Queen Leeds Elland Road Stadium 29th May 1982

Queen Leeds Elland Road Stadium 29th May 1982
Support from Heart, Joan Jett And The BlackHearts, Teardrop Explodes
queentix82In 1982 Queen toured in support of their new album “Hot Space”. “Hot Space” was Queen’s 10th album and saw them experimenting, not that successfully in my view, with disco. The UK leg of the tour consisted of two massive outdoor shows at Milton Keynes Bowl, and Leeds Elland Road football stadium, and two large indoor concerts at the Royal Highland Showground, Ingliston, Edinburgh. I drove down to the Leeds gig with a group of mates. It was a very hot Saturday, on a bank holiday weekend.
I think The Teardrop Explodes opened the show. Now, I was a fan of this band and of Julian Cope in particular. He was a crazy and intriguing front man and they had some pretty neat pop / new wave tunes; notably “Treason” and “Reward”. However, they were viewed as a “punk” band (and hence not “proper” rock) by a small section of the audience who decided to pelt them with bottles. Not a good start to the day.
We were all quite excited about seeing American rock band Heart who featured the amazing (and beautiful) Wilson sisters; Anne and Nancy. We had all been fans since one of us bought “Dreamboat Annie” in 1976; we all borrowed and played that album again and again. Heart’s set included great versions of some of our favourite tracks from their mid-’70s heyday: Magic Man”, “Crazy On You” and the excellent, rocking “Barracuda”. True to their classic rock roots, their encore was a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”.
The final guest act was ex-Runaway Joan Jett with her band the Blackhearts, who got the crowd singing along with “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” , which had been high in the charts a few weeks earlier.queenprog82
There was a long wait for Queen. I suspect that they were waiting until it was dark so that the light show would have its greatest effect. Finally, after what seemed forever, the intro to “Flash” boomed across the stadium, followed by ridiculously loud explosions and blinding white flashing lights. Queen exploded onto the stage, Freddie starting to sing “The Hero”. The sort of spectacular entrance that Queen had perfected. The rest of the show was similarly spectacular with Freddie leading the band in those anthemic classic songs, and goading the crowd to sing along. I remember wondering how they would recreate the David Bowie vocal on “Under Pressure” and secretly hoped that he might run out from stage left 🙂 (I wasn’t the only one; rumours were circulating that Bowie would appear with Queen to sing his parts onstage in Leeds and/or Milton Keynes; but of course he didn’t). Instead Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor shared the vocal parts. Another great performance by Queen.
Setlist: Flash; The Hero; We Will Rock You; Action This Day; Play the Game; Staying Power; Somebody to Love; Now I’m Here; Dragon Attack; Now I’m Here; Love of My Life; Keep Yourself Alive; Save Me; Back Chat; Get Down, Make Love; Guitar Solo; Drum Solo; Under Pressure; Fat Bottomed Girls; Crazy Little Thing Called Love; Bohemian Rhapsody; Tie Your Mother Down. Encore: Another One Bites the Dust; Sheer Heart Attack; We Will Rock You; We Are the Champions; God Save the Queen
Musicians: Freddie Mercury – lead vocals, piano, tambourine, acoustic rhythm guitar; Brian May – electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals, piano; John Deacon – bass guitar, rhythm guitar; Roger Taylor – drums, electronic drums, backing vocals; Morgan Fisher – piano, synthesizer, backing vocals.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Zephead2112 on November 17, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I was 15 years old in 1982 when I attended my first ever concert. Fortunately for me, it was QUEEN’s show at Leeds AFC ground in the North of England.
    I remember when my ticket arrived in the post, possibly 2-3 months before the concert, as was often the case in those days. I stuck my ticket on a cork notice board in my bedroom and could barely contain my excitement over the coming weeks. Every morning, I would wake up and look at the yellow ticket, wishing the days away. I imagined everything that could go wrong would. Queen would cancel the gig, I would break my leg, the family pet would die on the morning of the concert and it would be too insensitive of me to go, the transport wouldn’t turn up or would break down, there would be a pile up on the motorway, I’d lose my ticket en route, etc, etc.
