We got a coach from my home town (about 2 hours from memory) and drank an ocean of lager on the way, by the time we got there we needed the toilet so badly we could have exploded!
We got into the stadium and waited for the first band of the day. Soon enough a not very well known (to me) American band came on called Heart. They weren't bad but did nothing for me. Then came The Teardrop Explodes who tried and who I reckoned did quite well despite the flying bottles of liquid being hurled at them from the crowd. After them was Joan Jett complete with Blackhearts who got the crowd going with "I Love Rock'n'Roll" mainly because Brian appeared at the side of the stage with his daughter to have a look.
Eventually after a long wait the stage lights dimmed and a strange cranking sound started up and then you were suddenly aware of the drum beat to Flash thumping out and spotlights chasing around the stadium. This went on for a minute or so and the excitement was unbearable. All of a sudden in an explosion of smoke, lights, guitars, drums... Brian, John and Roger are there blasting out the opening part of The Hero. Seconds later in a gleaming white leather jacket out runs Freddie and it begins... A moment I will never forget along with many others from Queen shows since and before it. I can't say which show was my favourite as I loved them all but that moment WAS Queen, the sheer power, the anticipation, the fantastic musical ability and above all else the way they gave people what they crave more than anything... wonderful memories.
29th May 1982 - a really nice warm day. We only lived a few miles away so walked down to Elland Road - I can't believe it - Queen live in my home town at the home of the greatest football team in the country (well maybe not now!). Got to the ground early and were allowed in by security, such a relaxed atmosphere. Saw band's soundcheck - great! So hot sun, never went behind stadium roofs. Got best suntan I have ever had! Heard Teardrop Explodes - not bad. Then you are aware of the beat of flash thumping out around the stadium, the smoke rises and bang - they are on! The greatest gig I have ever seen from the greatest live band in history. God bless you, Brian, Roger and John. Rest in peace, Freddie - we will never forget.
This was my second ever gig, the first being Rory Gallagher the year before (I am sure I once read that Rory was one of Brian May's favourite guitarists). Anyway, being only 14 and not yet in the habit of getting off my face at gigs,I can remember that day very clearly. I am convinced I saw someone throw a hamburger at Julian Cope (Teardrop Explodes were going down like a lead balloon), and just as Julian was opening his gob to sing, he CAUGHT IT IN HIS MOUTH. A huge cheer went up, then they stomped off. Somebody, possibly Queen's manager, came on and told everbody to behave. I also remember a fan getting on stage and Freddie expertly rolling him off the stage. I didnt like the Hot Space album much but was chuffed they were still a hard rock band. I bought the next edition of Kerrang mag and the write up of the gig said STUNNING. Great memory.
I was 15 years old in 1982 when I attended my first ever concert. Fortunately for me, it was QUEEN's show at Leeds AFC ground in the North of England.
I remember when my ticket arrived in the post, possibly 2-3 months before the concert, as was often the case in those days. I stuck my ticket on a cork notice board in my bedroom and could barely contain my excitement over the coming weeks. Every morning, I would wake up and look at the yellow ticket, wishing the days away. I imagined everything that could go wrong would. Queen would cancel the gig, I would break my leg, the family pet would die on the morning of the concert and it would be too insensitive of me to go, the transport wouldn't turn up or would break down, there would be a pile up on the motorway, I'd lose my ticket en route, etc, etc.
As it turned out, May 29th 1982 was a hot and sunny day, perfect weather for an outdoor gig. I was CRAZY about Queen and had been since the age of 9 but I really didn't know what to expect on that day. Myself and three friends took a coach organised by my Dad's company from Lancashire across the M62 motorway to Leeds. Our excitement began to really take a hold when we arrived at the football ground and we followed the droves of people towards the turnstiles. To me, this was something on a really big scale and I could already hear the hum of the crowd inside. Not really believing that we were actually about to witness a Queen concert, we found our seats on the West Stand, offering a great view of the stage. I remember marvelling at Queen's new lighting rig and the equipment that adorned the stage, shining in the afternoon sunshine. The ground was almost full at this point and the pitch was heaving with people. The atmosphere was relaxed as people bathed in the sunshine. I remember two guys climbing the fence from the stand and attempting to get a better spot by running into the crowd and losing themselves on the pitch. Their efforts were in vain however as they were quickly located and ejected back into the stand by two security guards.
We bought some black Hot Space tour shirts (I wore mine with pride until it literally fell apart) and a programme from a vendor inside the ground and waited for the first band to take the stage. A guy near us shouted and punched his way through Heart's set and then left just as they vacated the stage. Obviously not a Queen fan! The Teardrop Explodes suffered at the hands of the Queen congregation and found themselves battling against a shower of bottles and assorted missiles. Other than that, I don't really remember much about the support bands. I think that Bow Wow Wow were billed to play (an odd choice) but I can't recall if they actually turned up. No matter, we were about to witness what is still one of the best gigs I have ever attended.
