Queen kicked off the 80’s with brand new equipment and an extensive tour which included several new destinations in both North and South America. It was also their first tour with synthesiser (Brian played it on Flahs's Theme, then Freddie on Vultan's Theme). The famous Queen Rock Montreal concerts are included here as they played Game-era set-list and equipment, with only one addition (the bass on Under Pressure).
The band's equipment for the Canadian/American leg in summer 1980 was listed in detail in an issue of the Fan Club magazine. For that reason, this is by far the most complete and accurate info on a tour we've been able to compile. Roger had a new drum set, nicknamed Silver Glitter. From this tour and up to 1985, John would use different basses for some songs on the concert (in the 1970s it was only for '39 and My Melancholy Blues, neither of which was played with bass in this decade).
When Queen finished their North American leg on 30th September 1980, it was a unique occurrence as Brian had to play four different guitars on Crazy Little Thing Called Love: he started the song on Ovation, changed to Fender Telecaster for the solo, then to the one he made with his father but he broke a string so his roadie quickly handed him the Birch and that's what we finished with.
Drum kit [sans snare and cymbals]
Snare drums [used alternatively]
Timpani [Roger's Solo]
Gong [hit once at the end of Bohemian Rhapsody]
Electric bass guitars
Electric six-string guitars
Acoustic guitars [Love of My Life, Crazy Little Thing]
Acoustic guitar rig
What about the recording sessions?
It is unknown and a bit unlikely that John used the Kramer for the record (in fact, maybe he didn't even have it yet). On The Game album, most acoustic guitars were Martin D-18 instead of Ovation and piano was Yamaha C-7B (the one in the studios). For both that album and Flash Gordon John also played rhythm guitar, using different Fender Telecaster's and Stratocaster's but not the same one as he would play on stage for Staying Power in 1982-1984, as it hadn't been made yet (it's a 1981 model). Roger's robotic voice on A Human Body was achieved through another synth: Roland VP-330, the effect is known as vocoder and back then was as trendy as autotune is now (although they're not the same thing).
A bit of trivia: the orchestra leader on the Flash Gordon soundtrack was Sidney Sax, the same who played on several legendary Beatles masterpieces: he was second violin on Yesterday and Eleanor Rigby, part of the string section on A Day in the Life and leader on All You Need Is Love and I Am the Walrus. A nice connexion for those who like both bands.