Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

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Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby Nicki79 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:25 pm

I found a this Interview in another internet-forum. Brian explains, why they dropped "Spread your wings" and "It's late". Since that question has often been discussed, I decided to bring it over.


THE SHOWS MUST GO ON
(Incomplete) Interview with Brian May from: January 2018 issue of “The Guitar Magazine” (on the via.com/queenrocks, pdf-version)

The touring life of Queen dates all the way back to a gig at Truro Town Hall on 27 June 1970 – one, so the story goes, that was arranged by drummer Roger Taylor’s mum – and monumental success soon followed. As they increased in size over the ensuing years, so did the venues they would play. For example on 20 March 1981 a staggering 131,000 rabid fans came to see them at the Morumbi Stadium in São Paolo, and the classic line-up’s last show, the now revered Knebworth Park extravaganza that took place on 9 August 1986, was witnessed by an estimated throng of 160,000.

An obvious, and some would say insurmountable, obstacle to the continued momentum of this touring juggernaut was the passing of the incomparable Freddie Mercury in 1991 and whether
the band should have been laid to rest alongside that most wonderful of singers remains a hot-button online topic.
However, now comprising just Taylor and guitarist Brian May after the retirement of bassist John Deacon, Queen undertook three subsequent tours with Free vocalist Paul Rodgers before joining forces with a vocalist far closer to the Mercury mould, Adam Lambert.
“I often think that Freddie would both love him and hate him!” asserts the everfriendly May. “Adam’s a great showman and he can hit those top notes without losing any quality or power. The things he pushes himself into are just breathtaking – he’s amazing, I have to say.”

Read All About It
Queen + Adam Lambert has been on the road for most of the second half of 2017 with more dates scheduled for next year, and the theme of the spectacular production is based around the 1977
album News Of The World and its iconic cover design by noted sci-fi artist Frank Kelly Freas that features a bloodsplattered robot.
We’re speaking to May whilst the band is on hiatus between the US and European legs of the trek and he brings us up to speed regarding the origin of the idea.
“Someone casually said to me that it was the 40th anniversary of News Of The World but I wasn’t that interested; it’s always the anniversary of something! But then I looked at the album cover again and thought how great it would be to bring the old robot back to life, so we set to it. I don’t think I’m giving away too much to say that he opens the show by smashing his way through the screen: it’s colossal and people love it.”
Although News Of The World openers We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions have been mainstays of the Queen set for decades, the band dusted of a couple of rarer album tracks this time around, namely It’s Late and Spread Your Wings. However, as May explains to us, neither made it to the final leg of the US tour and, considering the band’s global stature, it’s fascinating to note how organic the set list is today.
“I thought that Spread Your Wings was going to be a massive success with the audience because it’s very much a singalong, but we didn’t feel like it caught fire, so we dropped it after a few shows. It
may be more of a European rather than an American thing, so it’s possible that we’ll consider putting it back in to see how it goes here.
“It’s Late is an epic that takes a massive amount of concentration to perform, but I love it,” he continues. “That went really well and the reason we didn’t do it on the final few shows was that we felt it was exhausting us and the audience too much. I think there’s an optimum length to a show that allows you to keep the energy and it’s a fine line. We’re not a band that plays for four hours a night and so, in trimming and adjusting the show, It’s Late bit the dust at the end of that American leg.”

It’s a spectacular and hugely entertaining production, one that most Queen fans will surely relate to and enjoy regardless of who’s at the vocal mic.

a long technical guitar related discussion follows. This is the conclusion of the article:

So, there’s no putting it of : the million dollar question. Is this likely to be Queen’s last tour, at least of this scale? May is ready with a response.
“I’ve no idea,” he laughs, cryptically. “I didn’t think we’d still be doing it at this point. It’s full-scale and it’s a good, meaty show. The number 70 is quite significant; I didn’t realise what it was going to feel like. I look in the mirror and think: ‘70? Are you really?’, because inside I feel like I’m about 35, you know? It’s daunting; three score years and 10 is the lifespan of a human being and everything else afterwards is bonus time.”

As we say our farewells we ask May to airm the validity and relevance of the current tour for any remaining unbelievers.
“It’s as big, dramatic and powerful as anything we’ve done for the last 40 years,” he summarises succinctly. “Those songs are alive in all of us; they’re not museum pieces, which is the key, I think.”

