RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Queen – Queen Live At The Rainbow ‘74
Eagle Rock Entertainment

http://www.eagle-rock.com/

Rating: A

Mention the name Queen to fans of classic rock and you will get many reactions. They’re a unique group who gave us a whole new take on rock music. Other great bands had powerful singers and supporting vocals to accompany killer instrumentation; but not quite in the way Queen did. They did not just play rock and roll; they introduced classical elements not often heard before in the genre. As they continued to grow they developed an even more unique signature sound. Brian May’s guitar sound and virtuosity is instantly recognizable. If you cannot identify Freddie Mercury’s voice within two seconds of hearing it you cannot call yourself a classic rock aficionado and probably should not even be visiting this site!

Queen Live At The Rainbow ’74 provides us with a wonderful look back at a rock giant as they were first beginning to enjoy international success. The music is decidedly more edgy and aggressive than what we may have grown used to during Queen’s later years. Songs like “Son And Daughter” which features an extended Brian May guitar solo, could easily fit into the same style as Led Zeppelin or even Black Sabbath. “Keep Yourself Alive” is played with more power than I have ever heard in any other recording.

This is a classic hard rock performance from very talented and hungry artists. They are playing on a bare bones stage. There is no fancy light show and no pyrotechnics. It’s just the guys blasting out fantastic, high-energy music. The performance is filmed and produced in the typical low-tech seventies small venue style, with lots of up close-up layered imagery of the artists going crazy mixed in with wide angle shots of a basically empty stage. It’s very nostalgic and extremely cool. You get the feeling you’re watching a new local band with the world ahead of them giving it all for the cause.

In front of it all, of course, stands the incomparable Freddie Mercury. The man exudes charisma and has the audience in his grip from the moment he hits the stage. He maintains total commands of the show as a rock superstar but still interacts with the audience in a perfectly natural manner. It can be difficult to watch at times knowing this incredible talent will be taken from us way too early by that damned disease. He was the consummate performer, and he shows it in full force on this DVD.

Queen Live At The Rainbow ’74 comes with both a DVD and a CD. I appreciate this. I spend far more time listening to music than watching DVD’s. The DVD is very cool, but the music is easily powerful enough to stand on its own without the visual accompaniment. The recording quality is excellent. It’s a fantastic tour through pre-“Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen. A truly interesting ride!

By Roy Rahl

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