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DVD Review: Queen – Under Review – 1980-1991

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I am not certain that a hardcore Queen fanatic would garner much from this, the next installment in the Chrome Dreams Media, Queen Under Review series, a critical analysis of the band from 1980 until the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991.  Other than the satisfaction of the brilliant genius from Queen during this period being finally recognised by influential critics, Queen Under Review 1980-1991 is probably more enlightening to those of us who were too young to experience the earlier achievements of Queen in the 1970’s, only to discover them during the course of their temperate popularity in the 1980’s.

QueenThe in-depth discussion on this DVD, from acclaimed music journalists and other experts within the industry, is a positive accolade to a powerful revolutionary band.  This is an educational journey through each album release, and their twenty chart-topping singles between 1980 and 1991.  Dialogue focuses on Queen’s bold experimentation with a multitude of challenging genres, when others were looking back at an era of punk and new-wave pop was hitting the music scene.

I have always loved the music of Queen, but I don’t know Queen as a loyal fan would.  They grabbed my attention from the first day I heard their music and I have always taken it for granted that they were considered legends in the same way I viewed Led Zeppelin or The Stones.  I assumed it was a just a given that Queen were highly commended artists throughout their career.  It was quite surprising to learn that their popularity had somewhat waned in the United States following the release of the Flash Gordon soundtrack album in 1980.

Freddie Mercury at Live Aid 1985Queen Under Review 1980-1991 features snippets of Queen as an exuberant live act, including stadium performances such as that which stole the show at the Wembley Stadium “Live Aid” concert on July 13th, 1985 – often hailed as one of the greatest live sets of all time.  Unfortunately the documentary is deprived of any interviews with remaining band members.  Radio broadcaster and journalist, Paul Gambaccini, probably offers the closest connectivity, with an occasional revealing anecdote concerning his close friend, Freddie Mercury.

Overall, Queen Under Review 1980-1991 presents an intriguing retrospective on the music and personality of a band who were ultimately groundbreaking, extravagant, flamboyant, and an undeniable influential force on the landscape of contemporary rock music.

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