The UK leg of the Queen + AdamLambert European tour begins on 26 November 2017.
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby AlaRegularis » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:43 pm

A reasonable reason, I suppose. I get where he's coming from, those songs aren't as well know to the masses and average concert-goers. Even if us "real" fans may want to hear some rarer stuff here and there, we're not the majority at these shows and thusly those songs doesn't get the same response as, say, Killer Queen, WATC or something like that and therefore they get dropped or not played at all.
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby BitterTears » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:21 pm

I think it sounds fair enough but were SYW and IL really getting less reaction than, say, Get Down Make Love? Obviously they don't have infinite amount of time on stage but is there nothing else than can be cut instead? (A guitar solo *and* Last Horizon?...although I guess that serves a function to let others off stage for costume changes or a break or whatever as well)

I don't know, I guess selfishly I'm never going to be happy with any explanation no matter how valid as I really wanted to hear them live.
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby Action This Day » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:14 pm

So it basically boils down to:

Spread Your Wings - not popular enough
It's Late - too long

Not buying it when the show already contains Stone Cold Crazy, Get Down Make Love, I'm In Love With My Car and a 10 minute guitar solo.
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby parchedpeas » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:37 pm

The presence of the guitar solo (and the drum solo) says all you need to know.
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby cmsdrums » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:33 am

And WWRY played twice....
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby hotspace1966 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:16 pm

It would have been interesting to know if SYW ( should they have reintroduced ) would have been well received in Europe with the current crop of fans attending these shows. Possibly better than in America but maybe not as well as the band would have liked. Hence the reluctance to perform it any further and take out a tried a tested favorite to make room.
I think IL is just to difficult and demanding for them to perform from the sound of things. A real shame on both counts but it is understandable.
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby dazzag1982 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:21 pm

I think Brain's reasoning is fair enough.

I went to the Belfast show and whilst i'd love to hear SYW and IL or other rare things for that matters, it was simply 2 hours of stupendous music and I forgot that they didn't play this or that.....and it was also the best visual production I've ever seen in any concert

The set list is very much structured that enables the band to take breaks when they need to...Roger could not play solid drums for 2 hours so the acoustic section and Brian's solo, him singing AKOM/TATDOOL are placed so he gets to take a break and play the show in sections...if that's what enables the guys to do this at their age that's fine.

Sometimes a set list on paper doesn't look right but when you "see" it it works so well

I used to complain a lot about set list choices, and everyone will still do that..we all have our favourites, I'd love to hear Princes of the Universe one day but I accept it will probably never happen, but seeing this show just made me appreciate that these guys can still do this at their age and good health to them they can keep doing so!!
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby Jimi » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:31 pm

I get it with Its Late (although I don't want to ) but not with Spread your Wings.
As Bittertears points out there was loads that could be trimmed. 90% of the audience in Leeds didn't have a fucking clue when Get Down Make Love started.

I've never understood the fascination live with FBG and Bicycle is just a mess
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby Echoplex » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:09 pm

Jimi wrote:I get it with Its Late (although I don't want to ) but not with Spread your Wings.
As Bittertears points out there was loads that could be trimmed. 90% of the audience in Leeds didn't have a fucking clue when Get Down Make Love started.

I've never understood the fascination live with FBG and Bicycle is just a mess


The old school fan in me has always complained about the set list, but here in the real world I do understand why they take the route they take.

I found feel, however that they could include more from the last three albums, particularly Made In Heaven. Bicycle Race I don't think is any worse then the 79 "Killers" version. FBG is in drop D (never played on Brian's original guitar) on this tour he uses a Fryer. I think it gives him a chance to hammer out some genuinely heavy guitar lines which he enjoys doing. Get Down Make Love is probably played as a nod (the only one) to the album the show is built around visually. It's probably fun to play and gives them the space to goof around, but even that song is cut short.

I would have loved to hear Spread Your Wings. But all those years ago, good as it is, it wasn't a huge chart success, a real lost gem in Queens vast chart catalog. Remember most of those who are buying tickets now probably own greatest hits and very little else.

