City: Hertford, UK
Venue: Balls Park College
Date: November 14, 1970

This was another disappointing early gig, as the band were having major issues with their PA system. Freddie was very nervous throughout.

Two different sources insist that the band were booked at this venue (their ninth show) as Smile. After some initial questioning and doubt, these claims are completely factual.

Upon their arrival, Queen mentioned to the people who booked the gig that they had decided on the way down from their last gig (in Liverpool) that the band would change their name from Smile to Queen. "Of course, it may have been just something they said every time they arrived at a gig to explain why the venue hadn't been notified of their name change," says David Cripps, whose band played the first and third sets of the night (Queen's was second).

Further confirmation comes from Rupert White. This gig was organised by a friend of Roger Taylor's, Penny North from a band called The Jayfolk. Brian and Roger had played there as Smile (probably in 1969) and were booked to play there again as Smile in 1970, but by then they had changed their name.

Perhaps Queen were able to get gigs using the reputable Smile name due to its notoriety on the college/club circuit, compared to the Queen name which had very little popularity at the time. But this particular gig was booked long before Smile had evolved into Queen.

After the gig, while speaking with an employee of the college, Queen requested more money for their labours on the basis that they were "more famous" now that they had played at the Cavern Club, where The Beatles played in their early days.

Brian May recalled the gig in a 2021 interview: "There's a famous story: we played this place called Balls Park College, and we get booked to play their ball. It's a tiny thing, a couple of hundred kids there. We play the first set, and they're looking at us thinking why don't they play Stairway To Heaven or Paranoid [ed. not necessarily Stairway, as that wouldn't come out until the following year]. In the interval, the secretary of the entertainment committee comes in and talks to us. She says: 'Thanks, guys. Really, really good. I've had a request, though.' And we went: 'Oh yeah, what's the request?' 'For the second half, can they have the disco instead of you guys?' And we went: 'Give us the money... goodbye.'"

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