Queen wrapped up their 1975 A Night at the Opera tour of England with an unforgettable show at London’s Hammersmith Odeon that was broadcast live on the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test. The recording circulated within the fan community for decades before the band finally released it on CD late last year. On March 8th at 7 p.m., it will be screened at more than 200 movie theaters across the country via Fathom Events. Tickets go on sale this Friday and can be purchased here.
The event is called Queen: A Night in Bohemia and will also include a previously unseen documentary about the group’s slow rise to fame, building up to the creation of their 1975 masterpiece “Bohemian Rhapsody.” That song had been out for less than two months at the time of the Hammersmith Odeon concert, and the group was just beginning to figure out how to play it in a concert setting. The rest of the show centers around earlier tunes like “Killer Queen,” “Ogre Battle” and “Keep Yourself Alive.”
“Christmas Eve 1975 marked an important moment in the history of the Old Grey Whistle Test and Queen,” Old Grey Whistle Test host Bob Harris tells Rolling Stone. “The band were in party mood at the Hammersmith Odeon that night and no wonder. They had already spent the best part of a month at the top of the UK singles chart with the sensational ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ the video for which had instantly redefined the presentation of music on TV. They were at the peak of their powers – confident and stage sharp at the end of a barnstorming UK tour. I donned top hat and tails to salute and introduce them before they played one of the best sets I had ever seen. It was an incredible night but it was more even than that. It was the moment Queen became superstars.”
In the exclusive above clip from the documentary, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor discuss the creation of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “It’s just the four of us,” says May. “But it does sound like a huge symphony ensemble with a choir, but it’s just the four of us. It was a great vision from Freddie. That was something very unusual. It’s only in retrospect we realize how unusual it was. In a sense, it was part of the flow. It didn’t seem that abnormal to us at the time.”
Queen took a long break after the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991, but in recent years, May and Taylor have toured the world with Adam Lambert. They are touring Europe this summer, kicking off on May 20th at Rock In Rio in Portugal.