Hammersmith

ARTICLE ABOUT Queen FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 3, 1976

This is not a very flattering concert review. It seems to me that the reviewer hated the band before he was ordered to a do a review of this concert. The result is here for all to see. So read this with a large pinch of salt.
Enjoy?

IMG_0446

Workrate Astounding

But Queen lack midfield schemer…

By Chris Salewicz
Queen
Hammersmith

It`s difficult, you know, keeping up with all the fickle shifts in credibility and acceptability.
It is, for instance, apparently no longer accurate to view Queen as merely the last band to pick up the fag-end of androgyny rock in this country.
The other day (indeed) a friend of mine – a man of no small taste in these matters – was speaking of Freddie and his cohorts as being “The new Led Zeppelin”.
Heavy, ehh?
Well, you most probably saw the show yourself on the box on Christmas Eve.
What you maybe didn`t know was that the audience had been sat there in the Hammersmith Odeon since eight o`clock with only the Mr Big set to keep them occupied until ten o`clock. Last year, when the Old Grey Whistle Test had Elton occupying the same slot, the programme came in halfway through the set. Not for Queen, however. There was a definite sense that the audience were of secondary importance to the viewers.

Anyway, round about ten in the evening – after interminable amounts of piano tinkling and paradiddling from behind the safety curtain, and round about the same time that we suss that the spotlights putting black flashes in front of our eyes aren`t part of some particularly seasonal stage set but are your actual Beeb TV floodlights – the OGWT theme music starts up and Bob appears in silver grey top hat and tails and the show begins.
And they work so very hard.
If any band epitomises Calvinism in rock it must be Queen.
Freddie seems to quite positively adore the work ethic. In fact, he works so hard onstage that he overdoes it and ODs on his own efforts at times.
He moves about the stage so deliberately, so studiously, waving around and leaning into that absurb stunted mike he uses that every muscle in his body seems rigid with nervous tension.
Freddie doesn`t relax for one moment. He seems completely devoid of any natural rhythmic sense and plays his part with the assumption that if he works hard enough at it it won`t show.

IMG_0449

I caught the show a couple of weeks ago in Birmingham and couldn`t figure out what was wrong. Great show, I`d thought at the time. Even told Freddie that. But it was only when I saw Queen at Hammersmith that I figured out what was amiss.
But at least at Hammersmith he didn`t look quite so close to breaking into mid-tour tears on stage.
Now all this obvious effort works to the band`s disadvantage. Although his singing voice is impressively clear and powerful, Freddie doesn`t possess a good speaking voice. His onstage tone is unnatural and almost paternalistic. The stress factor appears to spread itself throughout the whole band.
Brian May, for example, appears totally unnatural when he takes off with some mildmannered brain chordings on “Brighton Rock” with the drum-kit spot behind him – the most impressive stage number, notwithstanding the fact that he`s utilizing a bastardised “Whole Lotta Love” riffs.
Of course, if I walked around wearing the kind of stage clothes Queen wear – they really do have the worst taste of any of the flash-rock bands – I`d be tense and nervous too.

Queen`s main problem, though, is that without their binding the whole caboodle together with musical effect after musical effect and visual effect after visual effect there just wouldn`t be anything left.
TINKLE. TINKLE. Smoke bombs. THUD THUD. Solo. Shift lighting. New number. Dry ice. Change costumes. Put Freddie on piano. Form a little intimate cluster by the drumkit.
But you forgot the soul, lads. You forgot the feeling. You`re the coldest band I`ve ever seen. You got great harmonies and arrangements and reasonable playing but in five years time do you just want to be remembered as a band that had a great stage act?
Oh yeah. And that ultimate contrived encore.
Well, first of all I can go to the Nashville and see any band on any night encoring with a rock`n`roll medley. Secondly, I object when you can`t even infuse it with any fire whatsoever.
Yes, of course they all get up on their feet but come now: most of the audience had been there for three and a bit hours already. Don`t kid yourselves.
And all that prancing about in your kimono to “The Stripper”, Freddie. Knock it on the head. You want credibility and you still come across like an old tart.
Led Zeppelin? You must be kidding. Queen are quite irrevocably Lightweight City.

IMG_0452

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With a great, big thank you to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Rory Gallagher, Steve Cropper, Sailor, Paul Bley, Labelle, Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart, The Who.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT The Who FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 3, 1976

I have regular visits from people reading articles featuring The Who at this site. So for that reason alone it is a pleasure to post an old concert review from the legendary Hammersmith.
Enjoy!

