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Friday, February 1, 2013

Queen – 'Hungarian Rhapsody - Live in Budapest' DVD / CD review

Queen – 'Hungarian Rhapsody - Live in Budapest' DVD / CD review        
Released by: Eagle Entertainment. Release date: Available now.

Queen were such an incredible band, something that I clearly didn’t take seriously enough when I was younger.
For whatever reason, I seemed to sit on the fence on a few occasions when I could’ve gone to see them live and consequently missed out on catching them with the flamboyant Freddie Mercury.
I have since seen them albeit without Freddie and now own, many live Queen DVD’s and time and time again kick myself for not having gone and seen them, with Freddie!
When I did see the band a few years ago though with Paul Rodgers, being a fan of both artists, I thoroughly enjoyed that evening, although I know there were many die hard Queen fans who thought it sacrilegious, to do such a thing.
My take on that is that Paul never tried to sound like Freddie, by any means, as he never could for one thing and the band in respect of Freddie played all those shows as Queen with Paul Rodgers. Enough said …
Maybe Thin Lizzy should’ve done that and it could’ve got a number of fans off their backs and they wouldn’t have had to call themselves Black Star Riders …., maybe? Cough …. I doubt it!
Anyway, this concert performance ‘Hungarian Rhapsody – Queen Live in Budapest’ is apparently the last complete footage of Queen live in concert, before Freddie passed away and was filmed in July 1986.
I must say that I’m surprised that the last Queen concert to feature Freddie at Knebworth in the UK, in August of the same year was not filmed?
Maybe it was and that footage is being saved for another day ….?
This package is also special as although it’s a double format special DVD and two CD disc set, there’s bonuses about each of the formats!
The DVD of course includes bonus features, but the two CD set also includes live tracks not included in the DVD concert, which kind of beats me but there you go!
The extra tracks on the CD that are not on the DVD are, ‘Another One Bites The Dust,’ ‘Looks Like It’s Gonna Be A Good Night’ – Well, partially anyway! – a version of ‘(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care’ and ‘Hello Mary Lou (Goodbye Heart)’ – Yes, really!  
I know, perhaps the only one of real interest to Queen fans, is ‘Another One …,’ but by the same token, it really reflects how far the band could stretch their repertoire when they wanted to.
So to this concert, which once again proved that Queen could control any crowd anywhere in the world and it was especially true in front of this 80,000 stadium crowd in the Népstadion in Budapest and the crowd loved the band!
So Freddie hits the stage first and he’s resplendent in his ringmaster like outfit and then the band launch into the monster that is ‘One Vision’ and so a massive light and sound event begins!
From the deft keyboards of Spike Edney into Brian May’s raw power chords to intro the song it’s ahem …, ‘a kind of magic!’
Sorry, ahem ..., couldn’t resist that one!
‘Tie Your Mother Down’ rocks out next and boy does it rock out, before closing with flash bombs! The band’s performance is killer already and they’ve only just started!
Freddie tells the crowd, ‘It’s so nice to be here tonight …,’ then into ‘The Lap of the Gods’ and has the whole of the Budapest audience backing him, as he parades around the stage and then takes his seat at the grand piano where he kicks off, ‘Seven Seas of Rhye,’ before running across the stage to work the crowd some more. Then Brian May’s guitar work is of course, spot on!
Seriously, this is only four songs in and this is a rockin’ show!!!
Must’ve been mad not to have gone to see Queen with Freddie!
Ed’s note: – Now kicking myself seriously hard!!!
Then there’s a brief interlude that rolls into ‘Tear it Up’ briefly, then eerie stage noises and the lights pan all over the darkened stage, before we hear Freddie utter, ‘It’s A Kind Of Magic’ cue song!
Freddie of course is / was, the ultimate, ULTIMATE poser that he was totally commands the audience and they love it!
Solid stuff of course from both Roger Taylor and John Deacon, keeping the backbone and backbeat of the band always there!
Then there’s a break from the concert, as the DVD switches to a photo shoot and catches the band on a sightseeing tour of the city during the day, then Freddie does a little solo performance at an evening reception, before it’s back to daytime shots of the band, then Freddie on the stage in the stadium before the concert, doing some warm up exercises that then leads back into the concert.
Freddie gets the crowd into a little singing session, back and forth, him then them and then it’s into the mega global hit ‘Under Pressure.’
Next Freddie introduces a “new song for us, this is called ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ which was from the ‘Highlander’ movie, with Brian May on keyboards at the beginning, before punching out some power chords back on guitar and we’re off!
Really classy tune, love it!
‘I Want To Break Free’ up next, with Freddie sharing vocal duties with the crowd here at the beginning, before then taking the helm for the rest of it.
Brian May takes centre stage for an almost four minute - Over six minutes on the CD - guitar solo spot that then leads into more photo shoot stuff with Brian basically on walkabout, after a ride in a hot air balloon, then laid back on a speed boat then a bunch of autograph signings and receptions, then back to the air balloon before the ultimate Queen rock out song, ‘Now I’m Here.’
Really folks, there’s much more of the aforementioned great stuff here in this package.
If I were to go into a track by track review of the concert performance on this DVD and every little detail of the bonus material, I could write pages and pages.
As this stands, I have covered the first ten songs and Brian May’s tasty guitar solo spot moment and this so far, would typically be the length of any of my other reviews or thereabouts.
Some wonderful material is included in the remainder of the set Queen plays here, including a special moment for Hungarian fans, where Freddie sings part of a traditional Hungarian folks song in ‘Tavaszi Szél Vizet Áraszt’ – Translated it means, ‘The Spring Wind Blows The Waters.’ – to which even with the words on a piece of paper in his hand, he receives a wonderful response.
Of course there’s Queen classics that the band could no way leave out, such as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ ‘Love of My Life,’ ‘We Will Rock You,’ ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love,’ ‘We Are The Champions,’ and newer soon to be classics such as ‘Hammer To Fall,’ ‘Friends Will Be Friends,’  ‘Is This The World We Created’ as well as ‘Radio Ga-Ga’ to immense reaction!
It is a wonderful DVD / CD set, as well as the bonus twenty six minute mini documentary, ‘A Magic Year,’ that really captures the magic that was Queen with Freddie Mercury and I have other Queen live DVD’s too, including the fantastic Wembley concert in ’86 and the ‘Queen on Fire – Live at the Bowl’ from a storming set at Milton Keynes bowl from back in ’82 and others and this is another performance that once more reinforces what a phenomenal live band they were and a great showman Freddie was.
Seriously well worth getting folks, don’t miss out, get it!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5