Top positive review
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The best Queen live album yet
on 4 November 2004
I've just read the review of this CD written by cliffcashfan and can only wonder what planet he's living on and what album he's writing about. He states that Queen were the greatest live band ever - which arguably they were - but then goes on to incorrectly state that they've "never released a live album to prove it".
This is in fact the FOURTH Queen live album to be released on CD, following on from 'Live Killers', 'Live Magic" and 'Live At Wembley'. And in my opinion this is the best one yet, for a number of reasons:
Firstly, the sound is in fact terrific. It's crystal clear and nicely balanced.
Secondly the interesting set list: Unlike the 'Live At Wembley' set, which is basically just a ho-hum live package of Queen's greatest hits aimed at the music-buying masses and casual fans (and the less said about the rush-released, sub-standard 'Live Magic' the better) , this 1982 set will be of far more interest to the hardcore Queen fan, containing as it does performances of some lesser-known Queen songs, including some from the controversial and at the time brand-new 'Hot Space' album that were only ever performed on that tour and were also not chart hits - these being 'Staying Power', 'Action This Day' and 'Back Chat'. The 'Hot Space' album was widely panned at the time and Queen came in for some heavy flack for supposedly "betraying" their rock fan base by releasing a heavily funk-tinged album. I always though that this was very unfair as they were only doing what many other bands do in experimenting with a new sound, and in fact when performed live, these songs were given a much heavier, harder edge that really worked well.
Thirdly, I actually saw Queen live in Leeds on 29th May 1982 - about a week before their concert at Milton Keynes which is featured on this album. It was my first ever Queen show and as such was a truly memorable event. I can clearly remember the sheer excitement I felt when the show opened with 'Flash' played over the PA system before the band launched into an amazing rendition of 'The Hero', an obscure, heavy rocker from 1980's 'Flash' album. That set the tone for the next couple of hours - and when I put the first disc of this package into my player and pressed "Start", it was almost like travelling back in time 22 years to that memorable show (I really must buy the DVD next!). My point being that unlike the previous Queen live releases, this album is a more like a real warts-and-all Queen concert experience - the whole set is included and, as another reviewer has stated, mistakes have been left in (long-time older Queen fans may remember all the controversy and rumours about studio overdubs on the 'Live Killer' album when it first came out in 1979). There's none of that here - this is Queen live as they truly were, and they were up there with the very best. All the band are on form. Freddie is just finding his voice in 'The Hero' but very quickly hits his stride and demonstrates once again that his voice was every bit as good live as it was in the studio - something which very few supposedly "great" vocalists past or present can claim. Brian May's guitar playing never ceases to amaze me and it's no different here, and Roger Taylor's solid, powerhouse drumming - peppered here and there with some clever little rolls - is as reliable as ever. The guy's one of the coolest drummers ever in my book.
The only mystery to me is why this remarkable concert performance by one of the best live bands of all time was left gathering dust in the vaults for nearly a quarter of a century. But as the old saying goes, better late than never, and I'd strongly recommend this release to any Queen fan old or new.