Media Moment: The Edmonton Journal newspaper
Queen-related: Concert promo and review from 1977
So the boys wrap up two shows in Calgary at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium and in the end play to less than 10,000 fans over Wednesday and Thursday nights. The next night they played up in Edmonton to a single crowd that was larger than both Calgary shows combined.
Unlike Calgary’s shows, however, Brimstone, the promoter, opted to run a promo ad in the Edmonton Journal prior to the show. (Perhaps it was felt that Calgary’s first show would get them enough word-of-mouth to fill any remaining seats on their second night.)
The Edmonton Journal
Saturday, March 19, 1977
Orchestration highlight of Queen production
By Joe Sornberger
It was as if somebody, some pop music god or something, had orchestrated the whole thing.
Everything, it seemed, happened on schedule and according to plan. The surprises (smoke bombs, strobe lights, dry ice fogs) were there, but they were there exactly when called for. On cue when things were wearing a bit thin.
The fanfare of taped music that brought Queen to the Coliseum stage also brought the crowd of 12,000 to its feet, as if somebody in the rafters was pulling invisible strings.
And so it went.
When singer Freddie Mercury cavorted about, struggling to keep his scoop-necked leotards from slipping, the crowd cavorted by standing on their chairs. When he wailed, they roared.
Just handing over some of the champagne from the stage sent ripples of mild frenzy through the waves of people in the pit — that congested part of the auditorium on the floor immediately in front of the stage.
And when he threw flowers to the people, near the end of the show, it was as if members of the crowd were scrambling for pieces of gold.
It was definitely a success for Queen, a band that, along with Kiss, is probably glitter rock’s last gasp. The concert means the English group’s popularity has peaked in this city, as it has almost everywhere else in North America.
But though successful in their concert effort, things seemed a little too pat. A touch too predictable.
Freddie Mercury, though a tremendous front man, is more of a parody of a rock singer than an actual rock singer.
In his strutting, posing manner, he is like a Mick Jagger blown 10 times larger and way, way out of proportion. He should watch it. One step further, one shade more outrageous, and what he is going might actually become rock comedy.
Whatever, the audience loved him and loved the songs.
“Somebody To Love,” from their Day At The Races LP went over very well, despite the ragged harmonies. “Bohemian Rhapsody” scored well too, though it didn’t sound quite as good as when the band played here last, in the Field House.
Undoubtedly, the group was tired. This was their final stop on a long North American tour. Perhaps that’s why the energy that was apparent last time around was lacking just a little this time out.
But, with their peaking popularity — what with hit records an gold albums — they went over bigger this time than last.
Thin Lizzy, a quartet that seems to enjoy seeing how many songs can be played without changing chords, opened.
Three guys with hair down to their waists and a curly-haired fourth, it looks like they had their act choreographed by the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
But if the group lacks musical ability and stageshow they more than make up for in verbalizing. For instance, on into:
“This is a cowboy song for all you cowboys. It’s called The Cowboy Song.” Now, how about that for zappy stage chatter?
No matter, the audience loved Thin Lizzy, giving them an encore, too.
While not as eloquent as the review from The Albertan in Calgary, I think Mr. Sornberger is mildly approving of the show but not so much for Thin Lizzy, though. His prediction that Queen had peaked in popularity in North America with this tour was obviously wrong as their true peak came with The Game, then it slowed with Flash Gordon and eventually cratered with the release of Hot Space.
This Edmonton show would be their final concert ever in our province. Brian returned to the Edmonton Coliseum in 1993 as the opening act for Guns & Roses; a show I was fortunate enough to catch almost 20 years ago. At the time I thought it would be the closest I’d ever get to seeing a Queen concert since I missed the real McCoy in 1975 and 1977 because I was too young to travel to the big city. I outdid myself, though, in that I caught Q+PR in Vegas in 2007 so that was probably the closest I’d get to Queen proper, simply because Roger was part of the lineup.
Maybe I’ll snoop around for the concert review from the Guns & Roses show just to round out the newspaper review theme I’ve started here.