The basic equipment details were probably the same as on 1980/1981, with the obvious additions and slight variations. For this tour, there was a supporting keyboard player (Morgan Fisher in Europe and Fred Mandel elsewhere), which together with the new songs added resulted on three different people playing guitar on each concert (Brian, John and Freddie) as well as three different people playing piano (Freddie, Brian and either Morgan or Fred), a unique occurrence in Queen history. Roger also got a new kit - in chrome finish.

For the North American leg, a Gibson Flying V was added as second spare guitar, which was a wise choice as on 9th August 1982 Brian had a rough night and was uncharacteristically upset and aggressive: after breaking a string on the Red Special, he started playing the Brighton Rock solo with the Birch replica, but got so frustrated with it that he threw it away, and it was smashed in two pieces; from then on, the Flying V would be his spare until the end of the tour.

Two Hot Space songs, Staying Power and Body Language, had the bass line played by Morgan or Fred (Mandel) on synthesiser. For the latter, John joined on second bass doing some reinforcement, and for the former, he played guitar alongside Brian. Brian played piano on Save Me and (Japan only) Teo Torriatte, but after this tour he'd never play acoustic piano on stage again (as of 2012, that is).

Percussion

Roger's Ludwig kig
Roger's gong
Drum kit [sans snare and cymbals]
  • Ludwig 26" x 16" bass-drum.
  • Ludwig Speed-King pedal.
  • Ludwig 10" x 8", 13" x 12" and 14" x 14" rack toms.
  • Ludwig 16" x 16" and 18" x 16" floor toms.
  • Ludwig Cowbell.
  • New Era Cowbell.
  • Premier C drum sticks.
  • Remo 14"and 16" rototoms.
  • Simmons SDS-V e-drum pads.
  • Bass-drum logo: Hot Space background.
Snare drums [used alternatively]
  • Ludwig 14" x 6".
  • Ludwig 14" x 7".
  • Ludwig 14" x 7.5".
  • Premier [unknown size].
  • Slingerland 14" x 5.5".
  • Tama stands.
Cymbal stock
  • Paiste 8" splash.
  • Paiste 15" hi-hats.
  • Paiste 16", 18"and 20"crashes.
  • Paiste 20" and 24" china.
  • Wuhan 20" china.
  • Zildjian 14" hi-hats.
  • Zildjian 16", 17" and 18" crashes.
  • Zildjian 20" china.
  • Zildjian 22" ride.
  • Zildjian 22" swish
  • (each night Roger's roadie chose, from the items above, a pair of hi-hats, one ride, one china, one splash, one swish and four or five crashes.
Timpani [Roger's Solo]
  • Ludwig Ringer 28"
  • Ludwig Ringer 30"
Gong [hit once at the end of Bohemian Rhapsody]
  • Paiste 60" symphonic.
  • Bespoke beaters.
  • Paiste stands.
Tambourines
  • New Era.
Roger's mics
  • snare: AKG c451e with "a51" in white
  • hi-hat: AKG c451e with "a51" in white
  • bassdrum: Beyerdynamic M500N
  • snare (site mic): Shure SM81
  • overhead: AKG c451e in white
  • toms: Sennheiser MD421-II
  • (rototoms: Shure SM57 LC)
  • vocals: AKG C535EB (in white - probably made specially for him)

Bass guitars

John's Fender Precision '68
John's Fender Precision Special
John's Fender Precision '68
Electric bass guitars
  • Fender Precision 1968 [main]
  • Fender Precision 1981 [Under Pressure, Body Language] - Body Language was performed in an unusual way: the main bass line was played on synthesiser by Fred Mandel, but John also had his bass and joined in at some points. It should have been the other way around but ... the eighties...
  • Music Man Stingray [Bites the Dust, Back Chat]
  • Kramer DMZ [spare]
Bass rig
  • Alembic F-2B pre-amplifier.
  • dbx 160 compressor-limiter.
  • Cornish power supply.
  • Cornish switching panel.
  • Klark Teknik graphic equaliser.
  • Martin Heavy plectra.
  • Peavey speaker cabinets.
  • Peterson strobe tuners.
  • Rotosound bass strings.
  • Sunn 215-BH cabinet.
  • Sunn 412-L cabinet.

Guitars

Brian's Red Special
Brian's Ovation
Freddie's Ovation
Brian's Telecaster
Brian's Gibson Flying V
John's Telecaster
Main electric six-string guitars
  • BHM bespoke [main]
  • Fender Telecaster 1978 [Crazy Little Thing]
  • Fender Telecaster 1981 [Staying Power] - played by John Deacon. A Black-Gold model, CE 10484
Spare electric guitars
  • Birch bespoke [until 09.08.1982]
  • Gibson Flying V [Canada/USA/Japan]
Guitar rig
  • Ampeg V-4 cabinet.
  • Ampeg SVT cabinet.
  • Boss CE-1 pedal [chorus].
  • Cornish treble booster.
  • fOXX pedal [phaser]
  • JBL bass bin.
  • 2 x Maestro tape delay.
  • Peterson strobe tuners.
  • Pignose amplifiers [tuning].
  • 12 x Vox AC30 amplifiers.
  • Vox pedals [phase]
Acoustic guitars [Love of My Life, Crazy Little Thing, Life Is Real]
  • 3 x Ovation Pacemaker 1615 twelve-string
Acoustic guitar rig
  • Heathkit Turner A-300 amplifier [Freddie].
  • Music Man 210-65 amplifier. [Brian].
  • Peterson strobe tuners.

Piano and synthesizers

Steinway piano
Roland synthesizer
Piano
  • Steinway 1972 D concert grand 8 ft 11.75 in.
Piano rig
  • Clair Brothers crossovers.
  • Clair Brothers monitors.
  • Clair Brothers piano mixer.
  • Clair Brothers power supply.
  • Cornish DI boxes.
  • Cornish piano mixer.
  • Helpinstill pick-ups.
  • Klark Teknik band equalisers.
Synthesisers
  • Oberheim OB-Xa.
  • Roland Jupiter 8.
Electric grand piano
  • Yamaha CP-80

What about the recording sessions?

Hot Space was an unusual album for the band as a lot of the rhythm section in the first side was created by machines (which explains why the live versions sound so much better - they've got real drums!). Equipment used included Linn LM-1 computers for the drums (programmed by the author of the song) and Roland Jupiter 8 for the bass. A lot of people blame John Deacon for Hot Space even though he was the least involved band member on it: on Dancer, Staying Power and the lead single Body Language his bass is replaced by the creator of the song on synth. John publicly expressed his disdain for the album, even calling it the worst moment of the band's career (Popcorn magazine, 1986) - the fact he liked R&B and soul doesn't mean he'd like anything in that genre; if anything, his expertise on the area may have made him harder to please if he felt the result wasn't up to standard.

Other equipment used exclusively on the record included a Hohner clavinet for Cool Cat (where John most likely played the Music Man bass), a Baldwin Double-Six guitar on Under Pressure and a Schecter guitar on Calling All Girls (played by Roger instead of Brian). The sax solo on Action This Day was played by Italian session musician Dino Solera, who was based in Munich and had participated in many recordings at Musicland Studios, sometimes uncredited (as it happened here).