LOVE FOR AN HOUR IS LOVE FOREVER
6 CD BOX
| Review by
Godfather’s first Queen Box Set features three shows from the first week of what was to become the band’s final visit to North America. It is another stellar box, setting new standards in collecting, which features three double CD sets in gorgeous tri-fold paper sleeves, a 12 page booklet, tour book replica, Hot Space pin, and four stickers.
Since venturing into the Box Set production, they have rapidly become very popular items amongst collectors and usually sell out rather quickly. Love For An Hour Is Love Forever should be no different and is certainly a must have for any Queen collector. All three shows are presented here for the first time on pressed CD and can all be considered very good quality audience sources.
Despite this being a somewhat obscure era for Queen (from both the fans and the band’s point of view) it is very nice to see them exploring a different direction and even though the fans may have been divided it certainly kept things fresh from a musical standpoint.
The Forum, Montreal, Canada – July 21, 1982
Queen started their Hot Space North American Tour in Montreal on July 21, 1982. After two months of dates in Europe heavily experimenting with the setlist, they would still continue to tinker from night to night with which new material to include. They feature six new songs from Hot Space to start the tour but only a few will remain constant. With an equal number from The Game, many long standing tracks have been slowly starting to disappear altogether.
There are two different incomplete audience tapes available for this show. Godfather uses an edit of both tapes using one as a basis and the second to fill in a few gaps to present a complete performance. The sound ranges from very good to sometimes excellent with a nice balance of instruments and is a great opening night.
Queen drop “The Hero” as the opener and elect to start right with “Rock It” from The Game. A transition into “We Will Rock You (Fast)” comes as a surprise and sounds a little awkward and forced here.
“Action This Day” has excellent energy and is one of the few Hot Space tracks to be played consistently throughout the tour. The cheesy sound of the keyboard in the solo sounds very dated when listening to it now but otherwise rocks. There is a very nice vocal exchange between Freddie and Roger Taylor during the verses. “Play The Game” follows and is a beautiful performance showing the band has really dialed in.
“Staying Power” is one of the most effective of the new tracks in the set and benefits from the extra edge the band gives it live. However, it still retains the nice R&B flavor of its studio counterpart. This new direction seems to have influenced Freddie’s vocal break in “Now I’m Here” where he adds a touch more soul than before. With “Now I’m Here” being the oldest song in the set, they seem to have abandon anything from the first two records. They sandwich “Dragon Attack” in the middle and is the closest thing to a medley this time around.
“Calling All Girls” is also a good sounding strong live track while “Back Chat” doesn’t seem to translate as well. John Deacon plays second guitar on “Back Chat” while touring keyboardist Fred Mandel handles the bass parts on keys. Its lack of response is easy to see why this one didn’t last. “Get Down Make Love” only features an abbreviated first half and is segued with Brian May’s guitar solo during this tour.
“Under Pressure” is definitely the most popular and best received of all the newer songs. It reached #1 in the UK but surprisingly peaked at only #29 in the US. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” has one of the few spots where the alternate source is used. It is spliced in from 1:20 to 2:02 covering the guitar solo.
“Body Language” is played during the encores and while it seems kind of out of place following songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Tie Your Mother Down”, it does get a good response from the audience. The twin anthems “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” bring a very successful opening night to a close.
Two bonus tracks from later in the year are included from Chicago. The sound quality is a step down from Montreal as the drums get a little washed out on this tape. “Life Is Real” is introduced by Brian and is a nice sounding version of the rarely played Hot Space track. Brian explains that Mercury wrote this for a very special person (John Lennon) and plays a nice acoustic solo. This show is also known for a longer version of “Fat Bottomed Girls” with some “Father To Son” riffs thrown in.
Boston Garden, Boston, MA – July 23, 1982
The second date of the North American Tour brings Queen to Boston. This was a special event as WBCN DJ Mark Parenteau reads a statement from Boston’s Mayor, Kevin White, officially declaring July 23rd Queen Day in Boston.
This comes from a slightly distant recording that seems to clear up as the show progresses and should be considered a very good and enjoyable tape.
The taped “Flash” intro is dropped and Brian gets right into “Rock It” after the declaration. It is again segued with “We Will Rock You” and the transition seems a little smoother tonight. “Staying Power” totally rocks again. During “Save Me” tonight not only does Freddie give an incredible vocal performance but Brian’s guitar solos truly sing, an overall really nice version.
