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4.5 out of 5 stars21
4.5 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 25 March 2005
This Milton Keynes performance was the very best live gig by one of the greatest ever live rock bands at the pinnacle of their career. Being there was one of the very few genuine life-changing events of my life. This DVD captures - oh, I'd say - 10% of the atmosphere of the event (which is pretty darned good for a DVD!) and I still can't watch it without the hairs standing up all down my neck! Nostagia? Probably. Faithful recording of music legends showing us all how it's done? More than likely. The best music DVD money can buy? Oh yes.
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on 14 December 2004
the title is an understatement Queen are so much more than on fire here. if you've seen the video or dvd you'll know what i mean. but even just listening to this concert, which comes almost exactly half way between the formation of the band (1971) and the sad passing of Freddie (1991). only three years after live killers (an amazing live album) and the astounding Wembley '86 some might have thought this release almost pointless. not so. the set list is different enough to seperate itself from it's predecessors (note: avoid the heavily edited live magic at all costs unless you wish to hear an example of very severe editing!) with tracks from The Game including play the game and dragon attack. also present is the mandatory 'new' songs such as 'staying power' and 'back chat' which whilst paling into insignificance with the likes of bohemian rhapsody and under pressure are very much and improvement on the very dry sound they recieve on their mother album Hot SPace. freddie's banter in some of the best yet though not quite reaching the 'they're talking from here!' exchange from wembley is evidence still of freddie as arguably the greatest showman to have graced a stage. all in all a great adition to the ever growing 'live' catalogue.
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on 1 November 2004
Having seen televised footage of this concert, and been struck by the vitality and power of the performance, I was thrilled that it would be finally released as a CD and DVD.
On this CD you will hear Queen at their peak as live performers. The execution is less polished than on Live Killers, but the sheer power of the renditions is overwhelming, and brings the listener closer to the experience of being at a Queen concert. The selection of songs is better too, with a raucous Fat Bottomed Girls, and a sensitive rendition of Save Me, being highlights.
Most of the mistakes have been left in (some interesting chord changes on the Now I'm Here intro for example), and I think this only adds to the listener's involvement.
The power and spontaneous feel to the performances, together with Freddie Mercury's vocal delivery, stand in stark contrast to the 1986 Wembley offerings, which now sound even more ponderous by comparison.
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on 7 August 2006
I've had 'Live Killers' for years, and was at one of the 2 gigs recorded for 'Live at Wembley', and loved them both, so I wasn't sure what I was going to make of this one.

'Live Killers' is raucous rock music, and maybe a little dijointed here and there; 'Live at Wembley' really captured the stadium feel well, but has a really odd sound in places that doesn't quite give it the feel of a live gig. This one though - it feels much more live, warts and all! They were truly on fire this night, and all 4 of them put in sterling performances.

The thing that might put people off just looking at the track list is the fact that some of it is from the 'Hot Space' period, but the songs from that album are very different here, and so much better live.

'Live Killers' and 'Live at Wembley' are great representations of what Queen were like live at those two times in their history, and this one sits perfectly between those two.

All we need now is for their record label to release some earlier 70s material for completeness. For now though, I'm very happy with this release!
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on 19 August 2009
Yes I am biased and yes I was there at the concert in '82.Even though for true ardent Queen fans this was a low period for the group, this album shows them as one of the best live rock acts of all time.It's great to hear tracks like Action which are rare especially live.When I first played the c.d. in it's entirity, the memories came flooding back of that day and the previous week at Elland Road ,Leeds.I just wish we could have the Earl's Court concerts from '77 out on D.V.D. and C.D.and also other earlier concerts which are knocking about.
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on 7 February 2005
Queen where at there peak in 1982 in terms of touring and recording. They were coming off the back off two of there bigest singles - 'Another One Bites The Dust' and 'Under Pressure' - and by now they were playing 60 sell-out concerts a year in the biggest stadiums of the world.
QUEEN ON FIRE - LIVE AT THE BOWL is QUEEN at their electric best, with the band playing 25 numbers taken from the biggest hits and the best live sonbgs - 'Sheer Heart Attack', 'Now I'm Here' and 'Dragon Attack', and two versions of 'We Will Rock You', including the much sought after 'fasy' version, altogether 110 minutes of live classics
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on 4 November 2004
Something of a curate's egg this one. Bridging the gap stylistically between their hard rock era epitomised by Live Killers and the pop-rock sheen of Live at Wembley (don't touch Live Magic by the way), this album is at the very least an interesting document of a band in transition. Kicking off with an electrifying version of The Hero, a now little known track from Flash Gordon, and racing breathlessly into the rockier version of We Will Rock You (the same version as that showcased on Live Killers), the band then hits the first snag of the evening, Action this Day, a track from their current album of the time, Hot Space. And here lies the problem.
I have a mixed view of Hot Space, on the one hand it is one of Queen's most intriguing albums, an album on which they were rather experimental, trying to find some sort of a funk-rock hybrid suiting the sensibilities of Freddie and John. Some of this album is fantastic and really seems to work, but at times it is rather dreadful (Body Language anyone?). During Queen on Fire they manfully try to convince the Milton Keynes crowd of the merits of these tunes, with patchy results. "Action" is, I would say, a miss, not really translating to their stage persona, "Staying Power" is almost there, "Back Chat" seems to work. You can hear Freddie working his backside off trying to involve the crowd, but they sound a bit sceptical, despite Brian trying to rock the somgs up with some raw, not exactly disco, guitar playing.
The rest of the album shows off the excellence of Queen Live: how they could convert complex studio multi-layered tracks into four-piece rock is little short of miraculous. It is also good to hear Save Me and Somebody to Love at last released in their live versions- they are both fantastic here and serve as a reminder of what great popular music can be, shaming the modern top 40.
The sound on this album is OK, not as pin sharp as more recent live recordings but remember this was the analogue age; it certainly bears favourable comparison to the recent Led Zeppelin live recordings.
Yes, this is a mixed bag of an album but is worth a punt. You never know, it may make you want to buy Hot Space, and what then?
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on 20 January 2011
I think this album's great! its totally different from live at wembley (which i brought a few weeks ago) ... which i think is a good thing as whats the point of having lots of different live albums that sound the same!!! Yes Queen are going through an experimental phase but really who cares they're still great. The crowd are clearly enjoying themselves, and i can tell why!!
Well i think this has added nicely to my growing list of live Queen albums =)
If you don't have it i'd recommend live at wembley too
Great good fun album!
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on 28 November 2015
Heavy Queen.
Raw and rocking.
The tracks they are promoting from the latest album are turkeys though,but the rest more than makes up for it.
This is the CD that got me into Queen at 45 years of age!!
On DVD too.
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