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Queen + Paul Rogers: Return of the Champions (DVD)

When the announcement that Queen would tour once again and feature singer Paul Rodgers on vocals it certainly caused some stir among their life long fans. The enigmatic Freddie Mercury is not someone whose shoes can be filled easily and there was a clearly a notably different style of vocals between the two singers. It was quite a risk and the task remained on the audience as to whether or not they would be accepted in this incarnation. Original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor would be the only members from the group to take this to the stage as bassist John Deacon opted out to be replaced by Danny Miranda. Keyboards would be handled by Spike Edney while Jamie Moses would assist on guitar. I admit I was one of the skeptics when the idea was launched but when the chance to view the DVD filmed at the Hallem Arena in Sheffield England came up I decided to give it a little more attention. Paul Rodgers is a great front man and a great singer and this goes without saying since he was a member of both Free and Bad Company. However, despite this he is no Freddie Mercury in terms of vocal register and flamboyant showmanship. Given that one wonders how he was chosen for the role and as you watch this performance you can clearly see that it was good friends deciding to perform good music for their fans. The formula works for the most part but the Queen fans need to let go of expecting the spot on sounds of Freddie. Rodgers does great on tunes like "Fat Bottomed Girls" and "Tie Your Mother Down" adding his own bluesy register to the classic songs. Both May and Taylor sing a lot during this show and that itself is interesting for it gives a different spin on the material once performed by Mercury. They are also very talented vocalists and it is showcased well. There are solos from them both which I felt was a nice inclusion and to be fair to their friend Paul the group also performs a number of Bad Company/Free classics. As you expect these tracks sound great for how bad can the combination of musicians be after all these years of competent performances.

The set is vast and varied in its content and does feature a number of the expected classics. The group proves that Freddie will never be forgotten in their performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" for it starts with Freddie solo on the piano as the band plays along. Rodgers returns for the finale of the number. The audience in attendance is also very responsive and sings along with every note. Songs like "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" show this fact very vividly. A sixteen page color booklet that is loaded with concert photos is included and there are some added production liner details. A single bonus track is offered in the rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine". Overall I think that the larger amount of Rock fans can enjoy and take something away from this DVD. Taylor, May and Rodgers did what they set out to do by being Friends celebrating great music. Freddie Mercury can never be replaced and we will not see someone like him again yet as he once sang so many years ago "The Show Must Go On".

Song Listing
1. Reaching Out
2. Tie Your Mother Down
3. I Want To Break Free
4. Fat Bottomed Girls
5. Wishing Well
6. Another One Bites The Dust
7. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
8. Say It's Not True
9. '39
10. Love Of My Life
11. Hammer To Fall
12. Feel Like Makin' Love
13. Let There Be Drums
14. I'm In Love With My Car
15. Brian May solo
16. Last Horizon
17. These Are The Days Of Our Lives
18. Radio Ga Ga
19. Can't Get Enough
20. A Kind Of Magic
21. I Want It All
22. Bohemian Rhapsody
23. The Show Must Go On
24. All Right Now
25. We Will Rock You
26. We Are The Champions
27. God Save The Queen
28. Imagine - bonus

Added: April 21st 2006
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Queen Website
Hits: 4134
Language: english

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Queen + Paul Rogers: Return of the Champions (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-04-21 19:27:13
My Score:

The conquering heroes are back, and with Paul Rodgers in tow. After watching this rousing and grand spectacle of a show, you can really tell that the world has missed Queen. Of course many still mourn the loss of former singer Freddie Mercury, but Queen was so big for so long that it almost seems like there was an empty hole where their music used to be. Brian May and Roger Taylor formed a tight friendship with legendary vocalist Paul Rodgers from Free and Bad Company over the last few years, and decided to go out on the road together performing Queen, Bad Company, and Free classics to the delight of audiences all over the world. While many long-time Queen fans were sceptical at first, once it sunk in that this was not Queen with a new singer, but Queen and Paul Rogers, playing more of a tribute to Freddie Mercury than anything else. Rodgers sings his ass off here, adding his own style to the Queen staples, and doing a fine job. Brian May as always is the master on the guitar, one of the most underrated players of all time, as he adds huge riffs, tasty solos, and strong vocals as well. Taylor still can hammer the drums, and also gets to sing a bit as well.The huge crowd in Sheffield loves every minute of every song, singing and waving their arms enthusiastically as if it was 1978 all over again.

There's so much good stuff here that I won't bother going into this song by song. It's just a damn good DVD of classic songs that we all know and love, performed by true veterans of rock. I only wish there was more as far as bonus features are concerned, like a documentary with the band talking about the reasons for doing the tour, but there isn't. What you do get is a bonus clip of the band singing John Lennon's "Imagine" in front of an enormous outdoor audience in Hyde Park, and it's an extremely touching and emotional performance.

Now I'm really kicking myself for missing this tour...

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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