesday night.
It would be a major mistake to believe that this British glitter quartet is original. They owe an immense debt to the likes of David Bowie, Lou Reed and even The Rolling Stones in their staging and persona, if not in their music.
But, it would be just as off-base to dismiss the band’s work as entirely derivative, polished to a high gloss but lacking any statement of its own.
Queen are progressive rock purists, if anyone can be classed that in a medium devoted to excess, debauchery and degeneracy. Their music is a bizarre blend of hysterical choral breaks, smooth guitar flash and campy lyrics, pinned by a dynamic rhythm section.
The effect is theatrical.
Consistently busy — powder flashes, strobes, shifting vistas of soft colors and brilliant spots — and occasionally stunning, the band has created a dramatic package that is primitive theatre, but a relatively sophisticated rock show.
Mercury, decked in white tights exposing his chest, cavorted about the stage in a manner very much like the emcee in the film “Cabaret.” Guitarist Brian May ran to the edge of the stage to strike chilosophical [sic] poses for his leagues of followers.
May has perfected the musing look of studied concentration that shows how dreadfully serious he is about his fingerwork.
At times, though, things went a bit too far into absurdity. For instance, a stage hand runs out with a triangle so it can be struck once, and then runs off with it. Similar scenes pop up throughout the show.
Opening act Thin Lizzy were no match for the volatile theatrics of Queen.
Their twin guitars and hopelessly predictable stage moves seemed out of date. Jamming a guitar into one’s crotch and waving it at the audience has become just a little too tedious.
Besides, there’s something deeply disturbing about an Irishman pretending to machine-gun the spectators with his bass just before St. Patrick’s Day.
Thin Lizzy are much better on record than on stage. They’re better when you don’t have to watch them and contend with such acts of consummate cleverness as catching the spotlight on a guitar and shining it in random faces. Really nifty.
Tonight’s show at Jubilee is sold out, as was the opening night, but a few tickets for a Friday concert in Edmonton are available at Bay ticket wicket.
There you have it. Queen wins. Thin Lizzy fails.