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Queen: Rock Montreal (DVD)

Do you currently or have you ever owned a DVD or VHS copy of Queen's 1981 concert film We Will Rock You and thought "Wow, this is a great show, but the sound is not really as good as say, the Live at Wembley show from a few years later" ? Well, thanks to Brian May, Roger Taylor, and the folks at Eagle Rock, this classic concert has been has been digitally restored, remixed & mastered for DTS Surround Sound and PCM Stereo from the original multi-track tapes, so it looks and sounds better than ever before.Though some may argue that this cleaning-up process has taken some of the 'rawness' that the original We Will Rock You version exhibited, there's no denying that the sonic clarity of what is now known as Queen Rock Montreal is ultimately better. The band is on fire during this set, filmed on 35MM in 1981 in front of 18,000 fans at the Montreal Forum, as the band was coming to the end of a whirlwind world tour in what was perhaps the most successful of their career. The show features most of the group's more well known and hard rocking songs up to that point, with highlights being the devilish "Let Me Entertain You", the menacing funk of "Dragon Attack", the heavy rock of "Now I'm Here", "Tie Your Mother Down", and "Keep Yourself", as well as the majestic numbers "Play The Game", "Under Pressure", "Love of My Life", and of course the hits "Bohemian Rhapsody", "We Will Rock You", and "We Are the Champions". For my money, the inclusion of the raucous speed metal classic "Sheer Heart Attack" and the Roger Taylor sung "I'm In Love With My Car" is reason enough to invest in this set. Freddie Mercury is at his flamboyant best, John Deacon is as solid as ever, and both drummer Taylor and guitarist Brian May show why they are two of the most underrated players on their respective instruments.

At roughly 95 minutes, you get one hell of a rocking Queen concert here, and though nothing besides a commentary track from May & Taylor is included here as bonus material, if you've never had the pleasure of seeing this show, or want to upgrade your old copy, now's the time to do so.

Track Listing
1) Intro
2) We Will Rock You (fast)
3) Let Me Entertain You
4) Play The Game
5) Somebody To Love
6) Killer Queen
7) I'm In Love With My Car
8) Get Down Make Love
9) Save Me
10) Now I'm Here
11) Dragon Attack
12) Now I'm Here (reprise)
13) Love Of My Life
14) Under Pressure
15) Keep Yourself Alive
16) Drum & Timpani Solo
17) Guitar Solo
18) Crazy Little Thing Called Love
19) Jailhouse Rock
20) Bohemian Rhapsody
21) Tie Your Mother Down
22) Another One Bites The Dust
23) Sheer Heart Attack
24) We Will Rock You
25) We Are The Champions
26) God Save The Queen

Added: February 12th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Hits: 3068
Language: english

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Queen: Rock Montreal (DVD)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-02-12 15:39:30
My Score:

****This is a review of the alternate version of We Will Rock You DVD that also includes the Live Aid 1985 footage******

Queen "Rock Montreal" was originally the big screen presentation called "We Will Rock You", which was a concert film that captured the legendary group in performance back in 1981 during their tour for "The Game". It was eventually issued on DVD but according to research that was just a straight VHS to DVD transfer and now in this release has been cleaned up even more and given a once over in terms of sound and overall quality. Surely those who owned the original are going to have a higher level of enjoyment going on because of this upgrade. With "Queen Rock Montreal" it wouldn't end there because in addition to the top notch performance footage that brings the concert to life right in your living room you are also getting the full performance from the Live Aid concert. This 1985 feature makes up the main portion of the second DVD in the set so we shall examine both of them accordingly. Let's set our sights on Montreal for the first part of our walk down memory lane with this amazing band.

Do you think anyone would argue with you if you said that Freddie Mercury was one of, if not the greatest entertainer, to have ever walked the Earth in terms of Rock music and its grand spectacle? I really don't think that it would happen but should such a person exist all they need to do is begin watching this amazing film that puts you right into the audience and sometimes even gives you a peek from how it looks on the stage in terms of the camera work that is involved. When it was called "We Will Rock You", the Queen movie was unleashed on the North American audiences in 1984 and it was the first concert film for the band that was commercially available from their already illustrious career. In the film, we find that the band is on fire in the musical sense and having never witnessed them perform in person I had only this to guide me as to just how powerful a musical force they were when on the stage. Freddie Mercury's vocals soar to unimaginable heights and at every moment he holds the audience in the palm of his hand. They listen and respond in awe and respect with healthy doses of adulation when he speaks to them. He comes off almost as if he is speaking to them one on one and everyone present literally eats it up. The show features a list that plays like the bands Greatest Hits release and while it is missing numbers like "Fat Bottomed Girls" and "Bicycle Race", there is certainly enough to keep everyone entertained from the minute the show begins until it ends and leaves you begging for more. It starts off with a bang as a high speed rocking version of "We Will Rock You" announces their arrival and continues with the very cabaret like "Let Me Entertain You". The consummate showman, Mercury prowls the stage like a panther and is always engaging the audience as the show progresses forward. Brian May sounds fantastic as well and reminds us why he has been such a big influence in the realm of modern Rock guitar. Of course Queen's music would not be complete without the talented John Deacon who is quite often underrated for his talents on the bass and the powerhouse drumming of Roger Taylor who not only delivers a thundering drum and timpani solo but even makes time to sing "I'm In Love With My Car" during the set. The highlights of the film are many and after watching it I can easily see why it was such a popular film among the music fans of 1984 who hit the theatres in record numbers to see it. I'm pretty sure that any music fan who watches this would find no less than five or six songs that have been personal favorites at least in terms of their Queen selections. The revitalizing and audio enhancement of this film makes it truly spectacular and something that you will not merely watch for a song or two but instead a DVD that remains in your player until it runs to completion. Once you have caught your breath, you can then pop in the second DVD and enjoy the performance at Live Aid.

There are music historians who refer to the Queen performance at the Live Aid show in 1985 as one of the best in their career and it's easy to see why since they were pretty much a force of nature by this point. They opened with "Bohemian Rhapsody", and once the piano intro had completed Freddie would lead the charge with "Radio Ga-Ga", a song that found all 75,000 in attendance clapping their hands in unison. His ability to hold power of the audience was further demonstrated by a brief singing duel with the crowd who answered his every note much to his very visible approval. "Hammer To Fall" comes next and is one of my own favorite later rockers from the band. Their now standard "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" came up next but it would be the stadium ready anthems "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" that would set the energy levels as close to that of a nuclear reactor explosion. It was twenty one minutes of pure music history and quite wonderful to find it presented here on an already magnificent concert DVD. Even though their main performance had ended hours earlier, both Brian May and Freddie would return at 9:38pm to do "Is This The World We Created". The Live Aid DVD segment also includes a candid interview with the members of the band and shows a few minutes of rehearsal footage for their soon to be historic performance at the festival. A color booklet comes with the DVD but it is primarily photos from the "We Will Rock You" film, or shall I say "Rock Montreal" film.

Freddie Mercury left us on November 24, 1991 and while I doubt that we shall see his like again, he shall forever remain alive and vibrant in the hearts and minds of Rock music fans for generations to come. This DVD edition is a must have for anyone's library and offers hours of entertainment not only for Queen fans but also for those who simply know what good music is all about.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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