To the older fans they were a 70's albums band and that's is what we wished they would build their set around, but as they became more popular they grew further away from the world of Led Zeppelin, The Who and The Stones, album sales wise and became unique in as much as they were a genuine rock band but one that had more in common with ABBA than any of the rock establishment, in as much as it was singles that kept them on top and sold concert tickets.
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby cmsdrums » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:37 pm

Basically this is Brian saying he doesn’t have confidence in their own material - he worries about pleasing a few Americans (who the band didn’t tour for at all at the tail end of their original touring life) for 3 and a half minutes with a great song that many DO know, as if they’re going to leave the venue in their masses...how did they cope as a new band playing a whole set of tracks that NO ONE knew? And given the choice of a Stone Cold Crazy, Get Down Make Love, a lengthy guitar solo or Spread Your Wings, does he really think the latter is the poorest choice?
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby Jimi » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:00 pm

Echoplex wrote:
Jimi wrote:I get it with Its Late (although I don't want to ) but not with Spread your Wings.
As Bittertears points out there was loads that could be trimmed. 90% of the audience in Leeds didn't have a fucking clue when Get Down Make Love started.

I've never understood the fascination live with FBG and Bicycle is just a mess


The old school fan in me has always complained about the set list, but here in the real world I do understand why they take the route they take.

I found feel, however that they could include more from the last three albums, particularly Made In Heaven. Bicycle Race I don't think is any worse then the 79 "Killers" version. FBG is in drop D (never played on Brian's original guitar) on this tour he uses a Fryer. I think it gives him a chance to hammer out some genuinely heavy guitar lines which he enjoys doing. Get Down Make Love is probably played as a nod (the only one) to the album the show is built around visually. It's probably fun to play and gives them the space to goof around, but even that song is cut short.

I would have loved to hear Spread Your Wings. But all those years ago, good as it is, it wasn't a huge chart success, a real lost gem in Queens vast chart catalog. Remember most of those who are buying tickets now probably own greatest hits and very little else.

To the older fans they were a 70's albums band and that's is what we wished they would build their set around, but as they became more popular they grew further away from the world of Led Zeppelin, The Who and The Stones, album sales wise and became unique in as much as they were a genuine rock band but one that had more in common with ABBA than any of the rock establishment, in as much as it was singles that kept them on top and sold concert tickets.


yes I get all that and I don't disagree. The reference to Bicycle was to identify a song that to this day haven't found anyone that gives 2 shits about it and in general find it unpleasant. I think they miss a trick by not doing a quiet -ish ballad also.
The demographic of the audience is such that chucking in a lily of the valley or an all dead all dead would do no harm at all.
Personally I disagree with Brians assessment of WWTLF by AL as I find it far too Broadway sounding.
Probably the biggest travesty is the omission of the whole of Innuendo though. That's baffling.

Personally I found the track listing of the previous tour more rewarding
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby Jimi » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:03 pm

cmsdrums wrote:Basically this is Brian saying he doesn’t have confidence in their own material - he worries about pleasing a few Americans (who the band didn’t tour for at all at the tail end of their original touring life) for 3 and a half minutes with a great song that many DO know, as if they’re going to leave the venue in their masses...how did they cope as a new band playing a whole set of tracks that NO ONE knew? And given the choice of a Stone Cold Crazy, Get Down Make Love, a lengthy guitar solo or Spread Your Wings, does he really think the latter is the poorest choice?


Good point. I love SCC and it always sounds great but its odd to defend that against Spread Your Wings for example.

What is also odd is that TYMD comes in pretty sharp after that so if Brian is worried about losing an audience he's having a pretty good go at it early on !
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby BitterTears » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:38 pm

TBF I think having a couple bangers at the start like TYMD and SCC really gets the crowd going even if they aren't the most well known of songs to the Greatest Hits crowd.

But I agree with the overall sentiment of some song choices being slightly puzzling on the basis that SYW isn't well known or well enough received.
 
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Re: Interview Brian May (about SYW and IL)

Postby Jimi » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:43 pm

BitterTears wrote:TBF I think having a couple bangers at the start like TYMD and SCC really gets the crowd going even if they aren't the most well known of songs to the Greatest Hits crowd.

But I agree with the overall sentiment of some song choices being slightly puzzling on the basis that SYW isn't well known or well enough received.


It didn't work in Leeds!
 
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