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LIVE KILLERS

Queen

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erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When I was at about 12 or 13 years old I used to listen to the illegal radio stations Radio Caroline and Radio Northsea International with my small portable radio while lying in bed. One day they played "Keep yourself alive" I remember and I was hooked on that great catchy and powerful guitar riff. It could have been from Jimmy Page or Ritchie Blackmore but it was from Brian May I later discovered. Unfortunately nobody knew Queen and I couldn't find that single. When Queen performed on the famous Dutch tv programm Toppop with their new single "Killer queen" I became a Queen fan and I was finally able to buy a Queen single. Soon I bought all of their albums but it lasted until 1979 until I could witness a gig from Queen. It was the "News of the world tour" and that tour appeared on the 2-live-LP entilted "Live killers". Although I have very good memories from that concert (especially "Brighton rock" with Brian May just before my eyes playing his extended guitar solo), I later concluded that their inventive rock-based compositions with that typical raw and energetic sound could hardly be found on the albums from "News of the world". I hope that once EMI will release the bootleg-video "Queen live at the Rainbow" (1974) because in those years Queen was in their heyday, some magic from that era is on this live 2-CD. But in general I notice a band that has moved more towards mainstream rock and pop although this is a good and entertaining live set.

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#40955)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In 1976-77 I listened for the first time to the "Queen II" album. I didn`t like Queen`s music very much then. It was until 1980 when a cousin lent me this double live album that I started to appreciate Queen`s music better. The recording and mixing of this album is not very good: the band sounds "distant". But the performances of the songs are very good.

This album has a bit of everything: straight rockers ("We Will Rock You" in two versions, "Let Me Entertain You", "Brighton Rock", "Keep Yourself Alive", "Sheer Heart Attack", "Tie Your Mother Down", "Now I`m Here", "I`m in Love with my Car"), more Pop Rock oriented songs ("You`re my best friend", "Spread Your Wings", "Don`t Stop Me Now", "We Are the Champions"), "oldie style songs" ("`39", "Dreamer`s Ball"), more Progressive Rock oriented songs ("Death on Two Legs", "Bohemian Rhapsody") and love songs ("Love of my Life"). Among my favourites are the two John Deacon`s compositions: "Spread Your Wings", in a very good version sung with feeling by Mercury along with the audience, with an excellent lead guitar solo by May, and "You are my Best Friend". I really like all the songs of this album. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is also very good. "Dreamer`s Ball" has "wind instruments" arrangements "imitated" by the members of the band with their mouths.

In conclusion, I can say that this is a very good live album despite the quality of the recording and mixing. Freddie Mercury particularly shines, singing and playing the piano with great energy and feeling, showing how he was a very talented musician. Brian May shows his very particular guitar playing technique, his very original style. The underrated John Deacon plays very good bass guitar and also contributes two very good compositions. Drummer Roger Taylor plays with his very original style and sound and also contributes some good compositions, singing with May the majority of the backing vocals and sometimes also singing lead vocals in his own songs ("I`m in Love with my Car", "Sheer Heart Attack").

I still can`t believe the "rumours" that I read in a website dedicated to Queen, http://www.geocities.com/qzboots/pages/lkanalysis.htm , about how this album was made. The author of this article wrote that the tracks included in this album were made using editions of several concert peformances of the song, so a song could have several parts recorded in different concerts. If this is true, it is not really apparent in the sound of the tracks. Anyway, the performances are very good. This was, IMO, the last album of "the old Queen`s style of the 70s". After this album, their style changed to more simple songs and arrangements in "The Game" album.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#42404)
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Queen had been touring strong and regularly from 1973 and had never released an official live album! The fans were crying for live material and were somewhat satiated over the years with dozens of GREAT bootleg releases, some of which still command a sick amount of money on collector sites!!!! Without question one of the greatest live bands of all time (the same goes now, as their NJ show in 2005 was an amazing experience, and I'm sure the Philly show In March '06 will be just as amazing), how could they release 7 studio discs without a live release?

They initially recorded shows at the Rainbow Theatre, London, England in 1974 for a possible live release that never happened. Still not officially released on CD, this is one of Queen's most heavily bootlegged shows. An edited video was released in 1992 in their "Tricks" box set. Again in 1977 there were shows recorded in both Houston, Texas and Earl's Court in London for a possible release...again, bootlegged copies are all that exist, althought several are great soundboard recordings!!!!!!!!!

