I wore out my copy of Queen’s 1981 Greatest Hits album. (This, of course, was back when you actually could “wear down” an album — when the grooves on the vinyl actually flattened out.) I loved Queen and thought Freddie Mercury was the most unusual and powerful singer ever. So, the answer to an invite last night to see Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest ’86 was, Yesss!
Re-mastered in high-definition, the film showcased the entire 90-minute concert, the first Western rock concert held in a stadium behind the Iron Curtain. Most of the hits you’d expect were there: “We Are the Champions,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Radio Ga-Ga.” The one disappointment was “Bohemian Rhapsody,” in the middle of which the band left the stage and the (ever-familiar) recording of the song played while the film showed awkward close-ups of the audience. Queen’s sexy and energetic cover of “Tutti-Frutti” more than made up for this minor lapse.
Mercury is mesmerizing; you cannot take your eyes off him. Even my son, weaned on MuchMusic, concert Jumbotrons and lip-synching, was impressed by Freddie’s raw power over an audience — that voice! I risk sounding cranky and old, but Mercury in his prime puts most of 2012’s rock “stars” to shame.
This remastered recording will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray, 2CD and DVD Deluxe Edition and a 2CD and Blu-ray Deluxe Edition on November 5th worldwide.