This post ties in with the following, so bear with me. 1975 was the year when bootlegging in Japan really took off and Queen’s first tour in that year was a major catalyst with almost every concert captured and up to six known sources per show. Queen arrived at the right time and elicited enough desires to produce a memento of the performance with the aid of progress made in Japanese home consumer recording technology. As a result, bootlegging really took off in Japan and formed the basis for a couple of choice copies made in the West.
QUEEN – Budokan, Tokyo – 19 April 1975 (1st night of the tour) OG label Japan: OG-860 (“Aprilfool” version) & OG-877 (“Now I’m here” version; OG would issue all its re-releases under a new number); released in 1975, called LIVE in Hot Wacks.
This version has a wrap around insert with an additional photo on the back insert. Total duration: 49:41
Too rare to be copied in the West by the likes of Vicki Vinyl: “Less than 100 copies of the “Aprilfool” version exist, and under 30 copies of the “Now I’m Here” version exist.”
QUEEN – Kokusai Kaikan, Kobe – 23 April 1975 (3rd night of the tour); QUEEN/”Live in Kove” LLX 2622; released ca. 1975, copied in the Netherlands in 1992 in very small numbers with many reportedly being confiscated in a raid.
One of the Dutch reissues. Apparently, a white label on one of the sides is the clearest indicator that you are looking at a Japanese original. Despite the poor artwork, the sound quality beats the OG release considerably.
QUEEN – Budokan, Tokyo – 1 May 1975 (7th show and last night of the tour). KIMONO MY PLACE LIVE! – MARC Records label Japan # 75122, released in 1976.
“Six audience sources exist from this show, and five of them have been bootlegged. This short recording was the first source to come out, in 1976. The track listed as “Shag Out” is just the last segment of Hangman (although Freddie shouted those words later in the show, during his vocal exchange with the audience in Liar). The uncut tape of this source has never seen the light of day.
This was the best-sounding recording of the show available for decades, until the Tarantura bootleg [CD FOUR YOUNG NOBLES OF ROCK taken from an even better recording by the tapers known as “Song Brothers] was released in 2007.” queenlive.ca
Copied by Vicky Vinyl as “STUNNING” on the Blue Ribbon Records (# 006) and Rodan Records side labels between 1977 – ’79.
With Idle Mind labels. deluxe cover version here and below. Despite what is written in Hot Wacks, the deluxe version may have come first.
With added BRR Cobra logo. Obviously, VV didn’t try very hard to make a big distinction between BRR, SLA & Rodan Records, using and adding label logos as she pleased.
Things continued in a similar vein for Queen’s second Japan tour in 1976.The following titles were presented on this blog for and more in detail reviews can be found via the Search function at top right. Hence, now in short form:
QUEEN – Budokan, Tokyo – 31 March & 1 April 1976
MARC’s 76059: Invite You To A Night At The Budokan LP
was copied by VV on her Idle Mind label:
MARC’s release # 76042: Lazing On A Sunday Evening
was copied by Ken:
AND by VV – to become the first release on her side label SLA:
Also available with Ruthless Rhymes labels.
I tried to decipher what it says inside the Japanese flag but was not able to.
The text used on the back insert part was taken from the 1976 paperback Queen – An Official Biography plus their recent U.S. Royal Tour. Larry Pryce, Star Books. There is however one crucial change as the sentence “…‘arriving on the heels of their ‘A Night At The Opera’ album, the group was greeted with almost universal acclaim.” was altered to “…‘arriving on the heels of their ‘American Tour 1975′ album, … .” substituting the Wizardo bootleg ROYAL AMERICAN TOUR for the official studio album (thanks to John for pointing this out).
This bootleg is sometimes called “very rare/limited” and “Japanese” when offered but it is neither.
The version with the brown cover and strange Japanese drawing of the two figures (I always thought it was a Sumo wrestler whose fundoshi had come undone but it is actually a white female (?) figure clinging to a crawling male – this type of Japanese erotic art is called “Shunga” – who says you don’t learn anything on this blog?) was produced 1981 in the UK.
Too bad that the incredibly rare ZOOM QUEEN (LLX 314) double LP from the 1976 Osaka afternoon performance never made its way into the hands of any of our bootlegging heroes as the quality is quite amazing for a 1976 audience recording. However, with only 20 original copies circulating (how do you tell the forgeries from the originals?) that would have been an amazing feat of synchronicity. One of the most valuable bootlegs ever, although due to digital copies circulating these days, prices have come down in the last 10 years. … Plus, the also excellent sounding evening performance with a slightly inebriated Freddy has surfaced and is even more fun to listen to.
SUZI QUATRO – Shibuya Public Hall, Tokyo – 19 October 1975; MARC Records 75111 (the very first MARC records release late 1975/early 1976)
Total duration: 43:28
Copied on Blue Ribbon/SLA with a thank you to J. Wizardo
Exists in red as well. Matrix: sla-000005
The very first Hot Wacks book I ever bought had this cover reproduced, maybe not what I should have been looking at at 15… Needless to say. I’ve been wanting to listen to this ever since. I can report back that the mic used in the recording device reaches its limits sometimes and this is not in the same league as the Queen Song Brothers or a “Mr. Peach” recording; verdict: Vg+
DEEP PURPLE at the Budo Kan – 15 December 1975
Smoke On The Water / Georgia On My Mind / Smoke On The Water
Tommy Bolin Introduction
I Need Love
Soldier Of Fortune
Jon Lord Keyboard Solo
Woman From Tokyo
Toccata And Fugue In D Minor/ BWV 565:I. Toccata / For Elise
Lazy/Ian Paice Drum Solo / Lazy
This Time Around
Owed To “G” / Jon Lord Keyboard Solo
Tommy Bolin Guitar Solo
You Keep On Moving
Encore: Highway Star
MARC Records # 76045:
Also exists with alternate picture labels
The official Last Concert in Japan LP was released as a Japan only live album in March of 1977. Vicky Vinyl copied the MARC Records LP around the same time as SLA 003.
Most copies are on black PVC – clear similarities to the Suzi Quatro release. These two seem to be the only ones in the BRR/SLA series for which colored vinyl was used.
Sound quality listed as “Gm” only.
In 2001, the complete show was officially reissued from an improved master on This Time Around: Live in Tokyo
Famous Japanese taper “Mr. Peach” attended this show as well and produced a much better recording than what MARC/SLA had to work with. This was released on the Tarantura CD bootleg label as Made In Tokyo in 2010.
“In a 1995 interview, Glenn Hughes calls Last Concert in Japan an “awful record,” and says that it “should never have been released” because “Tommy couldn’t play.” “
THE SWEET – Nakano Sun Plaza Hall, Tokyo – 19 August 1976
BYBLOS 37, earning just a “Gs” rating.
The long forgotten Sweet. Their music was everywhere when I grew up but I never really liked them. The big rivalry back then was Sweet vs. Bay City Rollers…
BAY CITY ROLLERS – Budokan, Tokyo – 14 & 15 December 1976
Another “Gs” recording. The Sweet and this title were never copied and accordingly incredibly rare and expensive if sighted in Europe.
In a way, this post also shows the aspect of growing commercialization that followed progress; clearly this was no longer about releasing a rare tape by a visionary artist that spoke to a generation of counter culture individuals.