Friday, February 17, 2023

Queen discuss setlist strategy of opening numbers on The Greatest

Queen discuss the strategy behind how they open their concerts on the latest episode of their weekly series The Greatest.

As a live band famous for making an electrifying first impression, there’s a science to the Queen setlist.

“The audience want to be blown away at first,” explains Roger Taylor. “We used to say blind them, deafen them, and then calm down a bit after twenty minutes. You really want to go bang, bang, bang, bang at the beginning of a show.”

From “One Vision” to “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Queen have hit the stage over the past half-century with some of rock’s biggest anthems.

“Sometimes, writing a song, you're already aware it would be a good opener,” says Brian May. “You see it in that light. The production starts to take place in your head. We've had some really good openers and I think generally they've come out of the music.”

Episode 5 in the series goes on to reveal how Queen learnt the importance of building anticipation from heroes like The Who and Led Zeppelin – before looking back at classic Queen openers, from Freddie Mercury revving up the crowd with “We Will Rock You” to the kabuki curtain drop and the dash down the runway for “Tie Your Mother Down” in the Paul Rodgers period.

“We've had some good openings,” reflects Roger. “I used to like the kabuki. The big curtain just disappears in front of your eyes and suddenly reveals all. That was always a good gag. You try and make an impact with the first song.”

Pick up your copy of Queen’s “Greatest Hits” here.

See also:

Queen share rare video from 2012 Ukraine concert on The Greatest
Queen revisit Magic Tour rehearsals on The Greatest
Queen revisit Live Aid rehearsals on The Greatest
Queen launch second season of weekly video series The Greatest
Search Queen at hennemusic