Queen + Adam Lambert have shared a new live version of “I Was Born To Love You” from their headlining appearance on Sunday, August 17, 2014, at Tokyo’s Marine Stadium – the main stage of Japan’s largest rock festival, Summer Sonic.
The band’s Far East tour of 2014 marked the first time they had ever played this arrangement of the song live together. Before this time, Queen had only rarely included “I Was Born To Love You” in a live set, and only as an abridged acoustic version.
Originally written by Freddie Mercury and released as the lead single from his 1985 debut solo album Mr Bad Guy, the song provided him with a decent-sized hit. After Mercury’s death, Queen re-worked “I Was Born To Love You” for their final album, 1995’s Made In Heaven.
Brian May says, “I had an obsession with the song, and had the idea to make a new version, simulating how it would have sounded if we had been able to play it live with Freddie on stage. So the Queen version was put together as a ‘virtual’ live track, using Freddie’s spectacular vocal as the central thread.
“Roger, John and I played our parts live, to a rearranged template I’d put together – complete with some additions to the arrangement, taking some liberties with the vocal, and even borrowing some choice Freddie ad-libs, to add to the feeling that it was a live band recording. Little did we know that years later we’d have the opportunity with Adam to finally bring this arrangement to life on a real stage.”
While finding favor as an album track, the song took on a life of its own in Japan. Adopted in February 1996 as the bedrock for a national Japanese TV commercial for Kirin Ichiban Shibori, one of the best-selling lager beers in the country, the song attracted such popularity that it forced its release as a single, becoming Queen’s first song to enter the Japanese chart since the 1977 “Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)”. Then in 2004, the song was used as the theme for a popular TV drama series. It returned to the chart, reaching No.1 and remains one of Queen’s most popular songs in the country.
This performance of “I Was Born To Love You”, from the filled-to-the-brim Tokyo Summer Sonic event, provided one of the show highlights for Japanese fans experiencing for the first time the combination of Queen’s legendary magic on stage with the newly introduced talent of Adam Lambert. The set also included a remarkable Brian May performance of “Teo Toriatte (Let Us Cling Together)”, a song written by May over 40 years ago especially for the band’s Japanese fans, and including Japanese lyrics.
While the show was a resounding success, May recalls: “We all thought it was quite a difficult gig. The audience was wonderful, but with the extreme heat and humidity, it was very difficult to play. However, when we saw the video, we all thought that it had great energy and the interaction with the crowd was great.”
Lambert recalls: “The Japanese audience was so passionate, so emotional. You could feel the connection. And it’s different than in other countries; there is something very special there.”
Drummer Roger Taylor adds: “The audience reaction was fantastic, and it was such a young audience, which was a big surprise for us.”
Since that summer of 2014, Queen + Adam Lambert have gained further critical acclaim from Japanese media and fans alike with their live shows, having since performed a three-night run at Nippon Budokan in September 2016 and more recently, in January this year, when they performed to a combined audience of close on 140,000 across the space of just four indoor stadium shows in the country.
This performance has only previously been seen on video in Japan – on the Queen + Adam Lambert – Live in Japan DVD, released exclusively in Japan in various formats on December 20, 2016. In this new live release, it is now revealed to the world in all its live and exciting untouched glory.
Queen’s Live Around The World is out on October 2 and can be pre-ordered here.