The marketing department has been busy with this live album recorded by Queen from concert(s) in 1974 at The Rainbow theatre in London in 1974 but only released 40 years later. There are plenty of versions to choose from depending on how much you’re prepared to spend.
I’m not concerned about all the special editions but there are two versions you need to pay attention to.
- The cheapest option is to buy the November 1974 concert recording from the Sheer Heart Attack album.
- The other main option is to buy the extended Deluxe version with both the March 1974 Queen 2 promotional concert and the November concert.
By this stage Queen had only three albums of material so your decision probably depends on your opinion of the Queen 2 album.
Personally I’m not so keen. I class it in the good but not great category and when I owned it, after the initial get to know it enthusiasm I never found myself playing it. If I wanted to listen to Queen, I played Sheer Heart Attack, A Night At The Opera or even the first Greatest Hits album. Queen 2 struggled to find an identity or category for me to select it so I gave away my copy to charity.
People on Besteveralbums.com (a very good website where people submit lists of their favourites) rate it as the third best Queen album after SHA and ANATO. Incidentally, News Of the World was fourth and A Day At The Races fifth which emphasises the appeal of early rather than late Queen with their 1974 to 1977 output reigning supreme.
The Set Lists Of Queen Live At The Rainbow 74
Disk 1 (of the Deluxe version) Live At The Rainbow, London March 1974
Procession – 1:13 (from the studio album Queen 2)
Father To Son – 6:07 (Queen 2)
Ogre Battle – 5:26 (Queen 2)
Son And Daughter – 3:29 (Queen)
Guitar Solo – 2:24 (this was turned into Brighton Rock on Sheer Heart Attack)
Son And Daughter (Reprise) – 2:01
White Queen (As It Began) – 5:48 (Queen 2)
Great King Rat – 7:03 (Queen)
The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke – 2:52 (Queen 2)
Keep Yourself Alive – 2:22 (Queen)
Drum Solo – 0:27
Keep Yourself Alive – 1:22
Seven Seas Of Rhye – 3:09 (Queen 2)
Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll – 2:40
Jailhouse Rock / Stupid Cupid / Be Bop A Lula – 4:31
Liar – 8:27 (Queen)
See What A Fool I’ve Been – 4:55
(what’s not played from Queen 2? Some Day One Day, the Loser In The End, Nevermore, The March of the Black Queen, Funny How Love Is)
Disc 2 of the deluxe version (or the main album) Live At The Rainbow November 1974
Procession – 1:17 (Queen 2)
Now I’m Here – 4:57 (Sheer Heart Attack)
Ogre Battle – 5:30 (Queen 2)
Father To Son – 5:53 (Queen 2)
White Queen (As It Began) – 5:33 (Queen 2)
Flick Of The Wrist – 4:05 (Sheer Heart Attack)
In The Lap Of The Gods – 3:16 (Sheer Heart Attack)
Killer Queen – 1:25 (Sheer Heart Attack)
The March Of The Black Queen – 1:35 (Queen 2)
Bring Back That Leroy Brown – 1:40 (Sheer Heart Attack)
Son And Daughter – 3:44 (Queen)
Guitar Solo – 4:41 (from Brighton Rock on Sheer Heart Attack)
Son And Daughter (Reprise) – 2:14
Keep Yourself Alive – 2:22 (Queen)
Drum Solo – 0:50
Keep Yourself Alive (Reprise) – 1:24
Seven Seas Of Rhye – 3:28 (Queen 2)
Stone Cold Crazy – 2:39 (Sheer Heart Attack)
Liar – 8:39 (Queen)
In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited – 4:09 (Sheer Heart Attack)
Big Spender – 1:31
Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll – 3:11
Jailhouse Rock – 4:07
God Save The Queen 1:15
(Missing from the Sheer Heart Attack album, a proper version of Brighton Rock, Tenement Funster, Lily Of the Valley, Dear Friends, Misfire, She Makes Me. This second concert has also lost from Queen 2, The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke but gained a snippet of The March Of The Black Queen.)
I decided not to buy the Deluxe version as I wasn’t interested in alternative live versions of the Queen and Queen 2 songs.
I think the set list is well put together and the recording flows very well but…
- I would have liked the full version of Brighton Rock with the vocal part. There was 12 minutes of it on Live Killers from the 1979 concert recording and it’s a song that I really like and it rocks out very nicely.
- Freddie says that the just missed having a number 1 single in November which would have been Killer Queen but again we only get a small part of the song.
- Even though the November recording is longer than the March concert, it’s still a short set. I’ve talked before about quality versus quantity and how it is often better to have a short great album rather than a long one with dull periods but there are songs here that could have been extended.
Excellent. Queen play well, Freddie Mercury is in terrific voice and the overall sound quality is superb. It’s hard to believe that this was recorded 40 years ago.
I’m not a Queen expert but the impression I have is that they haven’t changed the songs much for a live setting. That said, Liar rocks out very nicely.
Overall, it’s got that more energised feel of live music rather than a studio session but it doesn’t explode and catch fire the way some classic live albums do. From what I’ve read, it appears that the March 74 is livelier than the Sheer Heart Attack tour later in the year.
Official video of Keep Yourself Alive from the 1974 Rainbow concert.
Stone Cold Crazy
The crowd can be heard but it’s not intrusive. There aren’t any idiots who keep shouting out “play Killer Queen” (or equivalent popular song) through the recording.
There is some banter and talking with the crowd by Freddie and Brian but in no way would I say that it was excessive.
It feels like the live recording that it is.
I haven’t heard it often enough to give it a formal rating yet but my thinking goes along the lines of 8/10 for the set list, 8 or 9 for the performance and 8 for the atmosphere giving it a rating of 24 or 25 out of 30. In Amazon terms, that’s a 4 star album and for me, it’s a recommended live album but not essential.
Queen fans are probably divided between the early and later, more popular material. The early fans will love it as, like me, they have been frustrated that there wasn’t anything from this 1974 to 1976 period. If you really like Queen 2, you should get the Deluxe version as the missing concert will nag away at you.
If you’re a later, more mainstream Queen fan and you’re happy to listen to live music, I recommend you give the shorter version a try. I find Queen better without the big hits from We Are The Champions onwards.
What Other People Say
I’ve read that I may have made a mistake by buying the version that only has the second 1974 concert because some fans believe that the first one, even though it has the weaker set list, is the more riveting performance.
Buying Live At The Rainbow 74 by Queen
You can get this live album from:
- Amazon.com as a CD or mp3
- Amazon.co.uk as a CD or mp3
- iTunes as a digital download
- eBay as a CD
What Do You Think Of Queen Live At The Rainbow?
Do you think the album is better than Live Killers, Rock Montreal and Live At Wembley?
If so why?
The album is doing very well in the Queen best live album poll because it is so new. It was only released in September 2014 but I expect some Queen fans will think it is their best.
If You Like This, I Think You Will Also Like…
mmm who is like early Queen?
- Mott the Hoople Live – Queen were the support band for Mott in their early days
- Bon Jovi One Wild Night
- Wings Over America – Paul McCartney rocks on this album and the post Beatles songs sound much better than you probably expect.