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Queen - Live Killers CD (album) cover




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3.53 | 158 ratings

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Easy Livin
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars We will rock you (with clinical precision)

"Live killers" was the first official release of a live album by Queen. Given the band's reputation in the mid 1970's as one of the best live acts on the circuit (something I can attest to through personal experience) it is surprising that it took so long for such an album to hit the shelves. Unfortunately, this means that to a certain extent Queen missed the boat, as by the time this album was recorded, the raw energy of their early performances had been replaced with a much more refined, stadium friendly extravaganza. When combined with the fact that only one track from their first two albums ("Keep yourself alive") appears in this set, it becomes clear that this release is several years too late.

The latest studio albums at the time were "News of the world" followed by "Jazz", neither of which achieved anything like the standards set by those which came before. Unfortunately, tracks from both are included here, including the awful "Get down make love" and the long since forgotten "Dreamers ball".

The album was recorded during Queens' European tour of early 1979, although details of where the specific performances took place is not revealed. We kick off with a trio of crowd rousing pop songs, the sing-a-long anthem "We will rock you" being changed from a basic football chant into a faster guitar driven song. "Let me entertain you" and "Death on two legs" lead into a medley of abbreviated versions of singles, the classic "Killer Queen" being cut to under 2 minutes.

The most interesting tracks are the extended versions of "Now I'm here" and "Brighton rock". The former features some fine guitar work by Brian May, but is blighted by a prolonged audience participation section led by Freddie. "Brighton rock" will be familiar to anyone who has seen Queen live as the Brian May extended slot where he uses two single echoes to great effect.

The acoustic section offers slightly different takes on three songs, the audience being encouraged to "duet" with Freddie. If memory serves me correctly, May sang lead vocal on the studio version of "39", but here it is left to Freddie. Unfortunately it's not really his type of song.

"Don't stop me now" was the band's most recent hit single at the time of the tour, the rendition here being a facsimile of the studio version. "Bohemian rhapsody" is here of course, the band apparently leaving the stage during the operatic section so that there can be no doubt when tapes are being used. A couple more hits, a frantic run through the title track that never was ("Sheer heart attack"), and we're into the "We are the champions" finale.

There's no doubt that "live killers" captures Queen in great form. Their pedigree as top line entertainers oozes from every groove of the record. Sadly though, the "We will rock you" culture of their gigs by this time, has sanitised the product and taken with it the genuine excitement of their first few years.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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