Did You Know The Live North American Debut of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Happened In Waterbury?
Waterbury's Palace Theater is celebrating its 100 year anniversary this year, and as part of their celebration, they've been posting memorable highlights of their storied history on social media.
I saw a very interesting one they put up yesterday, and it involved one of the biggest classic rock songs of all time. It was 46 years ago on January 27, 1976, that Queen played Waterbury's Palace Theater for the third year in a row, but what was special about this show is that it was the first time that Queen performed their incredible song Bohemian Rhapsody live for an audience in the United States.
Waterbury's Palace Theater was chosen as the first venue in the US on Queen's "A Night at the Opera" tour, and according to setlist.com, after opening up with the song Procession, the group launched into the rock section of the song that most of us know every note of in 2022 - Bohemian Rhapsody. They followed up with:
- Ogre Battle
- Sweet Lady
- White Queen (As it Began)
- Flick of the Wrist
And then, Queen performed Bohemian Rhapsody in its entirety.
Looking down the rest of the setlist, the group also performed Killer Queen, Stone Cold Crazy, Keep Yourself Alive, a cover of Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock, and a rendition of God Save the Queen to end the show.
I couldn't find any recordings of the performance, but here's one from Queen's May 4, 1974 show at the Palace -
Bohemian Rhapsody was written by Freddie Mercury, it peaked at #9 on the American charts after it's debut in 1976, but Bohemian had not just one, but two extra legs - The song hit the top of the charts again in 1991 after Mercury passed away, and again in 1992 when it was famously featured in Wayne's World. It became the most streamed song from the 20th century in 2018 after the release of the biopic with the same title, over 1.6 billion times.
I wish my brother Mark was still here, he saw Queen at the Palace, but I'm not sure if he was part of the first audience in North America to hear "Scaramouche, Scaramouche, Will you do the Fandango!" Very cool.