Queen's Brian May discovers a tape of one of their first concerts

News 09/02/2021

Guitarist Brian May has discovered a recording of one of the earliest concerts Queen had ever performed.

"We're always looking at finding stuff that is historically important. And this one tape that cropped up very recently which I am excited about, which is one of the first gigs we played in a lecture theatre at Imperial College," he told Classic Rock. "I didn't even know I had the cassette."

May mentioned that although their first concert as Queen was on 27th June 1970, their "first proper gig" actually happened three weeks later on 18th July at the Union Hall, Imperial College, where May had studied physics. At the time, Mike Grose was the bass player for a short while.

May noted that their inexperience is evident in the tape, leaving him and his bandmates wondering if they should release it.

"We were very unformed [on the tape]," May explained. "Hearing Freddie [Mercury] at that point in his development is fascinating. He had all the will and charisma and passion, but he didn't have the opportunity to harness that voice yet. Which makes me hesitate a little bit, because I'm not sure Freddie would be that happy hearing himself at this stage. But strangely, if he were alive and sitting here at this moment, he'd probably be the same as me: 'Oh darling, we were kids.'"

The guitarist said that they were debating what to do with the recording and just a few years back, the band felt very protective about it, thinking that no one should hear the recording because they were "very rough".

"But now, in the position that we are in our lives, we feel forgiving. We're not ashamed of where we were at that time. It was us against the world."