Finally in 1979 this double release was issued, and although I can't speak for other Queen fans, this is a letdown!!!!! The setlist had at this point gone beyond most of their early material and instead included only hits and newer album tracks. I prefer to hear the album tracks as Queen often dropped songs quickly, and here is a great version of "Spread Your Wings" that was gone from their set by 1981, never to return. Other great inclusions are the 12 minute "Brighton Rock" with full guitar solo by Brian May, and "Keep Yourself Alive", the only track from Queen's debut still to feature in the live show. Also, nothing from "Queen II", perhaps the best and most progressive of their 70's releases, appears here at all! Without consulting setlists of the age I can't be positive if anything was included in their set at this time from "Queen II." Many of the tracks only lasted until the Japanese shows in 1976 and never returned.

This could have been drawn out to a triple release, as fans would have spent the extra money to include a full show!! This release is a mixture of a bunch of shows from their '79 tour and lacks somewhat in continuity. Some of the greatest live tracks were left off this release completely, inculding "It's Late" and "Somebody To Love" to name just 2.

The sound quality is also not that great, and the 1991 remaster did not rectify this situation. It was no secret in 1979 that even members of the band, most notably Roger Taylor, disliked this release and made no qualms about saying so in interviews. If you are looking for some great Queen shows, e-mail me and I can point you in the right direction, but you won't get a full 70's concert unless you hit the bootleg market!!

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Send comments to silversaw (BETA) | Report this review (#70540)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A Killer Live Album! Great!

I have just reviewed another Live Album, by one of my all time favorite musicians, now its turn of another legendary band, and maybe my enthusiasm and feeling about this one is a bit better, and the reason is simply that i like it sooo much, is one of those Live albums which always makes you happy and for sure you will have a good time while listening to it (well, if you are a Queen hater im wrong then), but when we are talking of a moster or legendary band, the least we can do is give it a try, your personal opinion will be next to the listen.

Queen is that kind of bands that i personally dont play very often, but when it is, im always pleased and have a big smile on my face, after singing and shaking my little body , i mean that Queen always makes me happy, for some strange reason, so as you can say this review could be very personal.

Live Killers was released in 1979, those later 70`s and early 80`s years, were the highest and most succesful years in Queen`s career, the most representative songs, not talking only about progressive rock, but in the general Queen`s stuff were performed in this album, when the band was only one body kicking your asses and inviting you to have a great time with them, when Mr. Nice Guy and his powerful and superb voice showed the world who was the king, or Queen?, anyway, Brian May doing all his great solos, im not that fan of him, but we all know that he is a nice guitarist with a very particular and enjoyable style.

What i love of this live album, is the election of the songs, as i said above, the most of them are that songs that all people know, sadly and because of his poppish and mainstream time, everybody can sing We Are the Champions, or even Bicycle Race, anyway that`s not the point, the fact is that when a band gathered their most represwntative songs, is probably that you don`t turn your mind to other stuff but this, you will keep staying with your eyes opened and with your mouth about to sing, and what will you enjoy or sing?, nothing but the best that Queen could offer in that moment.

A salad of 22 songs created to enjoy the time and maintaining you alive, despite the Killers will, so here we can find all kind of songs, all kind of Queen`s passages, Progressive, Pop, Hard Rock, and why not, a couple of Balads. Some of them were performed arranged specially to the concert, i mean something like a medley, for example Bicycle Race is not the complete song, is just a shot of 2 minutes to jump and sing, but other songs were arranged to fly and close your eyes, this is the turn of Now im Here, a classic rocker song which is a great performance in this album.

My favorite tracks (as usual) here are Bohemian Rhapsody, Death on Two Legs, Im in Love in My Car, haha i love Brian singing, not the best song anyway, Dont Stop Me Now, Brighton ock and Sheer Heart Attack are ones that i remember now , which have made me have a good time , and the songs that everybody loves like We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, or Killer Queen are also performed here.

Maybe the weaker points, or at least my less favorite moments here is when they play Youre my Best Friend or Let Me Entertain You, but the concert or Live Album as a whole is great for me.