IMG_0446

The Who

HAMMERSMITH

By Steve Clarke

The black monolith (stereolith?) of a PA system towers from floor to ceiling. Onstage The Goodies` Graham Chapman is receiving a hard time from this day-before-Christmas Eve audience, who`re wearing expressions of celebration all over their paper-hatted faces.
It`s the third and final gig of The Who`s Christmas series at Hammersmith Odeon. According to reports Sunday night was great – Monday`s gig a little dodgy. Tonight (Tuesday) they just have to blow everybody`s heads off.
Chapman leaves the audience with a few select profanities. Seconds later, The Who tumble onstage, Moon cartwheeling, and take their positions. Entwistle, a sturdy glitzy carnival with his sequined jacket, is stage right, and Pete`s opposite, wearing a white baggy outfit which looks as if it was pulled on a few seconds beforehand. His face looks decidedly haggard.
Townshend`s arms go into action and his fingers make contact with the sunburst Les Paul, introducing the staccato riff to “I Can`t Explain”.

The music`s okay, but not as powerful as The Who can be. Daltrey`s voice is shot, not as pure as it ought to be. Townshend`s guitar should be louder, but the Entwistle-Moon rhythm section is invincible and pounds along ruthlessly, compelling you to stamp your feet.
Despite these `defects`, spines are tingling and it wouldn`t surprise me if there`s a few wet eyes in the house. Hell, it`s more than good to see The Who onstage at Christmas. All around are faces brimful of joy. I`ve yet to see a band audience relationship like The Who`s; their audiences, no matter what the standard of playing, are always totally entranced by the sheer thrill of seeing Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon on stage together again.
It`s not as if all present grew up with The Who – looking around at the audience, it seems to me that Pete Townshend has no cause to worry whether he`s too old to play rock `n` roll. He might look a little weary, but the spirit which he and the rest of the band project is as young and as vital as ever; “the magic that will set you free” to borrow a phrase.
“Substitute” follows, and like the opening number its lyrics are as relevant today as they ever were. What`s the betting that more than a few guys in the audience are feeling just like that tonight? Into “My Wife”, Entwistle`s excellent song from the band`s finest, “Who`s Next”, follows, and the bassist`s voice is in worse shape than Daltrey`s.

IMG_0448

The further into the set, the better the music gets, and by the time of “Tommy” The Who are playing as they should. Townshend has gained the power his playing lacked earlier, and everything that has made The Who arguably rock`s greatest band is being demonstrated here tonight; the pyrotechnics, the dynamics, the band`s attitude towards its audience and its music.
“I`m Free”, “We`re Not Gonna Take It” and “Pinball Wizard” comes as a feast of power chording, and the energy which flows from the band is almost tangible. The first climax of the evening comes with the “See Me Feel Me” sequence, myriads of `lazer` beams being projected from backstage out across the theatre.
The audience erupts, spilling out into the near-stage area.
Introducing “Tommy”, Moon and Townshend had the wit to send the whole thing up, saying it was a piece of classical music when they know damn well it isn`t. Rock opera? Bullshit. Rock and roll isn`t about `operas`, it`s essentially about energy, joy, and most important of all, communication – and this is where The Who are succeeding most of all.
Unlike Led Zeppelin, The Who cry out for an audience to relate to, and there is no barrier between them and their audience. Mostly they`re not about pretensions. They might be a good deal more affluent than their audiences, but get them on a stage and their richness disappears and you know that at one time in their lives, they`ve lived the kind of life most of the audience are now living.

Unlike The Stones, there`s no celebration of evil and no jet-set ambience.
Daltrey might not be such an amazing performer as Jagger, but he is a lot more touchable as he trots around onstage like a toy soldier.
The only time on Tuesday The Who weren`t one hundred per cent convincing was during “My Generation”. I understand why they have to play it, yet when they do it`s as if they realise it`s one damn big lie.
Otherwise it all makes sense.
Part way through the song the band goes into one of their flop singles “Join Together”, and the song is genuinely apt. By that time the audience`s inhibitions have disappeared.
The following “Summertime Blues” is true to the spirit of classic rock `n`roll. Oddly the penultimate number is “Roadrunner”, at the end of which Townshend widens his guitar tone, even turning in a few Beckisms.
Their set closes with “Won`t Get Fooled Again”, a classic post-Woodstock statement. It`s played majestically, climax after climax, and perfectly timed so that balloons and fake snow fall from the ceiling as the music bursts into its final crescendo.
Townshend hurls his guitar at the amps and it`s over.
If you thought rock was dead at that moment in time, you must have been born in the wrong age. Easily the year`s best display of rock `n` roll.

IMG_0451

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With a great, big thank you to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Rory Gallagher, Steve Cropper, Sailor, Paul Bley, Labelle, Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart, Queen.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.