Queen live at the Capital Centre, Landover, MD, USA [29.11.1977]
none or unknown
doesn't exist - if you have any footage, please contact me
Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano, tambourine),
Brian May (electric guitar, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo),
Roger Taylor (drums, lead vocals, backing vocals, tambourine),
John Deacon (bass guitar, triangle)
ticket stub (from my own collection)
concert program (from my own collection)
Written by Donna13
I had just turned 16 a few weeks earlier. I was absolutely 100% in love with Queen (since age 13 when first hearing Killer Queen on the radio) and therefore could hardly believe my sister's friend, who worked with her at the Roy Rogers restaurant at the mall, who said she knew Freddie Mercury's girlfriend, Mary, and that she was going to get a backstage pass and would try to get one for us as well. Well, just before the concert she met my sister at a pre-arranged point (inside the venue) and said that she was unable to get us the backstage passes. You can imagine my disappointment and my thinking at this point that this girl was not telling the truth about knowing Freddie's girlfriend (it seemed too good to be true to me to begin with). Then after the concert, which was great of course, we were depressed (my sister and I - but especially me) at not getting to meet them, so we decided to wait for their limo to come out of the underground parking area at the Capital Centre. When it emerged we got so excited we decided to sprint to our big blue station wagon and follow them. With my learner's permit only, I followed them at probably over 80 miles per hour - I remember it being the fastest I had ever driven but I was determined not to lose them - to a restaurant somewhere in DC. At that age, I didn't have my bearings around the city. We didn't want to freak them out so I think we just watched them go inside from our car. Then we ended up waiting outside in the cold air for I think around 2 hours - anyway - enough to turn my nose red and make my lips and toes numb. We weren't allowed in the restaurant - and there was a bouncer from Liverpool out front that prevented us from even going in the lobby to warm up. At one point Roger came down the stairs into the lobby and I smiled at him and he smiled back and started over to the door - but was stopped by another man who grabbed his arm. So then he just continued downstairs to the bathroom, and ignored us when he went back up the stairs. When they finally emerged from the restaurant, I was frozen in more ways than just the temp. Brian said, "It's a bit cold out here". One of them (I don't know who because I think I was in shock) said, "So, were you at the concert?" And we said yes. My friend who was hardly a Queen fan grabbed the attention for herself by shouting "That was the best concert I've ever seen!" or some such thing. I was so embarrassed not being able to think of anything to say in my stunned condition. Freddie looked at me briefly then looked over at my sister. He nodded at my sister but he never stopped walking to the limo. Brian walked over to me and said something like, "Did you enjoy the concert?" and I think I mumbled something like, "Yes. It was fantastic." Then all I could think to say was "Can I have your autograph?" He said "Sure" and ended up giving me the autograph and his pen. So I had to tap him on the arm to get his attention to give him his pen back. "Here's your pen." Can you imagine - here I am meeting my idols and all I can say is this? This all happened within about 20 or 30 seconds it seemed, and they all got into the limo quickly - they seemed pretty tired. I can't remember if they had one or two limos. All four of the members were there and I think a couple of other men - probably manager and driver(s). Freddie didn't say anything, just acknowledged us without a smile and got into the limo. John did the same. I remember thinking Brian was pretty tall. I stood very close to him. I am almost 5 foot 9 and he towered above me it seemed. Of course the hair probably added several inches! The best part of the story I guess is that my sister's friend, the one who knew Mary, said that when the band got back to the hotel they said there were some "nice working girls" waiting outside the restaurant. I guess they thought we were older - we were only 16 and 17 and still in high school of course. We were dressed very conservatively and with long coats. My sister's co-worker said that she was good friends with Mary, because their families had been neighbors, and so was happy to get to visit with her. Also she said she thought that Freddie was the nicest member of the group, but very shy.
Written by Tracy Chevalier
In a new book, writers recall the best gigs they have seen. Here the novelist Tracy Chevalier describes her memorable night with Queen.
Thank God for Freddie, though. Without him, no one would have moved on stage: Brian May was not a dancer, John Deacon, in time-honoured bassist tradition, stood solidly in one place throughout, and Roger Taylor was trapped by his drum kit.
I was taken aback by the sound of Queen's music live: not just the volume, but the familiarity and also the strange rawness of the songs. Studio albums have all the mistakes airbrushed out, the layers added in, the balance between players carefully calibrated, like clever dialogue in a play without the awkward pauses and unfinished conversations you get in real life. Queen albums were highly produced, multi-layered affairs. Live, the music was necessarily stripped of a lot of the choral mixing, more raucous, simpler and much messier.
The band wisely didn't dare attempt to reproduce in its entirety the long, baroque confection that is Bohemian Rhapsody. For the infamous operatic middle section, the band members left the stage as the studio recording played. Freddie and Brian then changed costume, and, at the word "Beelzebub", all four men popped out of a door in the stage floor and joined live again for the heavy metal section, fireworks going off, dry ice pouring out, everyone going berserk, me in tears of excitement. It was one of the best live moments I've ever witnessed. Indeed, I was spoiled by seeing Queen play live before anyone else; for sheer exuberant theatricality, no one else has come close.
The concert ended with an instrumental version of God Save the Queen and once more the flicking of the Bics, which, no longer the virgin concertgoer, I understood now as a gesture of tribute. My friends and I weren't finished, though. Emboldened by Freddie's toast, we decided to go to the stage entrance again and say hello. I still choke with embarrassment when I think of it. When we got there, a black limousine was pulling away, our heroes and their entourage inside, and we were left with the detritus: older, dolled-up, hard-bitten groupies who had followed the band around and not made this night's cut. I stared at one, at her long, bleach-blond hair, her miniskirt, her bright red lipstick. She glared at me briefly; then her face went slack as she dismissed the idea of me being any sort of competition. In fact, I had not really taken in that there was a competition, that the girls (and I?) were here to spread our wares and catch the attention of one of the men, and then . . . And then? I hadn't thought it through at all. I wouldn't have known what to do with such a man as Brian May if he even so much as looked at me. All I knew was that I was way, way out of my depth, that even if I had eluded the roadie minding the door, there was no way I was ever going to get past a woman like this.