Sound — 6
Ok, so it's 1981, Queen have just released their Greatest Hits album worldwide to massive sucess. Their last studio album was The Game, a world wide chart topper spawning such number ones as Another One Bites the Dust & Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Their recent tour of South America had set attendence records. Queen were definetly aband in top form. So they decided tostage two separate gigs in Montreal, Canada for the purpose of recording a film. Yet this DVD doesn't seem to capture it. The audience just don't get into it, now many excuses has made made for the two gigs this DVD is compiled from, but that is the top and bottom of it. Love of My Life is a perfect example of this, the audiences in South America sang this word perfect, in english, and yet the Montreal crowd, just doesn't. The band don't get into it at all, they seem annoyed, something which has since been blamed on the director. The tracks from The Game also miss the synthesizers that were used to create them. The sound itself however isn't bad at all, Queen spend a lot of time making sure these things go out with the highest quality. 2.0 PCM Stereo and 5.1 DTS come with this. The Live Aid performance is of course a different matter, it is widely accepted to be the greatest live performance ever, and you'd be hard pushed to find someone to disagree. Sound wise though, it's not as good as the concert proper, although it too comes with the same sound options.
Content — 8
Now as ever, the content of this Queen DVD, isn't bad at all, the set is slightly Greatest Hits-ish, but that's only to be expected really. 01. We Will Rock You (fast) (May) 02. Let Me Entertain You (Mercury) 03. Play The Game (Mercury) 04. Somebody To Love (Mercury) 05. Killer Queen (Mercury) 06. I'm In Love With My Car (Taylor) 07. Get Down, Make Love (Mercury) 08. Save Me (May) 09. Now I'm Here (May) 10. Dragon Attack (May) 11. Now I'm Here (reprise) (May) 12. Love Of My Life (Mercury) 13. Under Pressure (Queen/Bowie) 14. Keep Yourself Alive (with impromptu jam before the song) (May) 15. Drum Solo/Tympani Solo (Queen/Taylor) 16. Guitar Solo/Guitar and Drum Duel (May) 17. Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Mercury) 18. Jailhouse Rock (Lieber, Stoller) 19. Bohemian Rhapsody (Mercury) 20. Tie Your Mother Down (May) 21. Another One Bites The Dust (Deacon) 22. Sheer Heart Attack (Taylor) 23. We Will Rock You (May) 24. We Are The Champions (Mercury) 25. God Save The Queen (tape) (arr. May) Jailhouse Rock is rather bizarrely in the wrong place on the DVD, something which is justified by continuity apparently. The audio commentary. The concert is cut aswell, missing out Flash & The Hero, the visuals being left on the cutting room floor apparently. This is the first live performance of Under Pressure, and it doesn't really show. A audio commentary from both Brian May & Roger Taylor is available for the first disc, and although lacks anything new, is generally funny to listen to two best friends watching themselves on screen. The Live Aid disc comes with the entire set aswell as Is This The World We Created which Brian & Freddie did later on. It comes with a news clip featuring rehersals for it. Brian messing around on Hammer To Fall is good. And a bizarre North American feature aswell.
Production Quality — 8
This was the first full length concert to be filmed in 35mm. And it shows. The original negatives have been put through a machine at NASA, which has cleaned off any dirt and what not you might have expected to see. It also leaves it with a rather dry matt look to it. I already know it's not to some peoples tastes, but I really like it. The quality is much better than anything they have ever released before. The camera work and the edit however aren't so good, the director didn't know the show, and the camera are a bit aimless. The worst part of the previous releases (this is at least the 3rd release of this gig), was the obvious parts where the footage was from one night & the audio from the other. This has been fixed in this relase, or at least it isn't so obvious. The lighting rig is good here, and you get some good shots of it as well. Moving heads being used, although they are actually being controlled by someone. The Live Aid footage suffers from being old tape, Betamax, and being in 4:3, but that doesn't take much away from the great performance.
Overall Impression — 7
Queen have high standards, I've already said in other reviews, that Live At Wembley is perhaps the best live release many will ever see, and in such illustrious company, Queen Rocks Montreal doesn't really stand up to them. It proves however you can film concerts on actual film, something which they did again, and AC/DC would do. And the quality of the footage and audio are the two savings graces for a perhaps above average performance. If I lost this version of the concert I probably wouldn't buy it again. But I bet the newly released high definition versions will be a different prospect.