So after that reasons, mainly because i really enjoy it when im listening to it,i will give it 4 stars, vere a masterpiece of progressive rock, it simply isn`t, but highly recommendable for any prog fan.

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#87573)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars This album is probably the most dissappointing album I have ever bought. Queen has always been one of my favorite bands, but on this album they prove that their songs seem irrepricable live. Some of the songs are only played halfway through and mixing right into other songs (killer queen, bicycle race and i'm in love with my car) Queen just isn't queen on this cd.

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Send comments to proghairfunk (BETA) | Report this review (#89611)
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars A good live album, with a great setlist. The production is a bit lacking, with the music a bit in the back. The album does succeed in bringing the live atmosphere to life, and of course the build-up of songs helps to get you involved.

By this time Queen had their live show pretty much worked out, starting with some heavy openers (We Will Rock You/Let Me Entertain You/Death On Two Legs) After that it's Play The Hits time, with songs like Bicicle Race, Killer Queen, You're My Best Friend, it all builds up to again some heavy material in which Freddie plays a bit with the audience and Brian can showcase his guitar abbility on Now I'm Here.

Room is created for a bit more relaxing with some accoustic guitar tracks, especially '39 works out great in this set, and of course Love Of My Life is one of the favourites, though I am still looking for a live version with piano. the first album ends with a great version of Keep Yourself Alive, one of my favourite tracks of this album.

The second disc starts with two piano driven songs Don't Stop Me Now and Spread Your Wings, both are very good versions, better than the album versions IMO, especially Spread Your Wings works out great. Brighton Rock set's us back into rocking mood, with an extended guitar solo from Brian, he started playing this solo in the Smile Days and he does so ever still, great moments.

Bohemian Rhapsody can be played live as Queen proofs here, in earlier years they skipped the Opera mid-section, but soon they just went off-stage and let a tape run and have the audience listen and participate with that returning on stage again for the grand metal final. After that two heavy songs are played to rock out for the audience, very good really.

The show ends as it should, with the fabulous and suited We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions final, ended with he national Anthemn, for the band to receive their applause.

This album is not an integral live show, but a collection from different shows, and with the not too great sound production I can't really recomend it, but since it's the only official live album to come from the 70's it's certainly worth it for the fans.

Good music, Great show, but lacking in production.

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Send comments to tuxon (BETA) | Report this review (#92138)
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
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?

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Send comments to clarke2001 (BETA) | Report this review (#103126)
Posted Thursday, December 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yeah not a bad live album, a double one at that covering the most of Queen's reportoire up to 1979. Visually watching Queen live, is, IMO better than listening to them live as they had such a stage prescence and who can deny Freddy Mercury that leading role. All the songs are good, never been keen on the medlies. Genesis sucked big time doing it too but the album packs some serious punch and overall it is very entertaining. I wouldn't give more than three stars though.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#103405)
Posted Sunday, December 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's actually an excellent live record. But I got trouble with the quality of sounds produced by this record. Of course I know that in typical live record the sonic quality is less as compared to studio version. But the problem with this record is the live ambient that is so crowded so that that the people shout are too much in this album. Beside the sound quality this is a good performance by the band. The stream of music delivered from the anthem "We Will Rock You" (3:29) continued with "Let Me Entertain You" (3:04) is good enough to burn the audience. These two opening tracks are performed so lively and in terms of power and energy these two are much better than the original version. What follow is then my all-time favorite "Death on Two Legs" (3:32) which starts off with Freddie's piano work. You suck my blood like a leech / You break the law and you preach / Screw my brain till it hurts / You've taken all my money / And you want more . wow man . what a great tune even though this song was intended as an expression of anger to someone.

"Killer Queen" (1:59) - "Bicycle Race" (edited version) (1:28) - "I'm in Love With My Car" (2:01) continue to be my favorite as well. The selection of songs for this live set is excellent. Unfortunately my all-time favorite "Tenement Funste - Flick The Wrist - Lily of the Valley" has never been played live in audio or video recording from the band. In fact this trilogy song is truly fabulous and it represents my first introduction with Queen. Until now, I keep playing it. It's really awesome! But it's okay with this live set as "Brighton Rock" is also featured.

