rock in rio

REVIEW: Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody – The Original Soundtrack (2018)

QUEEN – Bohemian Rhapsody – The Original Soundtrack (2018 Hollywood Records)

“Best Queen greatest hits yet,” said a trusted fellow Rock Connoisseur.  “Nahh”, I thought, remembering the red and blue CDs I grew old with.  But his theory might just hold water.  For fans new and old, listening to the Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack from start to finish is very satisfying.

The movie’s getting torn to shreds by the critics.  Don’t let that scare you away from the album.  Worth the price of admission for die hard fans is the new Queen version of the “20th Century Fox Fanfare”.  Who needs an orchestra when you have a Brian May?  Then it’s “Somebody to Love”, which you can imagine playing over the opening credits, can’t you?

“Doing All Right…revisited” is a pre-Freddie version of the Queen song, by the pre-Freddie version of the band, called Smile.  This is a first for collectors, and is hopefully a taste of more Smile music to come.  Moving on chronologically, it’s the scorching classic “Keep Yourself Alive” from the legendary Live at the Rainbow ’74.  Because Queen was one of the greatest live bands of all time, having live tracks mixed in with hits won’t phase the old fans.  Folks out there who hate live versions (yes they exist) will whine that the originals aren’t included.  That’s OK because sometimes Queen live was actually as good or better than Queen in the studio.  “Keep Yourself Alive” is one such track.

One can’t fault the song selection.  “Killer Queen”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “Under Pressure”, “Another One Bites the Dust” and “We Will Rock You (in a movie remix) represent the radio perennials.   Other favourite Queen songs are present in a mini-set from Live Aid.  It’s not the whole set, unfortunately, but a large slice:  “Bohemian Rhapsody” (also present earlier on the CD in its studio version), “Radio Ga-Ga” “Hammer to Fall” and “We Are the Champions” are stellar performances from an historic concert.  No one is poorer for having these.

You may question your need to own a remix of “Don’t Stop Me Now” with too much guitar, or a live “Now I’m Here” from the Night at the Odeon album.  Well, you’d do it to get “Fat Bottomed Girls”, which was chopped from the Live Killers album, or “Love of My Life” from Rock In Rio in front of 500,000 people.  It’s a trade-off with you as the winner.

4.5/5 stars

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REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Live In Rio 2001

Next in line of my reviews from Record Store Excursion 2012!  Check out the video below if you missed it.  This one bought at Sonic Boom Music at Bloor and Bathurst.

MIKE AND AARON GO TO TORONTO

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FOO FIGHTERS  – Live In Rio 2001 (2012 IMC Music Ltd.)

This is sort of an oddball release, fully 11 years after the concert itself, on some weird label called Immortal.  This is probably taken from the Rock In Rio 2001 broadcast.  Bootlegs from that show are pretty common.  I have a Guns N’ Roses bootleg from the same concerts.  I believe they were on pay-per-view.

I’ve heard some people complain that Dave Grohl screams too much live, and he certainly does scream a lot in this show.  If you’re not into it, I get it.  It doesn’t bother me personally.  His vocals are a bit shaky, as it sounds like he’s doing a lot of jumping around.

Sound quality is decent.  I look at these as really well made bootlegs.  Don’t expect anything that sounds like a flawless modern live album.  It’s perfectly listenable though.  You can hear all the instruments clearly enough (although bass is a bit muddy) and Dave’s vocal/screaming is up front and loud.

The setlist is jam packed full of early Foo classics.   13 songs, plus a little bit of “Happy Birthday” as the following day (Jan 14th 2001) was Dave’s birthday!

Amusingly, Dave dedicates “Monkey Wrench” to Guns N’ Roses who were playing the following day.  Dave says he’s never really seen Guns N’ Roses before.  Well, isn’t that Kurt’s fault, Dave?  You could have opened for them on the 1992 tour with Metallica!

There’s one weird flaw with the CD.  At the beginning at track 14, “Everlong” (not even listed on the CD), the wrong song begins.  Instead, it’s “Stacked Actors” which is also track 6.  This goes on for over two minutes, and finally it fades into a truncated “Everlong”.  I have no explanation.

