Queen: Queen Rock Montreal (EMI) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, June 25th, 2024  


Queen Rock Montreal


May 28, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

By 1981, Queen was at the height of its powers and the top of its game. Its run of albums was eight in as many years, nine if you count the band’s soundtrack to the Flash Gordon film, which was released less than a year before this monster Queen Rock Montreal concert in November. By 1982 and the band’s Hot Space album, Queen had reached the point of diminishing returns. But from 1973 to 1981, the band was magic, and this show, recorded at the time for a concert film, is a wonderful document of the band in all its spectacular glory.

The show kicks off with the fast version of “We Will Rock You,” before the band launches into more recent-period Queen with “Let Me Entertain You” from 1978’s Jazz and “Play the Game” from 1980’s The Game.

After “Somebody to Love” proves itself a vehicle for Freddie Mercury’s inimitable vocal chops, the cheeky showman comes out, with Mercury addressing the crowd saying, “If you guys want to move around and shake your asses a little, it’s okay by us,” and following it with, “You can take all your clothes off if you’d like too.” Afterward, the rousing, harmony-filled “Killer Queen,” segues right into “I’m In Love with My Car.”

The show’s progression proves the band’s diversity and virtuosity with a series of songs that spans its career thus far—a positively inspiring “Save Me,” a gentle “Love of My Life,” and a perfectly pop-tastic “Under Pressure.”

An epic “Keep Yourself Alive,” initially recorded for the band’s 1973 debut album, is punctuated here by drum and guitar solos before the band launches into “Flash” and “The Hero,” a song cycle that wonderfully juxtaposes the band’s first song on record and its most recent album hits.

The obligatory “Bohemian Rhapsody” is perfectly rendered and eminently enjoyable if one can get past how played out the song has become over the years. “Tie Your Mother Down” shimmies and shakes like all the best rock and roll. Queen dives into quasi-punk with a noisy rendition of “Sheer Heart Attack,” from 1977’s News of the World. And as proceedings come to a close, the ubiquitous “We Are the Champions” is belted out, segueing into “God Saves the Queen.”

All said, it’s a moment in time, one where Queen was at its biggest and its best. Things went a little wobbly thereafter, but on this night in 1981, Queen was god. (www.queenonline.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 3/10


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