“We’re gonna stay together until we f******, well, die.”
In 1986 Queen was on top of the world. They had just released A Kind Of Magic to decent sales. They embarked around planet earth, selling out shows virtually everywhere, becoming rock’s hottest ticket. Queen looked like they still had a great deal of creativity and energy left in them, and it would remain for five more years. This is the band’s next-to-final performance, at the legendary Wembley Stadium.
Freddie Mercury: vocals, piano, guitar
Brian May: guitar, synth, vocals
Roger Taylor: drums, vocals
John Deacon: bass, vocals
Spike Edney: additional keyboards and guitar
The concert kicks off with footage of the stage being put together on fast-forward, while the intro to One Vision is played. The crowd appears a little confused until the guitar riff comes screaming out of nowhere, and Freddie runs out to the thousands of roaring fans. This song is performed very well, definitely a great way to kick off the concert. The band jams for a while at the end, just for fun. Then another Queen classic starts, Tie Your Mother Down. As you may already know, this song kicks butt. The guitar playing is fabulous, the lyrics are violently beautiful. A very old song from Shear Heart Attack is next, In The Lap Of The Gods. It seems like a regular piano ballad until Freddie gets the crowd to chant along “Fa La, La La La!” Freddie goes back to the piano and plays the riff to Seven Seas Of Rhye. This song is great but too short. Only about the first minute of it is played, because it soon morphs into Tear It Up. The singing and wild guitar playing takes complete control of the crowd.
A Kind Of Magic, which you could call the “Tour Track,” is a total bore. After it Freddie does this thing for about two minutes, which sounds like he’s warming up his voice. He makes the crowd chant back every word, which gets boring, until he yells out, “*** you!” I generally skip this part. He then explains about how people shouldn’t think that Queen is going to end anytime soon, because they’ve promised to stay together till death. They obviously never broke that promise. Under Pressure is the next song, it's also one of the best songs this band ever made. The song is played to complete perfection, even if it’s lacking David Bowie and the famous piano riff. The ending of the song is as brilliant as always. “This is our last dance, this is our last dance, this is ourselves, under pressure.” Gotta love that song. I guess this is the section of the concert that features the bass, because the next song might be just as famous as the previous. Another One Bites The Dust is a ton of disco fun. The structure of the song is completely different than the original recording from The Game. The second half of the song is basically impromptu jamming. It's a pretty entertaining song. Brian plays synth for Who Wants To Live Forever until his trademark solo comes in. At first the song might seem a bore, but it's pretty cool overall. Following that is the steller I Want To Break Free. The crowd sings the beginning lines before Queen takes it away for a great performance. Freddie's voice isn't as great as it was, but he gets the job done.
Now, this is the section in the concert where things start getting crazy. Queen performs an entire impromptu song, titled Impromptu. Freddie wails above a brilliant piano part and some very fast slapped bass. Oh, and don’t forget Brian. His guitar playing is as brilliant as always. Brian then plays the solo to the classic Brighton Rock. It is a lengthy nine minutes, and if you’re not a guitar nerd you might find it boring. But nevertheless, some of his guitar tricks are just so wild. He uses a ton of different crazy effects to harness Red Special’s full power. The band then shoots into Now I’m Here. This is a wild song that means absolutely nothing, but is so cool live. Roger’s drumming really shows his power. Brian plays another great guitar solo.
Next is the acoustic section. Love Of My Life is played very slowly, but without the beautiful piano unfortunately. The crowd basically sings most of it, since it’s a very well known song amongst the type of people that would show up. Just when you think it ends it keeps going. Is This The World We Created is next. Not a great song, it just goes to show Queen was much better electric than acoustic. This part of the concert is kind of skipable.
There was a time before classic rock. A time of Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly etc. Most classic rock bands drew inspiration from these performers. Queen does a short section of paying tribute to them here. The best of all the songs is easily Tutti Frutti. It starts out basic and acoustic. By the end it’s very hard, utilizing Brian’s electric guitar and wonderful piano playing.
After that, without any introduction, Freddie starts playing the world famous piano intro to Bohemian Rhapsody. The crowd goes nuts. Brian’s guitar solo is great as usual. The performance is thrilling, except that they leave the stage during the opera part, leaving it to a tape to do the job. Following that is Hammer To Fall. This has some of Brian’s best guitar playing in it. The band jams for a long time, and it’s nothing but great hard rock power. The band continues with Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Freddie introduces it by saying, “this is for all those crazy people out there.” He plays guitar, claiming that he only knows three chords. It’s just a solid performance, and you can’t help but smile when he throws roses into the crowd.
After the encore and a very “gay” performance of Big Spender, the band comes back for the stadium anthem Radio Ga-Ga. It’s so cool seeing 60K people clap along in unison. Brian’s solo is very cool also. Then the biggest stadium anthem of all time begins. Bang bang tap, bang bang tap. You guessed it, We Will Rock You. Freddie wears some silly king outfit, prances around singing the verses, and then leaves the chorus up to the enormous crowd to sing. Instead of doing what you’d expect next, which is We Are The Champions, Queen performs a beautiful work of art from the latest album, called Friends Will Be Friends. Every minute of it is wonderful, and so catchy. Finally the band performs what you’d expect, We Are The Champions. Roger’s backup vocals are kind of bad, but nevertheless, this is spectacular. It’s safe to say everyone in the stadium knows every word to this song. After it’s over a recording of Brian’s God Save The Queen is played as Queen takes a final bow.
Basically I’d have to say that I would recommend this to any fan of rock. This is a must for any Queen fan. Since you can find it a Wal-Mart for $10, and the fact that it contains another disc full of extras (totaling 5 hours), this is a seriously good buy.
Final Rating: 4/5