As the dusk descended upon us, the giant floodlights were extinguished one by one and the memory of the roar that followed still sends shivers down my spine. Dry ice drifted across the heads of the crowd on the pitch as the intro tape of Flash thumped out of the PA and the strange 'grating' noises added to the recording created a foreboding atmosphere. Two of our party were on the pitch and to this day remember their chests thumping in unison to the powerful rhythm. A sea of hands clapped in perfect time to the beat. To me, this was already an amazing experience. And then the big moment. Freddie, resplendent in dazzling white made his entrance to The Hero and the blaze of the lights. An apt number to start with. Before he had even sung a note, the audience were locked tightly in the palm of his hand. Such an entrance, such a showman. "You're a F***in amazing crowd", he exclaimed after the first rush. The beginning of the gig is, in truth, my strongest memory of the show itself. In particular, the "Flash!!!" vocals cutting through the night air with so much volume. I recall being shocked at the sheer power of Queen's performance and the clarity of the huge sound they harnessed. Morgan Fisher's keyboards during 'Action This Day' sounded bright and hypnotic. Freddie's intro to Fat Bottomed Girls caused quite a response too; "the bigger the t*t the better it is!". I also remember the follow spots darting wildly over the crowd during 'Tie Your Mother Down' and everybody going crazy. Oddly enough (and this is something I still swear by to this day), I was in a Maths lesson at school the following Monday and I swear I had a flashback of this and could actually 'hear' the music being re-played in my head. It was a weird moment and life was never quite the same again. We talked endlessly about our experience for months to come and one of my biggest regrets is not jumping on a train to attend the filmed Milton Keynes show a week later.
Having been to so many gigs since, I can honestly say that there is nobody who has been able to top Queen live; I was lucky enough to see the band five times between 1982 and 1986, including Wembley Stadium and their last show at Knebworth. I think that my personal favourite was their performance at the NEC in Birmingham on 'The Works' tour in 1984. People were literally stood there with open mouths, unable to believe how good they were. Leeds is definitely up there too. I recall Brian May stating that he thought it was one of their best performances ever. I can't argue with that Mr May.
I've often wondered if an audience shot cine film or even just photographs exist from the Leeds gig. It would be a dream come true to see my memories come to life again.
I can't believe it was 30 years ago that I attended my first ever gig at Elland Rd Leeds in 1982. I was 17 years old at the time, I was into Queen when I first heard seven seas of rhye, which was so different to all the other stuff around at the time. I'd heard them live on tv, and had Live Killers. Also I used to buy bootleg cassettes of all of their tours from 74 onwards. But nothing could prepare me for that day.
They should have played this gig at Old Trafford Manchester, my home town, so I was gutted when the residents opposed it. Tickets were very easy to come by, believe it or not, cos Queen were not seen as a relevant band at that time. Also touring the Hot Space album didn't seem to excite anybody. So, Billy no mates had to go on his own, haha.
My memory is a bit hazy, but I will try my best. I got to the ground about 1pm, and was lucky enough to have a pitch ticket. I got right to the front, well about 10 yards from the stage, slightly off centre and to the right. If I told you I never moved from that spot all day and never spoke to anyone, would you believe me? One of the reasons for this is the rivalry between Manchester and Leeds, also I was only a kid, haha. Not sure who was first on, probably Teardrop Explodes, Julian Cope, I remember while they were throwing bottles at him, picked one up and started hitting himself with it and stretching his arms out saying he was an Argentinian bomber or something. It was during the Falklands war, remember. Then Heart came on, not really my cup of tea, and I had a lie down on the tarpaulin and tried to go to sleep. Then Joan Jett, who was better than the rest, but not really exciting.
During the band changes, I remember the roadies polishing Roger's drum kit and climbing up ropes and those threepronged lights, which before I saw them move I thought they were cameras.
Queen took ages to come on. From my recollection and I might be wrong, they didn't come on until 10pm and went off around Midnight. I heard later that they got fined so much per minute for being late on stage but they wanted to wait until it was dark for the lighting rig to take effect. If you watch the Bowl DVD you will notice it was light when they came on stage there. But that was being filmed by Channel 4. But it was absolutely pitch black when they came on stage at Leeds.
Then the floodlights went off, smoke started to appear and strange noises started, which I can't describe, sorry. Then Flash's Theme started, it was loud, very, very loud. I knew they were supposed to be loud and this was the part that scared me. The ground was thumping, the bass just pumping away. The these 'cameras' flicked into life, with men on them. The intro seemed to last for a very long time. Then BANG Brian appears with the first chord of The Hero and a flash of the biggest white light I've ever seen and will never forget and the absolute loudest noise I have ever heard just hit me. The intro was quite in comparrision to this. When I play Live at the Bowl, I tend to repeat the intro and The Hero, virtually every time, because it was definitely a life changing experience for me at that moment, just incredible. Then Freddie appeared in brilliant white again, I was that close, I swear His hair seemed blue because of the mass of white lights. His voice, so loud, so clear, honestly, I can't describe that moment properly. I heard Freddie swear, saw Roger spitting, quite a lot, over his drum kit and onto the stage, I was bewildered.
When they did Play The Game and also Somebody To Love, when Freddie was doing the intros for them and it will sound strange to those that weren't there, but I didn't know what the songs were. I thought they was new unreleased songs. The reason was they was so loud, It kind of deafened you and then kind of sunk in what they were about to play. Then the rest of the gig flew by and I was singing my head off. Everyone was, but you could only hear Queen.
Again my memory may be wrong, but I read afterwards that Queen had paid for residents to move out of their homes for the day. These houses were monitored and they said that the sound was like Concorde flying 10 feet over your head... Yep I will buy that.
For all that and for all the bad things said about it, The Works tour, which I went to all the 4 origional England gigs they had planned, was the best tour they ever did. The set list was fantastic and the lighting rig was incredible. Not as loud, I also add. I also saw them in Manchester, 86. They had to be off stage by 10pm and noise levels had to be adhered to. I was too far awy to see them and the screens didn't come on because it was too light. Also I couldn't here them properly. I've watched the mMagic Tour gigs on DVD etc, but for me, that was the poorest tour they ever did.
So that's it, hopefully some of you can confirm my bad memory, or say I'm wrong. Hopefully not bored you all. But it was the greatest musical experience I ever witnessed and I am proud I was there.