Queen – Greatest Video Hits – DVD (2 Discs) – 2012
Featuring: Freddie Mercury; Brian May; Roger Taylor and John Deacon
Studio: Hollywood Records/Eagle Vision EV305569 [8/28/2012]
Video: 16:9, color
Audio: English DTS Digital Surround Sound (5.1); PCM Stereo
Length: 134 minutes
Ratings: Audio **** Video ***
As the seventies started to fade in memory, British Rock was changing. The great English invasion of The Beatles, The Who, Cream, The Kinks was receding. The hard core strutting still existed with singers like Mick Jagger and Robert Plant. A new kind of performer like David Bowie, Elton John, and Genesis” Peter Gabriel were reaching critical audience masses. But there was one group that bridged the gap between the older establishment and newer rebels, and it was Queen! Fronted by the excessive theatrics of lead singer Freddie Mercury and band mates Brian May (guitar), John Deacon (bass) and Roger Taylor (drums), they brought a studio-polished hard-edge to popular rock. This could be witnessed at their frenetic live performances, where Mercury’s command of the stage and audience was extraordinary. Their music was structured, and produced inimitable singles like “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Another One Bites The Dust”, “Killer Queen”, “Somebody To Love”, We Are The Champions” and “We Will Rock You”. Queen became the hottest band in the world.
Eagle Rock Entertainment has released a two-disc DVD of videos spanning the career of Queen. The highlight of this DVD is the sound re-mastering (especially in 5.1 Surround). Disc One features the earlier hit singles. It is important to remember that these “videos” pre-date MTV. Opening with the perennial favorite, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, the re-engineered sound accentuates the layered vocals. What is especially gripping is the higher register blend. There are also screeching guitar runs from Brian May. This is a “mini-film”, a vehicle used by The Beatles when they released a new single. The musical framework for Queen is over the top…and it works. “Bicycle Race” is simplistic (even has bicycle bells) rock bombast, but Mercury pulls it off. Unfortunately, the visual quality has not been restored to match that of the audio. The hits keep coming with anthemia cuts like “We Will Rock You” and We Are The Champions”. The measure of the staying power of their music can be witnessed by every sports team that has adopted these songs as their own. But Queen is a very good band full of rock grooves and tight arrangements like “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “You’re My Best Friend” and “Somebody For Love”. The filming is creative, almost experimental.
Disc Two represents the latter Queen catalogue. In the bonus features, the remaining band members express their preference for these videos as they were able to contribute to the conceptual narrative. “A Kind Of Magic” is very theatrical and utilizes some of Mercury’s charisma. There is pathos on “I Want It All”, as the bearded Mercury (allegedly hiding facial blemishes from AIDS), proves he is a consummate live performer. Two songs from The Works, including “Radio Gaga” (the inspiration for the pop singer) shows the transition of the group from a rock, dance band. But this music did not equal the prior commercial stature.
Not perfect by any means, Queen – Greatest Video Hits will still “rock you”!
Disc One: Bohemian Rhapsody; Another One Bites The Dust; Killer Queen; Fat Bottomed Girls; Bicycle Race; You’re My Best Friend; Don’t Stop Me Now; Save Me; Crazy Little Thing Called Love; Somebody To Love; Spread Your Wings; Play The Game; Flash; Tie Your Mother Down; We Will Rock You; We Are The Champions
Disc Two; A Kind Of Magic; I Want It All; Radio Gaga; I Want To Break Free; Breakthru; Under Pressure; Scandal; Who Wants To Live Forever; The Miracle; It’s A Hard Life; The Invisible Man; Las Palabras De Amor; Friends Will Be Friends; Body Language; Hammer To Fall; Princes Of The Universe; One Vision
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.