3/5 stars

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Rock In Rio (2002)

Part 29 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

IRON MAIDEN – Rock In Rio (CD/DVD 2002)

With Bruce coming back and all, you just knew Maiden had to do a live album.  It would have been a great disservice not to do one.

Almost everyone and their pet Schnauzers will agree that Live After Death is the greatest live Maiden album of all time.  Some might even argue it’s the greatest live metal album of all time.  I would gladly invite any of those people over for perogies and conversation.

Where we start to differ is, what is the second best live Maiden album?

This is just LeBrain’s opinion, but I say it’s Rock In Rio.

I do remember carrying this in store when it was released in March 2002.  I also remember some customers saying, “Yeah, I’m not buying this one.  I don’t know any of these songs!”

Maybe they’d been living under a rock and missed the awesome Brave New World CD?  Whatever the case may be, I’m not the type that likes to buy the same live album over and over again.  Give me tracks that have never been released in live versions before.  Let me hear the new stuff, when it’s good enough to be on a live album.  And having enough good new stuff was not a problem for Maiden after Brave New World.

Maiden bravely started with an opening salvo of fresh music:  the first three songs from Brave New World:  “The Wicker Man”, “Ghost of the Navigator”, and the title track itself.  And the Brazilians went nuts.  Singing along at the top of their lungs, they clearly didn’t have the problem of not knowing the songs like my customers did!

Then, wisely, Maiden dug way back and pulled “Wrathchild” and Adrian’s classic “2 Minutes To Midnight” out of the hat.  And it sure is great finally hearing the old stuff played by the Three Amigos.  The three guitar lineup works so well, that I definitely never want Maiden to go back to two.

Another newbie is up next, “Blood Brothers”.  Once again, the crowd goes crazy singing along.  It must have been an incredibly loud night.

“Sign of the Cross” is the one I had been waiting for.  Anybody who felt that all the Blaze Bayley material would have been about 150 times better with Bruce singing will be happy campers.  “Sign of the Cross” is a brilliant song that finally reached it full potential with Bruce at the mic.   There is simply no comparison.

“The Mercenary” from Brave New World, and “The Trooper” provide a much needed fast-paced adrenaline boost after spending 10 minutes on the epic “Sign of the Cross”.   Bruce begins “The Trooper” with a stanza from Tennyson’s poem, but once he starts singing the crowd follows every word!  It’s hard to imagine how you could have even heard the band if you were in that crowd that night.

A couple more songs of recent vintage kick off disc 2.  “Dream of Mirrors” is one I personally could have done without, as its 10 minute length could have been taken up by two shorter songs.  But the crowd doesn’t seem to mind, clapping and screaming along with Bruce’s nightmare.  And then, “The Clansman”.  Once again, if anybody felt that the song never came to life with Blaze singing, then listen up.  This is a song that was built for performing live.

“Freedom!”  And once again, Rio goes wild.

And that’s it for the new stuff.  It’s nothing but back to back hits on the home stretch:  “The Evil That Men Do”, “Fear of the Dark”, “Iron Maiden”, “Number”, “Hallowed”, “Sanctuary”, and of course “Run to the Hills”.

Production by Kevin Shirley is crisp, clear, with great separation of the three guitars in the stereo field.  Absolutely no complaints.  And if that’s not good enough for ya, you can get the whole thing on a nice (5.1 surround) DVD package too.  The DVD in fact has some cool behind the scenes footage of all six Maiden members killing time.  Adrian likes to fish, for example.  It’s a chance to get to know all six members as people.

The single was “Run to the Hills” (again — third time this song was chosen as a single!) but I’m not going to bother discussing the B-sides too much.  While they are great, great vintage live recordings from 1982 with Clive Burr on drums, all of them were issued later on the massive Eddie’s Archive box set, as part of a live disc (and that happens to be our next stop anyway).  Check out the photos below for the tracklists.  “Total Eclipse”!  I like the painting of Bruce as Eddie.

“Scream for me Brazil!”  And scream they did.  And unless you’re stuck in the 1980’s like many of my old customers, you will too.

4.75/5 stars