“Calling All Girls” sounds big tonight with nice dynamics. This is only the second live performance and already is calling for a little bit of guitar improv during the outro. “Back Chat” is dropped (it will return again during shows in October) and instead they go right for “Get Down Make Love”. There is a cut in the middle of Brian May’s guitar solo missing a small portion.
After “Under Pressure” Freddie says “one of these nights Mr. Bowie might come on stage and do it with us” and continues in joking manner asking “Do you like blowjobs?… come on, loosen up…if you like blowjobs and you can’t get ‘em then this is the next best thing, “Fat Bottomed Girls”. You would think he would have been on better behavior after being declared Queen Day? He flubs the first line of the verse but quickly finds his place.
Brian May really loosens up in the ending guitar solos in “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. Despite the success of the new single, “Body Language” seems to lose the crowd again. It’s too bad because it apparently has more to do with set placement than performance. Queen is also playing a shortened version compared to the European performances. “Another One Bites The Dust” quickly restores the audience’s enthusiasm.
The end of the forth disc contains bonus tracks from Oakland on September 7th and features only the opening of the show and the “Now I’m Here” medley. It comes from a very good audience tape that is a bit distorted in the beginning. After about a minute of “Rock It” they break into a complete version of “We Will Rock You (Fast)”. The quality improves for “Now I’m Here” sounding very good and clear. This version includes “Put Out The Fire” (as well as “Dragon Attack”) which really ends up working well and Freddie gets in another vocal workout.
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – July 28, 1982
The final set in the box features Queen’s second night at MSG. It is another very good audience source, perhaps the best in the box, and is considered by some fans to be one of the best performances from the tour.
New York’s excitement is evident right from the taped “Flash” intro. “Rock It/We Will Rock You” sounds great and Freddie’s enthusiasm during “Action This Day” is very apparent.
More changes to the setlist bring in “Somebody To Love”. Only the intro was played the previous night as a prelude to “Bohemian Rhapsody” but tonight New York is treated to a full version. Freddie really drags out his piano introduction and says “you get the message, huh?” His lead vocal is very strong. This apparently takes the place of “Staying Power” tonight.
Few singers can command an audience like Freddie Mercury. During the vocal break in “Now I’m Here” he has the New York crowd in the palm of his hand. “Save Me” follows with another beautiful version of the powerful ballad.
Freddie introduces “a new release by Roger Taylor on drums. We don’t normally give him a chance to release a single but this is his first one and ah, the message is love, it’s called “Calling All Girls”. A good strong song that unfortunately, like most of the Hot Space tracks, wouldn’t last beyond this tour. Following “Get Down Make Love”, Brian delivers another excellent guitar solo listed as “Brighton Rock”. He does manage to touch upon some of the ideas but the band does not follow.
Queen move “Body Language” up in the set. In my opinion this was a wise move as the song order flows much better while not disrupting the onslaught of hits at the end of the show.
“I tell you right now I’d like to introduce to everybody ah, somebody who is helping us out every night… on keyboards Mr. Fred Mandel…over there…he’s a cutie” says Mercury before “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. Mandel adds some cool piano filler in the track.
The encores are typically excellent and Brian can be heard playing the opening riff to “Wild Thing” before “We Will Rock You”. “Thank you and goodnight! Goodnight you motherfuckers! You’re beautiful people, thank you” are Freddie’s final words in New York as “God Save The Queen” is played. A fitting end to a crazy New York night.
While never at a loss for bonus material, Godfather also includes the 12” versions of “Staying Power” and “Back Chat” to fill out the final disc of the box. They are both extended versions that are very interesting mixes to say the least.
Love For An Hour Is Love Forever may have been a risky production for Godfather where Hot Space isn’t exactly a highly sought after period in the band’s catalog but I must add that the label absolutely nailed it making this one of the nicest Queen sets I’ve ever seen. The three very good sounding shows together with important bonus tracks cover most of the live performances of the Hot Space tracks. Once again, definitely an exciting release for any Queen collector.
An important thank you to queenlive.ca for its source of invaluable info in constructing this review. A site every Queen fan should visit regularly.