Queen in South America 1981.
When did Queen perform in South America?
Queen was one of the first major international rock bands to perform in South America, blazing a trail for many other artists in the years following. Queen headed there in early 1981 after completing the bulk of a tour promoting their smash hit album “The Game.” The first South American tour brought the band to Argentina and Brazil in February and March 1981.
The first Sao Paulo concert was attended by 131,000 fans and was a world record at that time for a paying audience. The 8.3.1981 gig was attended by the famous soccer player Maradona.
Queen also wanted to play in the huge Maracaná stadium in Rio De Janeiro, but unfortunately didn't get permission. American rockers Kiss did get to play their final show in makeup ( Until their 1996 reunion tour) there in 1983, before an estimated crowd of 137,000.
Queen Tour Dates in Argentina and Brazil
28.02.1981 Buenos Aires, Argentina 08.03.1981 Buenos Aires, Argentina
01.03.1981 Buenos Aires, Argentina 20.03.1981 Sao Paulo, Brazil
04.03.1981 Mar del Plata, Argentina 21.03.1981 Sao Paulo, Brazil
06.03.1981 Rosario, Argentina
The second series of shows took place in Venezuela and Mexico in September of 1981. Queen experienced heaps of problems in both legs of the tour but particularly in Venezuela and Mexico. Shortly after the tour, the Falklands War (between UK and Argentina) began and Queen never came back, although there were plans for another tour of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay for October and November 1983 (tickets and posters exist to prove that it was planned).
Two gigs in Caracas were cancelled because the president of the country died. There was also some confusion over the dates of the Puebla shows. Queen played there on October 17th and 18th, not on October 16th and 17th.
Queen Tour Dates in Venezuela and Mexico
25.09.1981 Caracas, Venezuela 09.10.1981 Monterrey, Mexico
26.09.1981 Caracas, Venezuela 17.10.1981 Puebla, Mexico
27.09.1981 Caracas, Venezuela 18.10.1981 Puebla, Mexico
What was Queen's Set List during the South American Tour - 1981
Typical setlist for the Queen's tours.
02. We Will Rock You (fast)
03. Let Me Entertain You
04. Play The Game
05. Somebody To Love
06. Killer Queen
07. I'm In Love With My Car
08. Get Down Make Love
09. Save Me
10. Now I'm Here
11. Dragon Attack
12. Now I'm Here (reprise)
13. Fat Bottomed Girls
14. Love Of My Life
15. Keep Yourself Alive
16. Instrumental Inferno
18. The Hero
19. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
20. Bohemian Rhapsody
21. Tie Your Mother Down
22. Another One Bites The Dust
23. Sheer Heart Attack
24. We Will Rock You
25. We Are The Champions
26. God Save The Queen
(Mustapha was also played on the first leg.)
The set was much the same as the Japanese shows earlier in 1981 with some snippets from the Flash Gordon soundtrack being played. The soundtrack album was released in December 1980.
Fortunately, a number of the shows were filmed for TV and can be found online, although they do vary in video and audio quality. There have been no official releases of the material.
The excellent book by Queen roadie Peter Hince “Queen Unseen”, documents some of the trials and tribulations of performing in uncharted territory for a major rock band. During the South American tours, Queen and their crew had to cope with a myriad of issues logistical and financial to keep the show on the road. The final shows in Mexico were by all accounts not a pleasant experience for the band, who couldn't wait to get out of the country. Immediately going their separate ways for a well-earned rest.
Despite mostly enthusiastic crowds, heavy-handed security by the police and military made for a potentially volatile situation. Apart from the two “Rock in Rio” shows in Brazil in early 1985 the original band never returned to South America, although Brian May later did with his solo band. Queen and Adam Lambert have also played in South America in recent years.