It's a good record for those who love rock live concert and especially love Queen.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#121008)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
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.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#133376)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Have a look at the track list : impressive.

The minus points : short versions of great songs like "Killer Queen", "Bicycle Race" and "I'm in Love With My Car" aren't exactly what you would expect from a Queen concert. And they are linked together in a kind of medley. Too bad.

Since this album is a kaleidoscope of their concerts in the first quarter of 1979, there is no feeling of unity during this live album. I have always preferred the live albums done in one take (like "Heep Live") or almost (like "Made In Japan").

"You and I are going to sing".When you hear these words you know that some karaoke style rendition is coming. The problem is to do such a treat with a great song as "Now I'm Here" (one of my fave from the band). After the classic track, be ready for the worse. This song is extended to almost NINE minutes of which four of "great" audience participation. But I'm probably getting too old to appreciate these "performances" even while I attend concerts.

The same will happen with "Love Of My Life" which is introduced as : "we like everybody to join". And the audience will do). Fortunately we'll get some great rocking moment to close the first vinyl disc of the original work with "Keep Yourself Alive" (including a short drum solo).

The second disc is globally better. "Don't Stop Me Now" is particularly well rendered. But I have always had a kind eye to this song. And "Spread Your Wings" is another audience support track.

Now, "Brighton Rock". My fave out of the great "Sheer". But to extend this one to over twelve minutes was probably not the best thing "Queen" did. I understand very well that some songs can be extended while being played live. If only the extension is worthwhile. I can't really say so about this one. The guitar solo is rather average in comparison of Brian's gigantic capabilities. The master of this genre IMHHO is the one and only Jimi Hendrix. This one is far, very far from the heights of the master.

And when the audience is shouting Mustapha, Mustapha, Freddie is starting it but it will be soon turned into Bohemian Rhapsody. Yes, this is also one of my favorite Queen song. I discovered it while it was brought out to the market and I can tell you that in 1975, it was quite an experience to experience such a great song. Queen did use some tape facilities to render this glorious number. And rather well; I must admit. Anyway the wind blows...

The last three songs from this live album might irritate lots of you but they belong to a genuine part of Queen. I have listened to them countless times (I'm talking about only two of them). Each time I attend a major sports event (and I am a HUHE sports fans). And I like them a lot.

Three stars for this Live Killers.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#160499)
Posted Friday, February 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is truly one of the beasts from the 1970s.

I heard it first time in my two year's older cousin's birthday party back in 1979. I thought this album was very heavy back then. Too heavy. I thought Queen was the heaviest band on this planet back then. The sound was more a brick wall than a collection of melodies. I got my own copy fifteen years later and my view on this album totally changed.

The music does not need any introduction. I regard Queen as a Vaudeville troupe with a lot of genres thrown into one band. From power pop to progressive rock, heavy metal and rock. That is the best label I can come up with. Frankly; I find Queen a bit confusing and that in a positive meaning of the word. Queen was a highly entertaining band and deserves top rating for their ability to make us all smile.

Live Killers is one of the live albums which was made to make the listeners grin like a happy cat. The drums, bass and guitars are pretty heavy. Freddie Mercury's smoothes the music out with his antics, songs and vocal abilities. I want longer songs and less catchy pop and sing-along songs. But the inclusion of Brighton Rock and the Bohemian Rhapsody satisfy my needs. But musically; this is not a four star album.

So why four stars ? Every band deserves an epitaph. Queen has more epitaphs than Winston Churchill in the form of best off and golden this and that albums. But for me; Queen is best described with one double live album: Live Killers. I am by no means a fan of this band. But I still think this is one of the defining live albums from the 1970s. This album is a beast from the past, no less. As fitting for a live album from the 1970s; Live Killers is totally over the top and highly entertaining. It is camp and it is gay. It is full of life. It is excess all areas. It is cheesy. It makes me smile. It makes me laugh. It makes me listening. It make me want to live. It makes me want to hear more music like this. It makes me appreciate this band and I want more from them. I like this band (but don't write this on my tombstone). It is a four star album and an essential live album.

4 stars (given without shame)

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#248093)
Posted Wednesday, November 04, 2009 | Review Permalink

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