    As it turned out, May 29th 1982 was a hot and sunny day, perfect weather for an outdoor gig. I was CRAZY about Queen and had been since the age of 9 but I really didn’t know what to expect on that day. Myself and three friends took a coach organised by my Dad’s company from Lancashire across the M62 motorway to Leeds. Our excitement began to really take a hold when we arrived at the football ground and we followed the droves of people towards the turnstiles. To me, this was something on a really big scale and I could already hear the hum of the crowd inside. Not really believing that we were actually about to witness a Queen concert, we found our seats on the West Stand, offering a great view of the stage. I remember marvelling at Queen’s new lighting rig and the equipment that adorned the stage, shining in the afternoon sunshine. The ground was almost full at this point and the pitch was heaving with people. The atmosphere was relaxed as people bathed in the sunshine. I remember two guys climbing the fence from the stand and attempting to get a better spot by running into the crowd and losing themselves on the pitch. Their efforts were in vain however as they were quickly located and ejected back into the stand by two security guards.
    We bought some black Hot Space tour shirts (I wore mine with pride until it literally fell apart) and a programme from a vendor inside the ground and waited for the first band to take the stage. A guy near us shouted and punched his way through Heart’s set and then left just as they vacated the stage. Obviously not a Queen fan! The Teardrop Explodes suffered at the hands of the Queen congregation and found themselves battling against a shower of bottles and assorted missiles. Other than that, I don’t really remember much about the support bands. I think that Bow Wow Wow were billed to play (an odd choice) but I can’t recall if they actually turned up. No matter, we were about to witness what is still one of the best gigs I have ever attended.
    As the dusk descended upon us, the giant floodlights were extinguished one by one and the memory of the roar that followed still sends shivers down my spine. Dry ice drifted across the heads of the crowd on the pitch as the intro tape of Flash thumped out of the PA and the strange ‘grating’ noises added to the recording created a foreboding atmosphere. Two of our party were on the pitch and to this day remember their chests thumping in unison to the powerful rhythm. A sea of hands clapped in perfect time to the beat. To me, this was already an amazing experience. And then the big moment. Freddie, resplendent in dazzling white made his entrance to The Hero and the blaze of the lights. An apt number to start with. Before he had even sung a note, the audience were locked tightly in the palm of his hand. Such an entrance, such a showman. “You’re a F***in amazing crowd”, he exclaimed after the first rush. The beginning of the gig is, in truth, my strongest memory of the show itself. In particular, the “Flash!!!” vocals cutting through the night air with so much volume. I recall being shocked at the sheer power of Queen’s performance and the clarity of the huge sound they harnessed. Morgan Fisher’s keyboards during ‘Action This Day’ sounded bright and hypnotic. Freddie’s intro to Fat Bottomed Girls caused quite a response too; “the bigger the t*t the better it is!”. I also remember the follow spots darting wildly over the crowd during ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ and everybody going crazy. Oddly enough (and this is something I still swear by to this day), I was in a Maths lesson at school the following Monday and I swear I had a flashback of this and could actually ‘hear’ the music being re-played in my head. It was a weird moment and life was never quite the same again. We talked endlessly about our experience for months to come and one of my biggest regrets is not jumping on a train to attend the filmed Milton Keynes show a week later.
    Having been to so many gigs since, I can honestly say that there is nobody who has been able to top Queen live; I was lucky enough to see the band five times between 1982 and 1986, including Wembley Stadium and their last show at Knebworth. I think that my personal favourite was their performance at the NEC in Birmingham on ‘The Works’ tour in 1984. People were literally stood there with open mouths, unable to believe how good they were. Leeds is definitely up there too. I recall Brian May stating that he thought it was one of their best performances ever. I can’t argue with that Mr May.
    I’ve often wondered if an audience shot cine film or even just photographs exist from the Leeds gig. It would be a dream come true to see my memories come to life again.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Peter on June 14, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    This was also my first Queen concert, (still got my ticket in the loft!). I was 13 and have been a big Queen fan since I was 10. It was a fantastic concert, I heard a radio interview from Brian in 86, and he said that he had great memories from this concert, and that he had family at the show. I was lucky enough to go to two more shows, Main Road & Knebworth 86. Happy days!!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Mike on January 19, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    I was at the gigs in Ingliston however I don’t still have my tickets and would’ve to find originals out there someday so that I can replace thee items back to my queen memorabilia shrine

    Regards

    Mike

    Reply

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