Appellate Judge Kent Dixon rocked Montreal once...long story!
"Hello Montreal…long time no see! Okay, you wanna get crazy? Come on, let's do it!"…Freddie Mercury
Two chilly nights in Montreal in 1981. A legendary British rock band at the
top of their game. Thousands of adoring fans. Montreal's 18,000-seat Forum, a
legendary venue within the NHL, is dark except for the small lights of hundreds
of lighters. The arena is far from silent as the energy of the crowd builds to a
frenzy and flashes of light and the sound of thunder bring Queen to the stage.
During the 96 minute performance, you're likely to hear most, if not all of your
favorite Queen songs; a full serving of stadium rock heaven.
Formed in London in 1970 by lead singer Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara), guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, Queen would finalize their chemistry with the addition of bassist John Deacon in 1971. Rolling Stone magazine named The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who as the Holy Trinity of '60s-era British rock, but I think Queen easily took on their share of that mantle in the '70s and '80s.
Queen has more collective weeks on the UK album charts than even the Beatles as of the writing of this review, and the vinyl and CD release of Queen: Rock Montreal sits at 20th on the top 75 albums in the UK; not bad for a band that hasn't been together in its original form since 1991 with the death of Freddie Mercury. And 2007 also marks the 30th anniversary of legendary Queen songs "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions." This is a band with staying power.
I think I've been a Queen fan ever since my older brother first let me peruse his record collection and I came across the band with the scary robot on their album cover (I'd later learn this was Queen's "News Of The World" album). I also vividly remember the first time he played "We Are The Champions" and "We Will Rock You" for me, long before they were overplayed at sporting events and high school graduation ceremonies. My introduction to Queen was one of my earliest experiences with rock music and many of their songs formed the soundtrack of my youth.
They were a simple four piece rock band with an attitude and presence all their own. I've always marveled at Queen's unique style…one part classical composition, one part amazing vocal harmonies, one part stellar songwriting and one part good old rock and roll. With worldwide record sales to date estimated at 300 million, Queen never officially disbanded and even today, Brian May and John Deacon continue to tour as "Queen + Paul Rodgers."
While they were still at the height of their musical genius and worldwide rock superstar status, and fresh from their record-breaking Brazilian performance for 131,000 fans, Queen made a two-night stop in Montreal, Canada, that resulted in the concert film We Will Rock You. The film was originally released in North America in 1984 and was the first commercially released film of Queen in concert.
Twenty-three years later, the original 35mm film negative was scanned to ensure the best possible resolution and the source material was meticulously examined frame by frame to remove any damage, film splices and dirt, and to ensure the sharpness and quality of the finished product was the best it could possibly be. So how does the film look today, after all the restoration efforts and rereleased with the new name Queen: Rock Montreal? Thanks to this labor of love, Queen fans now have what is very likely one of best live performances of Queen that was every recorded on film, and in the best video quality imaginable, outside of HD.
On the audio front, the original multi-track tapes were used to create newly remixed and remastered DTS and PCM Stereo tracks that are a treat for the ears. The DTS track is especially vibrant and immersive, adding another dimension to the experience. The PCM track is nothing to sneeze at either!
After the intro sequence, the following songs are included in the concert:
• We Will Rock You (fast)
The only extra feature on this release is the feature length commentary track with founding Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor. The track gives a true insider's view behind the scenes of an arena rock show, as May and Taylor share fond memories of Freddie Mercury, the band's perfromance,and their frustrations with a camera crew who were often more in the way of the performance than anything else. Director Saul Swimmer shot both concert performances on November 24th and 25th, editing the footage down to the final cut seen on Queen: Rock Montreal. As a Canadian side note, I was impressed with the subtle touch of the Canadian Maple leaves and red color used in the disc's main menu; doutbless a nod to the production's Canadian locale.
Queen: Rock Montreal is not a reunion concert, with the band members showing wrinkles and paunch; this is one of history's greatest rock bands at the height of their fame and the top of their game. Eagle Rock have done themselves proud with this special edition release of Queen: Rock Montreal. If you've heard their music but never seen them live, Queen: Rock Montreal is a audio/visual treat not to be missed, and if you're a Queen fan of any sort, you must add this release to your collection. You won't be disappointed!
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