City: Houston, TX, USA
Venue: The Summit
Date: December 11, 1977

Setlist:
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, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, My Melancholy Blues, White Man, The Prophet's Song, guitar solo, 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


 


This is the legendary Houston show - legendary only because its video was the one of the most sought-after documents of Queen for nearly two decades. Bits of footage had been seen in various documentaries dating back to 1987's "The Magic Years."

The filming (pro-shot footage that was shown on the big video screens during the concert) was the result of an agreement with the venue not only for Queen, but plenty of artists who played at the Summit during this period. The footage of Aerosmith, The Eagles, and Kiss is well-known amongst collectors, and the footage of Kiss, The Who and Bruce Springsteen has been officially released. Springsteen surprised his fans in 2010 with 1978 footage that was released in a box set. Footage of Led Zeppelin is rumoured to exist as well.

The performance is fantastic overall, although it's a bit of a rough night for Brian. After flubbing his solo in Somebody To Love and the transition from Death On Two Legs into Killer Queen, he breaks a string a minute into Liar. Roger has to improvise on his hi-hat for a short while until his guitarist gets a Red Special copy. They then play a spectacular version of the debut album gem, with an extended jam in the middle where everyone shines. Brian plays great from here onward.

Freddie, after '39: "We'd like to try out something very different right now. This is from the new album, the News Of The World. Have you got it yet? The album, that is." He feels the need to distinguish the album from the British tabloid of the same name, but it actually wouldn't matter to an audience outside of the UK. "Ok, you might just about recognize this one. This is called My Melancholy Blues."

Freddie makes a very rare reference to his recurring nodule problem which was an issue at many points in his career (but not during this great period for him). "It's a real bitch of a song. It really gets to the nodules, but we're gonna do it for you tonight. This is..." (he hesitates and chuckes to himself, probably because he's surprised at himself for even mentioning it!) "a song entitled White Man." He offers a great version of the song, as his voice is in superb shape tonight.

During the ensuing guitar solo, Brian plays the embryos of riffs of songs to come in later years, including Put Out The Fire, Hammer To Fall, and Khashoggi's Ship.

The high quality of the recording is apparent at the end of White Man, as Roger can be heard dropping his drum sticks with the knowledge that he has a 10-15 minute break ahead. The band skip the reprise of The Prophet's Song - the only time this is known to have happened on the entire tour - as Brian jumps right into Now I'm Here after his rather unique guitar solo (which starts with him fiddling with his EBow). Perhaps this was done because of time constraints (having a limited amount of film?). At the end of Now I'm Here, Roger breaks a drum stick during his brief drum break before the final fanfare.

A great picture of the crown lighting rig was taken before the concert by the head of the Queen crew, Peter "Ratty" Hince, and it can be seen on his website.

Pro pictures from this show can be seen at http://www.rockinhouston.com (pics 26 through 39).

In 1989, My Melancholy Blues from this show was released on the UK 12" "The Miracle" single, and on The Miracle CD single in the UK and Austria. Also in 1989, an edited version of the song was seen on the Rare Live video release.

In November 2009, the band posted some concert videos from the 70s on their website in conjunction with the release of their "Absolute Greatest" compilation, including The Millionaire Waltz and a non-edited My Melancholy Blues from this show. The picture was brightened for the latter. In 2011, the complete and visually unaltered My Melancholy Blues was posted on iTunes.

A verse of Tie Your Mother Down from the Houston soundcheck was shown at the "Stormtroopers in Stilettoes" Queen exhibition in early 2011. This footage was released in the extras of the UK blu-ray of the "Days Of Our Lives" documentary. In addition, alternate angles of the fast We Will Rock You from this show were seen in the documentary, which originally aired on BBC Two. The first few songs of the show were filmed by Bob Harris' crew, along with plenty of other footage (on and off stage) from the tour, originally intended for a documentary that never aired.

Rhys Thomas, producer of the 2011 Queen documentary "Days Of Our Lives," has confirmed that Houston was the only complete show filmed on the tour. There are bits of footage from other shows - often filmed from backstage, with no audio, and no complete songs. But there is plenty of rehearsal and soundcheck footage. He stated in late 2012 that the Harris documentary and the Houston concert may well be released as a package in the next couple years.


Recording length: 113 minutes, complete
Video/Audio quality: A / A
Source: Video
Lineage: Video Master > PAL VHS (2?) > DVD

       
Track listing:
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, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, My Melancholy Blues, White Man, The Prophet's Song, Guitar Solo, 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


The first copies of the famed Houston video slowly leaked into collectors' circles in 2005, but it was many generations from the master. It had a greenish look to it, and horizontal lines that distracted from the viewing experience somewhat (the result of a bad NTSC > PAL conversion). The only thing missing on the older versions of the video is Freddie's speech before White Man. A much better copy emerged in 2007 (a second generation copy, as estimated by resident video experts).

The audio mix on the closed-circuit video feed well-balanced (although a bit dry), but unfortunately Roger's vocal is slightly distorted. John is featured well in the mix, so one can appreciate the quality of his playing in pieces like The Millionaire Waltz and Liar (although he does hit a couple bum notes in Now I'm Here and We Are The Champions).

Towards the end of the video, an audience member can be seen holding up the tambourine Freddie threw away during Keep Yourself Alive.

Overall, this video perfectly exemplifies Freddie's balance of showman and musician, between his choice of attire (black and white tights and the silver lurex suit), his one third of the show spent at the piano, and his sheer command on stage at every moment.


Recording length: 1 minute, incomplete
Video/Audio quality: A / A
Source: Video
Lineage: Bob Harris master > ? > BBC documentary

     
Track listing:
We Will Rock You (slow/fast)


A couple clips from the aborted Bob Harris documentary footage were seen in the 2011 BBC documentary "Days Of Our Lives."

The audio source is the same mono soundboard track.


Recording length: 110 minutes (1 DVD, incomplete)
Video/Audio quality: B+/A
Source: Video
Lineage: "Houston Rock" (Digital Queen Archives) silver

Track listing:
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, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, My Melancholy Blues, White Man, The Prophet's Song, Guitar Solo, 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


The DQA bootleg is of one of the older copies of the video. The audio has plenty of digital clicks throughout, and it sounds like it has been digitally processed a bit.

Here's a link to the ever-reliable GS review: http://www.collectorsmusicreviews.com


Recording length: 110 minutes (2 CD, incomplete)
Quality: A
Source: Video
Lineage: "A Night At The Summit" (Digital Queen Archives) silvers

   
Track listing:
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, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, My Melancholy Blues, White Man, The Prophet's Song, Guitar Solo, 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


These silvers are the soundtrack of DQA's DVD.


Recording length: 113 minutes (2 CD, incomplete)
Quality: A
Source: Video
Lineage: "Houston 1977" (Wardour) silvers

   
Track listing:
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, Liar, Love Of My Life, '39, My Melancholy Blues, White Man, The Prophet's Song, Guitar Solo, 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


Wardour's bootleg is a straight copy of one of the older versions of the video, still missing the bit before White Man.




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