City: New York, NY, USA
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Date: December 1, 1977

Presumed setlist:
We Will Rock You (slow/fast), Brighton Rock, Somebody To Love, It's Late, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy, I'm In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, The Millionaire Waltz, You're My Best Friend, Spread Your Wings, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, My Melancholy Blues, White Man, The Prophet's Song, guitar solo, The Prophet's Song (reprise), Now I'm Here, Stone Cold Crazy, Bohemian Rhapsody, Keep Yourself Alive, Tie Your Mother Down, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, Sheer Heart Attack, Jailhouse Rock, God Save The Queen



   

   
       
                 
   
                         
 
     

After the first song Freddie greets the audience: "Good evening, wonderful New York! How are you feeling tonight, you rock and rollers? Are you ready to rock with us?"

He is then pummeled with roses from a few audience members after Somebody To Love, prompting him to exclaim, "It's like a carnival!"

"There's our latest shirts over there." Brian gets distracted for a brief moment before Love Of My Life, just as Robert Plant was a couple years prior at the same venue between songs. He continues, "We're gonna take some time off and try something a little different. We haven't done this before for you. This requires a lot of peace and quiet, and a little bit of concentration." Someone in the audience picks this 'appropriate' time to set off a few firecrackers, as was not unusual at concerts the 70s. Freddie and Brian still haven't completely worked out the new arrangement of the song. During the intro, Brian has to change keys, and he remarks, "That's better," before Freddie begins to sing the lovely ballad.

Freddie, before My Melancholy Blues: "Right, we have three songs in the sort of acoustic set. This is the third one, and I think I'd like to dedicate this to Ella Fitzgerald. She's here tonight."

Brian May plays a bit of Deck The Halls in his solo spot, and soon afterward he breaks a string and struggles with his tuning with the whammy bar for a minute until Freddie comes on to transition back into The Prophet's Song. Brian then swaps guitars and carefully detunes the Birch copy to drop D as they continue the song as normally as they can. To buy some time Freddie holds out the mic to a few audience members in the front row who shout nonsense into it for a brief moment as his guitarist sorts out the problem in front of 20,000 others.

Mercury comes on for the first encore of We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions in a New York Yankees jersey and cap, as the Yankees had just won the World Series in October. Deacon is seen with a Yankees cap as well.

Here are four reviews of the show, from Rolling Stone, the New York Times, the Village Voice, and (probably) the New York Daily News. The third one is more of a personal attack on Freddie Mercury than a concert review.

Thanks to Rob Schoorl for sharing these reviews, as they particularly helped identify which pictures come from which night.

Pics 4 and 5 taken by Ed Rosenbaum and Steve Schechter respectively. Photo 15 is from the collection of Derek McCabe. The second photo set was submitted by Juan Guarino (and cleaned up by Rudolf Griva), and the remaining sets were taken by Jeff Goldsmith, Albert DeBow, Ed Hoffer, Robert Miyares, and Rik Perry respectively.

Some pro photos from this show ended up in the May 1978 issue of Rock Scene magazine. Here are a few more pro pics (1, 2, 3, 4).



For many years Harold May hadn't supported his son's decision to leave his academic career behind to be a rock musician (he was about 95% done his PhD thesis on "the motions of interplanetary dust" before deciding to focus on the band full time), and it was this night that would be the catalyst to his change of heart. It was the first Queen concert Brian's parents attended outside the UK, and Brian had them flown in on the Concorde, which was a very new thing in 1977 [Harold was a technical civil servant and actually designed the blind landing equipment on the Concorde, yet wouldn't have ordinarily been able to afford to take a trip on it]. Brian later stated, "I put them up at the Ritz [Plaza Hotel] and told them to use room service." He recalled the show itself to be "an incredible buzz."

Brian opened up immensely during a 1999 interview with Mojo magazine: "[My dad] saw us play Madison Square Garden and understood the force and the fulfillment there was for me. He said, 'I'm so envious because I shut that part of me out of my life. You've achieved more in your life than I ever will.' It was a terrible moment. I felt very sad and thought about it for a long time. So I went back and had another conversation with him, explaining that his life had enabled me to do what I was doing. It wasn't long before he died, so it was important to straighten that stuff out. I only realise now how much pain I caused my dad." In the Days Of Our Lives documentary aired in 2011 on BBC Two, Brian spoke about this night through tears.

After receiving numerous honourary degrees, Brian May eventually did properly complete his PhD in 2007.


