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gallery Queen performed @ Leeds Town Hall, UK.


12 November In 1973 – Queen performed @ Leeds Town Hall, UK. They were supporting ‘Mott The Hoople.’ This is the first show of Queen’s first UK tour.

Queen began their career as a bona fide touring rock group on November 12, 1973, when they opened for Mott The Hoople at Leeds Town Hall. Jack Nelson of Trident persuaded Mott The Hoople’s manager Bob Hirschmann to allow Queen to be the support act for their tour. Hirschmann initially hesitated but eventually agreed.

It had been nearly a decade since all four members had first considered life in a pop group and started out in their respective teenage bands, The Opposition (John Deacon) The Reaction (Roger Taylor) 1984 (Brian May) and The Hectics (Freddie Mercury). They had, individually and collectively, worked towards November 12, 1973, with incredible perseverance. There had been adversity and fiasco, providence and frolic, but, now, on the brink of real opportunity, their determination was fantastic.

The audience up and down the UK, from The Central in Chatham, to the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow, adored Queen. Their set had been designed to elicit instant appeal. It was 45 minutes long and usually contained just six of their own songs, the final number given over to a rock’n’roll medley which they elongated or abridged depending on the crowd’s response. Freddie Mercury, this unknown spidery figure in silk and Lycra, stalked the stage and dropped every ounce of himself into the performance. The band were tight ,driving new life into songs they had been playing for years. The music press, understandably perhaps, considered it far too brazen and pantomime, but the word of mouth when Mott The Hoople fans were back at school, college or work the next day was that Queen were the business.

During the tour the band sometimes complained that they were not getting enough coverage in the press and Chris Poole, Tony Brainsby’s assistant, had to placate them. “I had a good time with them but they were not an easy band,” Poole stressed. ‘On the Mott The Hoople tour they were quite annoyed because they didn’t get as much press as they figured they should have got. They may have been a support group, but they already had the mentality of stars!

Source: Queen The Early Years by Mark Hodkinson

Queen all got on very well with Mott. You couldn’t get more down to earth than Ian Hunter (the lead singer) and he loved them. They all became very close on that tour. The idea of a band called “Queen” may have upset a lot of people at the time they first gained some profile, but once people got to know them they were won round. In principle Queen were very well mannered and easy to like. Freddie, especially, knew how to have fun with everybody.

Extraction from Mick Rock’s book “Classic Queen”

Queen would get plenty of valuable experience while out on tour for a couple months.

Brian May later reflected on the period: “On tour as support to Mott The Hoople, I was always conscious that we were in the presence of something great, something highly evolved, close to the centre of the Spirit of Rock ‘n’ Roll, something to breathe in and learn from.” In a 1998 radio spot, he expanded: “Mott The Hoople was really our first experience of life on the road, and a pretty blinding experience it was, I must say. It’s always remained close to my heart, ‘cause we grew up on that tour. We had to. It was just insanity. And to survive you had to adapt; you had to become a rock ‘n’ roll kind of animal and in the good sense of the word, you know. And, yeah, it was phenomenal.”

Freddie said, “Being support is one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.”

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