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Queen - Live Magic CD (album) cover




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1.89 | 92 ratings

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Easy Livin
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Under pressure. . .to fit it all in

"Live magic" captures Queen at pretty much the height of their career. The resurgence in their popularity which resulted from their appearance at "Live aid" is captured here in a succession of songs which were live anthems and pop classics.

OK, that's the good news. The bad news is that this album fails to satisfy. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most significant is that the compilers have tried to squeeze a quart into a pint pot. There are a total of 15 tracks, squeezed onto two sides of an LP. This results in many of the songs being abbreviated.

The album is made up of songs taken from three separate gigs, two in the United Kingdom, and one in Hungary. Such is Queen's professionalism that in reality it matters not where the recordings took place, the sound and the crowd's reaction is the same. There is no doubt that these recordings capture some of the excitement of a Queen gig; from the opening "One vision" through "Tie your mother down" and "Seven seas of Rhye", the band rapidly wind up the crowd to a frenzy.

One purpose the album does serve is to demonstrate the strength of the song-writing talent throughout the band. All four band members have songs included which can be classified as Queen classics. The emphasis is largely on Queen's then more recent numbers, with songs such as "Killer Queen", "Brighton rock". Everything from the first album is ruthlessly (if understandably, some were on 1979's "Live Killers") omitted. The six songs on side one of the LP are largely unabridged, with only "Seven seas of Rhye" being cut down to segue into "A kind of magic".

The shortened tracks on the second side are presented as a sort of medley, leading to disappointing renditions of songs such as "Friends will be friends". The anthems "We are the champions", "Radio ga-ga" and "We will rock you" inevitably wind the crowd up further, Freddie by now has them in the palm of his hands. There is though a feeling of coldness and aloofness to it all.

For me, an integral part of the appeal of Queen's music is the quality of the studio production, and the perfect nature of the final product. In a live environment, such qualities are given lesser importance. It is therefore necessary to witness the performance to gain full satisfaction from it, not to simply hear it. As live Queen albums go, this is adequate, but in terms of the Queen discography it is far from essential.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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