When I first heard about Queen, well, Brian May and Roger Taylor, coming out of retirement for the first time since Freddy Mercury's death, I can't say that I was all that interested. Especially since they chose Paul Rodgers to handle the vocal chores. I mean come on! Rodger's is certainly one of the greatest rock singers of all time, but to sing Freddy Mercury's songs? Could these two guys be more polar opposites? My wife has commented numerous times about how macho looking and sounding Rodgers is. Now, you can describe Mercury's unique style in many ways, but macho is not one of them. He was certainly no Rob Halford. Oh, wait a minute.
I figured, if anything, Queen would pick some Brit-pop singer like Robbie Williams, or maybe that skinny dude from The Darkness to replace Mercury. At least somebody who embodies his style a little bit more. The curious thing was that I started seeing all of these great reviews for the new Queen and Rodgers collaboration, aptly titled Queen + Paul Rodgers Return Of The Champions. So when I came across the DVD on sale one day, I said what the hell, lets give her a try - and I'm glad I did.
Return Of The Champions was filmed at Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield, England on May 9th, 2005. The show was brilliantly captured by award winning director David Mallet using eighteen high-definition cameras and it looks and sounds amazing. Then again, all of the Queen concert videos put most others to shame. The show kicks off humbly with Rodgers walking alone down a huge catwalk that extends from the still curtain covered stage while singing "Reaching Out", the new single that was released to promote the DVD/CD. The song lasts for only a minute and then Brian May strolls out from behind the curtain playing the killer intro riff to "Tie Your Mother Down". Cued exactly with Roger Taylor's first cymbal crash, the billion watt light show (I'm not kidding) kicks in full force just as the curtain drops. The crowd is now in ecstasy.