“Queen – The Greatest” – a celebration of 50 of the greatest moments from the Queen story so far. Episode 2. Live At The Rainbow – London, 1974.
Queen: The Landmark Gig – Live At The Rainbow (Episode 2)
Having played host to acts such as Jimi Hendrix, The Beach Boys, David Bowie, and Eric Clapton, for a young band like Queen, headlining at London’s The Rainbow really was the stuff of dreams. A dream that first came true for the band on their Queen II tour on the 31st of March, 1974.
The Rainbow concert was hugely significant in the band’s leap forward as a headliner band. Brian explains: We’d done our support tour and then promoter Mel Bush came to us – he was a pretty top promoter at the time – and he said ‘I think you guys can headline the next tour’, and we were surprised. I remember thinking ‘Wow, that’s very quick’, because normally you would support a few acts and build a following, and then you would go on your headline tour.’
‘But he said ‘No, I feel you can do it, you can sell out all these places’ and he gave us a big list – Newcastle City Hall, Manchester’s Free Trade Hall or whatever, you know all the sort of classic gigs that Rock Bands do, and he said ‘you can fill all these, and at the end, we’re going to do the Rainbow’.
In October 1974, when the band embarked on their next UK tour to promote the “Sheer Heart Attack” album, it was no surprise that the Rainbow would feature on their tour schedule. However, this time, due to overwhelming demand, a second sold-out night had to be added.
These spectacular nights at The Rainbow November 19/20 in 1974 were a clear statement that, as a live act in the UK, Queen had well and truly arrived.
It also marked the first time Queen had been professionally filmed live in concert. The footage was edited down and later screened at selected British cinemas further underlining Queen’s rapidly emerging stature.
A random fact: In 1974, a ticket to this sought-after gig would have set you back £1.75.
Next week: The ‘turning point’ single, Killer Queen.