Eagle Rock Entertainment has done it yet again. This is not a company that rests easily on its laurels. Every live recording that the company has released this year has been just as good as or better than the previous. And now with the year winding down, Eagle Rock has released what is one of its best releases so far this year in Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest.
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest is Queen at its finest. For any classic rock lovers and Queen fans in general, this new deluxe set is important not just for the performance itself but for what the performance meant. It was a victory not just for Queen and for rock music as a whole, but it was a major turning point, politically speaking. As Rhys Thomas writes in the liner notes of the set, “It was the first stadium show by a Western act to be held behind the ‘Iron Curtain.’” Some might ask about that, why that is important. It’s important because it represented the opening up of certain groups of individuals to Western influence of any kind. It represented a political shift in that side of the world. For Queen to be able to say it was the first band to do so had to have been an honor.
Having been invited as the first band to perform behind the ‘Iron Curtain’, the band showed its appreciation to the people of Hungary for the invitation as a whole with an absolutely amazing show. The band’s energy spread throughout the Nepstadion throughout its more high energy pieces such as ‘Tear It Up’, Tie Your Mother Down’, and the show’s opener, ‘One Vision.’ And even in the concert’s more reserved moments such as ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’, Under Pressure’ and ‘I Want To Break Free’ received highly positive response from the audience in attendance. They are of course, just a small sampling of everything that the band had to offer in its landmark performance. The set list also includes the band’s perennial favorites, ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘We Are The Champions.’ There’s even a cover of ‘Tutti Frutti’ that exemplifies the band’s ability with other styles of music, too. The first half of the song is a full-on acoustic cover, while the second half absolutely rocks out. It shows the band’s abilities with other styles and will have audiences of any age moving and dancing in their own living rooms, bedrooms, and cars.
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest is stunning from the set list itself. Every band has shows that every fan considers to be the band’s best. With the case of this recording, there is no doubt that this performance is the band’s best. Mr. Thomas is correct in writing in the accompanying liner notes that this performance is Queen at the top of its game. There is something about the band’s performance that stands out from any of its others. It could be the band’s energy. It could be the response of the audience. It could be both together. Regardless, this performance is the prime performance from Queen. Add in that Mr. Thomas also states in the liner notes that the band did this show although there was no profit to be made from it, and audiences gain a whole new respect for the band not just as musicians, but also as people. It makes this performance that much more important in the career of Queen. Needless to say it makes this concert that much more of a career defining performance. Sure, that term is thrown about a lot with musical acts. But there can be no argument about it with this performance.
Nearly three decades have passed since this performance was originally recorded. In that time, the importance of the concert hasn’t been lost on its audiences both for its set list and for what it meant to the world. For home audiences it will mean even more considering the quality of the footage transfer from its original 35mm format to Blu-ray and CD. Both the video and audio qualities of this performance are just as impressive as the set list and its energy combined. Again, thanks to Eagle Rock, audiences can enjoy that high quality transfer as it has been put to both a double-disc CD set and single-disc Blu-ray in a complete triple disc Deluxe set that’s available both in stores and online now. For the Queen fan in anyone’s house, it can be ordered direct online at Eagle Rock Entertainment’s website, http://www.eagle-rock.com.
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