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Queen - Live Killers CD (album) cover

LIVE KILLERS

Queen

 

Prog Related

3.48 | 117 ratings

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clarke2001
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "I feel so inar - inar - inar - inar - inar - inar - inar - inar - tic - tic - tic - tic - inar - inar - inar - inarticulate."

QUEEN's eponymous live debut was released in June 1979, it reached number 3 and stayed on the chart for 27 weeks - for a good reason. It's simply brilliant. Don't get me wrong, it's not perfect, sound quality is quite raw, and all those sophisticated details of multilayered vocals and guitars are, of course, not present here. But the atmosphere is great, and in my opinion that's the most important task of any live document (except for the fact how good or bad the musicians are really, of course).

Anyway, this is a two CD (or vinyl) set clocking at more than 90 minutes of music and twenty-two songs are included.

The record opens with fast hard-rock version of "We Will Rock You". I prefer this version much more than the original, overplayed dumb version. After the heating intro the band continues in hard-rock manner with "Let Me Entertain You", which is a great live version of a great song. This one should intrigue prog rock fans, although is quite raw and not complex arrangement-wise.

"Death On Two Legs" is a great performance of another prog-related hard-rock tune.

"Killer Queen" is the track that, I must admit, I never preferred for some reason. Here it is in very brief version, simply because it's part of the medley and it floats almost unnoticeably into the excerpt of "Bicycle Race" and then it proceeds into bit longer but still quite short version of "I'm In Love With My Car". Roger excels on vocals and drums here.

Medley is over. John's broken bass pattern powered with Brian's feedbacking glides open "Get Down Make Love", one of the most experimental tracks that QUEEN ever did. This tune is progressive rock by all possible definitions of that term. In this live version (excellent, needless to say) we can hear Freddie's high pitched vocal improvisations and something that must be Brian's guitar, but I dare to say that no leaving creature on this planet could possibly imagine WHAT was he doing with his guitar. Outrageous, breathtaking, indescribable.

The weakest track on this live set, "You're My Best Friend" is one of rare bands use of vintage keyboards. On this concert it was played on grand piano, and that's the only interesting thing about it. A decent performance, but skip it.

"Now I'm Here" is the song the I never liked at all, it sounds like a plain hard-rock tune with boring mannerism. Live version is so extraordinary that it forced me to change my mind, most notably for the one of the oldest tricks in the rock 'n' roll history: an audience singing along with the bend. I'm not a fan of a "c'mon everybody now" syndrome, but here Freddie proved that his showmanship was state of art. He used thousands of people as his own, perfectly controlled instrument. Nobody ever did that, before or after him.

One of the not so common band's diggings into the roots of blues is presented here in "Dreamers Ball". Easygoing ballad with gorgeous old-fashioned blues solo with Brian's unique guitar sound. One hell of a experience!

After that, band showed more gentle, acoustic side with ballad "Love Of My Life", again with the help of the fifth instrument (audience) and sci-fi country "'39" with possibly the best vocal harmonies on this record.

First record ends with a lovely, sincere version of "Keep Yourself Alive"

The second one starts with the pair of piano-driven rock songs: "Don't Stop Me Now" with the prolonged rocky session and powerful and emotional version of one of the John's best compositions, "Spread Your Wings". The rest of the Side One on second record is reserved for loong version of "Brighton Rock" - where are you, progheads? Drum solo, guitar solo, multipart composition...well, you know.

The audience shouted for "Mustapha" on the beginning of the B side, Freddie sung a verse or two, but he was obviously reluctant to perform the whole tune. Pity. I'm often wondering how would it sound live. Anyway, The Show goes on with "Bohemian Rhapsody" on a same level like a studio version. You either love it or hate it, so I will save my breath.

Another hard-rocking Brian's number is performed correctly, but "Tie Your Mother Down" contributes nothing essential to this record, really. The band continues with "Sheer Heart Attack", the noisiest song that QUEEN ever did. But this version lacks half of the energy captured on the studio album (although it is highly energetic) and it also lacks short but flashy guitar solos. The only interesting thing here is Freddie's attempt of punk vocal mannerism: see the quotation at the beginning of the review.

"We Will Rock You" in the regular version announces the finale: "We Are The Champions" is another crowd-pleasing number, and finally the show is over with "God Save The Queen", band's adaptation of national anthem. This double live document is record in several places in Europe during 1979, but the last track is the only one that could be precisely located, because the audience knows the lyrics of the UK anthem.

There is nothing more to add. I would gladly give ten years of my life - if I could only been there. A contract, ink and a feather, anyone?

clarke2001 | 4/5 |

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