Live Killers

1979 saw the release of several live albums by some top acts. While Scorpions, Bob Dylan and Cheap Trick released excerpts from their Japanese legs and The Ramones mixed a '77 gig at The Rainbow in London, both Queen and Mike Oldfield recorded their live albums between winter and spring '79 European legs and released the final product in summer.

'Live Killers' would be Queen's last self-produced album for a long while and it'd be their first collaboration with young engineer (soon to be producer) David Richards. Contrary to what the band declared, this album does have studio overdubs, albeit not too many of them. Short comments on each track:

  • We Will Rock You - Fast: The lads had arranged an upbeat version and recorded it at the Beeb. For some years they'd open their gigs with that version. Note John's bass-break and Roger's strong backing vocals.
  • Let Me Entertain You: Faster version featuring backing vocals by Roger and Brian, and strong guitar lines.
  • The Queen Medley: Freddie on piano most of the time.
    • Death On Two Legs: Introduced by Freddie insulting the person whom he wrote it about, and then proceeding to a fast piano intro, spiced up by Roger's cymbal rolls. Brian made some nice feedback noises. Compared to the studio version, the piano arpeggios were faster but played with a less "virtuoso" technique. After the first cycle, they played the chorus again and a variation of the riff, modulating to Cm and starting off...
    • Killer Queen: Shortened version too, cutting after the solo.
    • Bicycle Race: Cut before the transposed chorus.
    • I'm In Love With My Car: Roger sang and played drums. They omitted the second cycle.
    • Get Down Make Love: Brian played guitar with harmoniser, and they did it more or less full.
    • You're My Best Friend: John on bass did some nice figures, and the song was shortened dropping the second verse. At the end Freddie did some ornaments in the piano part.
  • Now I'm Here: Extended faster version with some ad-libs from both Freddie and Brian.
  • Acoustic Set: Roger moved to a smaller drum-kit, Brian dragged a 12-string acoustic guitar.
    • Dreamer's Ball: Brian and Roger on vocal brasses.
    • Love Of My Life: Just Freddie on vocals and Brian on acoustic.
    • '39: John on fretless bass, Roger on tambourine and drums. Fred shook a pair of maracas before the start and threw them to the audience, and he sang lead vocals here instead of Brian.
  • Keep Yourself Alive: Introduced by a snippet of Fun It (edited out on the album). Faster version with Roger taking over the lead vocals for a line, but not Brian (Fred and him sang "...steps.." together).
  • Don't Stop Me Now: Faster and rocker version, with Brian playing guitar all throughout instead of just the solo. Beautiful extended version with some ad-libs in the break.
  • Spread Your Wings: Again, rocker version with Freddie on piano doing some figures and Roger (sometimes Brian as well) on backing vocals.
  • Brighton Rock: Brill full version with extended solo and Roger doing the high vocals.
  • Mustapha / Bohemian Rhapsody: The crowd asked for Mustapha so Fred did the intro, but then went to Bo Rhap (omitting the first bit and putting the record for the operatic interlude).
  • Tie Your Mother Down: Faster version with a superb solo by Brian (including a bit of slide). The concerts ended here.
  • Sheer Heart Attack: Fast version with some excellent drumming. This was the first encore.
  • We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions: Second encore. Roger (and sometimes Brian) did backing vocals during Champions.
  • God Save The Queen: Fred spoke to the audience while the British Anthem was reproduced on tape.