December 24, 1975. London’s Hammersmith Odeon. Onstage at this legendary venue, the four members of Queen are bringing to a close a ground-breaking show, transmitted live on BBC TV, and also bringing to a climax the most eventful and exciting year in their careers so far – one that has taken them from the UK to America to Japan, sealing their transition from ambitious upstarts into one of the biggest and most important bands of the era – and beyond.
Forty years later, this groundbreaking show officially takes to the World Stage. On November 20, Queen – A Night At The Odeon – Hammersmith 1975 is released on CD, DVD, SD Blu-Ray, 2 LP vinyl, Super Deluxe Box Set and digitally through Virgin EMI. As well as a live recording of this legendary gig, the packages also include 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.
Their latest single Bohemian Rhapsody – universally hailed as one of the most ground-breaking ‘pop’ songs ever released – was in the middle of its record-breaking nine week run at Number One in the UK charts. Their fourth album, A Night At The Opera (the most expensive record ever made to that point) found Queen’s grandiose vision coalescing into a breathtaking set of songs and ushered the band into a seat at rock’s top table (just three days after the concert, A Night At The Opera reached the top of the UK album charts).
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. 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.
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 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. The Super Deluxe Boxed 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.
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Queen – White Queen (A Night At The Odeon – Hammersmith 1975)