This was the first time for me, I had managed to buy from somewhere a copy of the tour programme from the "Crazy Tour" the year before and was determined the next time they played in the U.K I would be there! (never really thinking it would happen).
Sometime in 1980 I saw an advert in the Melody Maker music paper selling tickets for "Queen-Birmingham N.E.C" and I thought what the hell and sent off my £5.50. A while later (a month or two at least) it arrived! A small yellow ticket to heaven...
I managed to persuade my dad to give me and a friend a lift to the N.E.C which was a couple of hours from where I lived. I remember forming an orderly queue or queues outside along with thousands of other eager fans. When we got to the front, the steward told us we couldn't wear our Queen badges because they could be used to injure other people (!) and confiscated them! When we got to the stalls selling programmes/t-shirts etc. they were also selling bloddy badges! The word gutted sprang to mind.
Anyway, after what seemed forever the support band (Straight Eight) came on. I can't remember much about them apart from the fact that their drummer had his kit set up in front of Roger's which made theirs look like a kids toy.
At about 8'oclock the house light dimmed and a strange noise began to get louder and louder from the stage direction, the crowd were up on their feet screaming much to the stewards dislike but sod them, then in one split second the whole arena seemed to explode with smoke, lights and an ear bursting noise. All of a sudden all those posters on my bedroom wall and "Live Killers" made sense, I was really watching Queen!!!
I think from memory they opened with the fast version of "We Will Rock You" (and not Jailhouse Rock but I could be wrong) and the whole building seemed to be rocking. By now I was beyond help and was jumping and singing like a mad man! Great versions of Let Me Entertain you, Play The Game and a medley not too different to that one "Live Killers" followed. Freddie was in great form taking the mickey out of the audience and the band in a way only he could.
A wonderful version of Save Me was a highlight as it was a firm favorite at the time and the crowd seemed to take over. Strangest sight of the night went to Freddie with a guitar! I never really thought he played it live and only did it for "show" but he did and it sounded great!
Now I could be wrong but I don't think the Flash Gordon sountrack album had been released at the time of this show or if it had I didn't have it so when half way through the show they played The Battle Theme and The Hero I looked around at other people who looked just as confused as me! I remember thinking they must be a couple of old songs that the band liked and decided to play live!
Love Of My Life was one of those moments I will never forget - being part of the crowd just like on "Live Killers"... wonderful. After Bo-Rhap a blistering Tie Your Mother Down and Sheer Heart Attack, the sound of Roger beating out the slow We Will Rock came booming out across the arena and you knew it was nearing the end. We Are The Champions followed with everyone singing and swaying in time. Freddie said his goodnights to the sound of God Save The Queen and it was over, the crowd screaming and stomping hoping for ONE more encore but it wasn't to be.
We made our way to the exit and I turned to my friend who was grinning like an idiot from ear to ear and trying to say something to me but I was completly deaf for a while after the sheer power of the last 2 hours. This was as I said my first Queen show but luckily not my last but some of the memories of this one are just as strong as Knebworth or Wembley in '86.
I was very very fortunate to have wittnessed the GREATEST band in the world live and as they say - "Fairytales of yesterday will grow but never die" - only these memories are not fairytales but a reality that will stay with me forever!