Recording length: 117 minutes (2 CD, incomplete)
Quality: B
Source: Audience
Lineage: AUD > Master Cassette > Standalone CDR (1)
(transfer: Panasonic handheld cassette recorder > Denon cassette deck > Harman Kardon burner)
Track listing:
We Will Rock You (slow/fast), Brighton Rock, Somebody To Love, It's Late, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy, I'm In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, The Millionaire Waltz, You're My Best Friend, Spread Your Wings, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, My Melancholy Blues, White Man, The Prophet's Song, guitar solo, The Prophet's Song (reprise), Now I'm Here, Stone Cold Crazy, Bohemian Rhapsody, Keep Yourself Alive, Tie Your Mother Down, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, Sheer Heart Attack, Jailhouse Rock [cut]


This, the inferior of the two audience sources from this show (recorded by Rob Schoorl), is the longer recording.

It seems there was a security duck during Tie Your Mother Down, as most of the song sounds like the gear was put in the taper's pocket. Rob also recorded the 2-5-77, 11-17-78, 8-20-80, and 7-23-82 shows.


Recording length: 93 minutes (2 CD, incomplete)
Quality: B+
Source: Audience
Lineage: AUD > Master Cassette > 1st Gen Cassette > WAV > CDR (1)
Track listing:
We Will Rock You (slow/fast), Brighton Rock, Somebody To Love, It's Late, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy, I'm In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, The Millionaire Waltz, You're My Best Friend, Spread Your Wings, Liar [cut], Love Of My Life, '39, My Melancholy Blues, White Man, The Prophet's Song, guitar solo, The Prophet's Song (reprise), Now I'm Here, Stone Cold Crazy, Bohemian Rhapsody [cut]


This is an alternate source with a lot clearer sound, but the taper (who also recorded source 2 of 11-17-78) paused the tape between most songs to record as much music as possible since he only had a 90 minute tape. As a result most of the songs have a very slight cut at the beginning.

This recording captures the band sounding powerfully loud and aggressive, and captivating their audience like few others.


Recording length: 4 CDR, incomplete
Quality: B
Source: Audience
Lineage: "Rocks New York" (Trial)

     
Track listing:
We Will Rock You (slow/fast), Brighton Rock, Somebody To Love, It's Late, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy, I'm In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, The Millionaire Waltz, You're My Best Friend, Spread Your Wings, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, My Melancholy Blues, White Man, The Prophet's Song, guitar solo, The Prophet's Song (reprise), Now I'm Here, Stone Cold Crazy, Bohemian Rhapsody, Keep Yourself Alive, Tie Your Mother Down, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, Sheer Heart Attack, Jailhouse Rock [cut]

We Will Rock You (slow/fast), Brighton Rock, Somebody To Love, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy, I'm In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, The Millionaire Waltz, You're My Best Friend, Doing All Right, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, White Man, The Prophet's Song, guitar solo, The Prophet's Song (reprise), Now I'm Here, Stone Cold Crazy, Bohemian Rhapsody, Keep Yourself Alive, Tie Your Mother Down, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, Sheer Heart Attack, Jailhouse Rock, Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting, God Save The Queen


Trial bootlegged both nights in a 4-disc package, using source 1 for the first night.


Recording length: 2 CDR, incomplete
Quality: ?
Source: Audience
Lineage: "Rock You In The Garden" (Breakdown)

 
Track listing:
We Will Rock You (slow/fast), Brighton Rock, Somebody To Love, It's Late, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy, I'm In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, The Millionaire Waltz, You're My Best Friend, Spread Your Wings, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, My Melancholy Blues, White Man, The Prophet's Song, guitar solo, The Prophet's Song (reprise), Now I'm Here, Stone Cold Crazy, Bohemian Rhapsody, Keep Yourself Alive, Tie Your Mother Down, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, Sheer Heart Attack, Jailhouse Rock


Breakdown bootlegged the show in 2011. It's currently unknown which audience source(s) they used.


Recording length: 4 CDR, incomplete
Quality: ?
Source: Audience
Lineage: "MSG Two Nights" (Breakdown)

 
Track listing:
We Will Rock You (slow/fast), Brighton Rock, Somebody To Love, It's Late, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy, I'm In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, The Millionaire Waltz, You're My Best Friend, Spread Your Wings, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, My Melancholy Blues, White Man, The Prophet's Song, guitar solo, The Prophet's Song (reprise), Now I'm Here, Stone Cold Crazy, Bohemian Rhapsody, Keep Yourself Alive, Tie Your Mother Down, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, Sheer Heart Attack, Jailhouse Rock [cut]

We Will Rock You (slow/fast), Brighton Rock, Somebody To Love, Death On Two Legs, Killer Queen, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy, I'm In Love With My Car, Get Down Make Love, The Millionaire Waltz, You're My Best Friend, Doing All Right, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, White Man, The Prophet's Song, guitar solo, The Prophet's Song (reprise), Now I'm Here, Stone Cold Crazy, Bohemian Rhapsody, Keep Yourself Alive, Tie Your Mother Down, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, Sheer Heart Attack, Jailhouse Rock, Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting, God Save The Queen


Breakdown bootlegged the show a second time in 2012, but this time as a 4-disc set consisting of both nights at the Garden. It is unlikely that there is any new material here.




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