Queen intro songs

Audio samples of intros on Queen tours

This is just a draft of a new section (2020). I will be updating it from time to time to make it more and more accurate and make sure it covers all the combinations :-)
I'm not a native English speaker so I've used some descriptions and phrases from the highly informative QueenLive.ca website.

1973-1974 - Early days

We don't know the setlists of the very early gigs (1970-1973 before the release of the first album) but once Queen set on their first tour a taped version of Procession was always the intro song - followed by a powerful version of Father To Son (even before the second album came out).

01. Procession - 00:00
02. Father To Son - 01:07

1974-1975 - Sheer Heart Attack tour

The Procession intro has stayed but Father To Son was replaced by a song from the new album - Now I'm Here. Freddie would be seen singing the line "Now I'm here" on one side of the stage amidst the darkness and dry ice, and a few bars later, at "Now I'm there," he would "appear" on the other side of the stage (a member of the crew would be dressed in an identical Zandra Rhodes outfit to the one worn by Freddie), giving a very dramatic effect.

01. Procession - 00:00
02. Now I'm Here - 00:30

1975-1976 - A Night At The Opera tour

The tape begins with the sounds of an orchestra tuning their instruments, and what sounds like the conductor [actually Kenny himself] tapping his baton on his music stand and announcing, "Ladies and gentleman, A Night At The Opera." Then the fade-in from the beginning of Ogre Battle is heard. Just before the listener expects the screams from Roger as on the record version, suddenly it kicks into the opera section from Bohemian Rhapsody (the only part actually performed live at each show is "I see a little silhouetto of a man"). The anticipation grows, as anyone who has heard the song knows that the band will appear shortly to perform the rock section of the song. Queen then burst onto stage, performing that section of the song as such, and then they jump immediately into Ogre Battle instead of concluding the song, which would happen in a medley later in the show.

01. Bohemian Rhapsody [middle part] - 01:01
02. Bohemian Rhapsody [rock finale] - 01:57
03. Ogre Battle - 02:57

1976 - Hyde Park

The first half of the A Day At The Races overture is aired publicly for the first time (the upcoming album had been partially recorded by this point). The usual Bohemian Rhapsody opening sequence then commences for the last time.

01. A Day At The Races [intro] - 00:00
02. Bohemian Rhapsody [middle part] - 00:53
03. Bohemian Rhapsody [rock finale] - 01:50
04. Ogre Battle - 02:51

1977 - A Day At The Races tour

After the lights go dim, a tape of the A Day At The Races overture is played. As the "Shepard tone" section of the overture plays (or the "audio equivalent of M.C. Escher's famous never-ending staircase picture" as Brian later called it), the band would get nervous, as Brian would later recall, as the growing intensity of the music signaled that the beginning of the show was imminent. In the dark, the curly-haired guitarist would play the Tie Your Mother Down riff as heard on the album. After 4 bars, the drums and bass make their big entry, as does the lighting.

01. A Day At The Races [intro] - 00:00
02. Tie Your Mother Down - 00:55

1977 - Earls Court

Procession is heard (revived only for the Earls Court shows, and never to be used again), and then the A Day At The Races overture rings through the speakers. Part way through, the crown slowly begins to rise, and out comes the dry ice (the first picture above was taken during this moment). Queen then burst onto the stage to perform Tie Your Mother Down, and the show goes on as usual.

01. Procession - 00:00
02. A Day At The Races [intro] - 00:37
03. Tie Your Mother Down - 01:08

1977-1978 - News Of The World tour

On this tour the show would begin with a tape of the stomp-stomp-clap of the studio version of We Will Rock You being played. A spotlight would appear on Freddie on one side of the stage where he would sing only the first verse and a chorus (with vocals from the record also being heard), after which another spotlight would be on Brian for the climatic guitar solo. They would then leave the stage amidst dry ice to perform a faster, more straight-ahead rock version of the song. This fast version of the song would prove to be a very effective concert opener, and would be played at most shows from now through the end of 1982

01. We Will Rock You [slow] - 00:00
02. We Will Rock You [fast] - 02:09

1978 - Jazz tour & 1979 - Live Killers tour

After the house lights go down, the show now opens with thunder being heard (as recorded by Brian May, and heard at the end of "Dead On Time" from the Jazz album), and Brian walking on stage first to play the opening chords of the fast version of We Will Rock You.

01. Thunderbolts & Lightning [short version] - 00:00
02. We Will Rock You [fast] - 00:35

1979 - Crazy tou r&1980 - The Game tour & 1981 - Japan and some South American dates

The 'Thunderbolts & Lightning' intro (an unofficial title) is now longer and - for me personally - this was possibly the most breathtaking intro (it can be seen on the official We Will Rock You / Queen Rock Montreal video).

01. Thunderbolts & Lightning [long version] - 00:40
02. Jailhouse Rock - 02:19

1979 - Crazy tour (alternative intro)

01. Thunderbolts & Lightning [long version] - 00:00
02. Let Me Entertain You - 01:20

1979 - Crazy tour (alternative intro) & 1981 - South America and Canada

01. Thunderbolts & Lightning [long version] - 00:00
02. We Will Rock You [fast] - 01:09

For me this was (visually) one of the best intros I've ever seen so here is the famous video from Montreal 1981:


1982 - Hot Space tour - Europe & some Japanese gigs

A tape of Flash is heard and the venue is dark with only rotating spotlights. Then the lights focus on Brian, Roger, and John as they begin playing at the part of the song just before it breaks down at "Just a man with a man's courage", but instead the energy rises as they play the part with intensity. They then seamlessly jump into (a quicker and more energetic than before version of) The Hero as Freddie makes his arrival on stage. A great example of this very effective opening to the show can be seen on the officially-released Live At The Bowl DVD.

01. Flash's Theme - 00:00
02. The Hero - 01:54

1982 - Hot Space tour - North America & some Japanese gigs

Rock It isn't played in its entirety - it fluently switched to a short part of the fast version of We Will Rock You.

01. Flash's Theme - 00:00
02. Rock It (Prime Jive) - 01:45

1984 - The Works tour

After the heavy G chords are heard on the tape twice, the band walk on stage in the darkness to play the chords the third time, which leads into the brand new "Tear It Up".

Machines - 00:00
Tear It Up - 01:35

1986 - Magic tour

The band now open the show with One Vision. The first minute of the studio version blasts through the speakers, with a couple bars towards the end repeating - which heightens the anticipation and has maximum impact on those in the audience who know the song well, even before the band play a note (a tactic they used many times throughout their career). Brian May then walks on stage to play the ever-familiar guitar riff, and the show begins. The band do a series of fanfares at the end of the song, including a small bit of Starfleet, the title track from Brian's 1983 solo project.

One Vision [intro] - 00:00
One Vision - 01:14