Tuesday, September 9, 2014

RECORD REVIEW: Queen "Live at the Rainbow '74"

Live at the Rainbow '74
Hollywood Records

A brash and hungry young
rock band on the cusp of 
global super-stardom  
captured live in its prime.

During the early to mid 1970s, Queen was one-of-a-kind. The band's sound was every bit as heavy as that of Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple yet it wasn't restrained by blues-inspired shackles. Queen's live show was explosive and theatrical — while (for the most part) steering clear of the KISS and Alice Cooper-like camp factor. And overall, the band was simply more intriguing and possessed more street cred than most of its bloated British contemporaries. But what made Queen truly special was that Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon were not only monstrous, badass musicians, but that they wrote great songs. Today, nearly 45 years following its conception, the band's legacy lives on. And despite Mercury's passing in 1991, Queen continues to reign among rock's royaltyAnd that's what makes this newly-released multi-record package such a treat it captures the iconic band in its prime, live onstage.

A must-have for any dedicated fan, this incredible multi-disc, 41-song package offers two complete classic 1974 Queen concert performances at London's famed Rainbow TheatreThe first concert was recorded in March, during the Queen II tour  the second, taking place just eight months later, during the Sheer Heart Attack tour.

QUEEN - Circa '74
(Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury)
The two set lists are similar, and feature the band's best from its self-titled 1973 debut, as well as selected gems from its sophomore release. However, the second concert offers an expanded song selection that also includes prime nuggets from Sheer Heart Attack.

Musically, Queen had nuts and guts to spare — particularly during this period. And that raw, savage vibe comes across throughout as loud and clear as the band's lively and adoring audience. May's signature guitar style, along with Taylor's masterful drum technique and Mercury's iconic vocals sound as powerful and potent here as when these shows first were recorded 40 years ago. 

QUEEN - Live at the Rainbow '74
(An impressive package)
Simply put, Queen's songs clearly have stood the test of time. Noteworthy tracks featured in both concerts include "Son and Daughter" and "Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll" from Queen, as well as "Father to Son" and "Ogre Battle" from Queen II.

However, the BIG payoffs include "Keep Yourself Alive" from Queen"Seven Seas of Rhye" and "Liar" from Queen II and "Killer Queen" and "Stone Cold Crazy" from Sheer Heart Attack. Even the remake of Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" is a high-energy highlight. "We will rock you," indeed! (QueenOnline.com)

-Christopher Long
(September 2014)

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