I've loved this song since the first time I heard it. A long time ago, I surveyed the internet to find the best live versions of each song Queen did live. Someone (I think Gregsynth) did a discussion like this with Another One Bites the Dust, and I thought I could make another. These are the ones I picked in chronological order, and of course, feel free to tell me what versions I'm missing out on (besides the studio version which is tops.) Also, I won't comment on Brian because he always nails his parts in the song.
Detroit 11/18/1977: Freddie's voice is very fresh here because it is early in the tour. He cleanly hits the upper notes. One thing that personally drives me crazy is Roger's obnoxious crash hitting. That's the only thing that gets on my nerves about this version. I think this is Freddie's best version. John's good too.
Philadelphia 11/23/1977: Freddie all the same notes as Detroit. Despite the quality difference, I can assume his voice is not as clean as Detroit, but he sings it beautifully nonetheless. Roger's crash hitting has gone down, but of course that might be from the quality of the recording. I think this is the the best version for the band as a whole.
Houston 12/11/1977: Of course, Houston has amazing quality. Freddie is still getting the notes. The higher sustained notes are starting to show more wear and tear, but nothing major. Freddie has minor mis-hits on the piano, but Roger and John are perfectly in the pocket. I think this is a great version for an average Queen listener, but nothing too special about it besides quality.
Copenhagen 4/13/1978: This is an interesting one. Because Queen already played this song for the Winter '77 Tour, I guess Freddie wanted to change it up a little. This version has quite interesting reinterpretations from Freddie. Just the intro alone has a piano change, lyric change, and melody change. Overall, it's a different take on the song, and it's nice.
Let me know your thoughts on your favorite version, and let me know if I should do this for other songs! I know some people have been complaining about the lack of intriguing topics, so I thought I might contribute.
Best: Detroit 11/18/1977 /Philadelphia 11/23/1977 (can't decide which one is better)
Worst: New York 12/1/1977 / 4/26/1978 Dortmund
1977 versions are more cleaner/ fresh
1978 leg has stronger Freddie's voice
I don't like when Freddie cut word SOON on all exist live version of this song (stormy weather SOOOOOOOON). This part live really irritate me. The speak-singing part ruins the melody.
I'd go with the Detroit 1977 version due to the fact that Freddie uses a lot more vocal dynamics when compared with most of the later versions. He uses a lot more soft tone (like the record version) and does a bit of falsetto as well!
There's some really great versions after Detroit: Philadelphia is also excellent overall and Houston also has a great interpretation.
Great versions from 1978 are also:
-Stockholm (very similar to Copenhagen)
-London 1st night (probably the most strongest Freddie's voice)
All version of this song are pretty solid because Freddie's voice is in very good shape from start to the end of the News of The World tour. That's why this is one of my favourite tour!