"This is a night we'll never forget," Freddie Mercury told a very appreciative Hungarian audience of 80,000 fans during Queen's July 27, 1986 performance. While no one knew this would be their final concert of their last tour, all involved knew it was a historic event as Queen was the first rock band to play at the Népstadion in Budapest, three years before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Realizing the implications, the Hungarian authorities organized the best of their country's filmmakers to capture the event for posterity. Now, there's no question that the remastering of these sounds and visions into high definition and 5.1 surround sound gives Queen fans, new and old, a night to remember as well.
Modern viewers and listeners can enjoy the experience on DVD, Blu-ray, and/or CD, but the best bet is the "Deluxe Edition" with the Blu-ray and two CDs bundled together. If you're like me, you'll go for the concert film first. Throughout, it's clear to see Queen was nothing short of a full band of strong-minded equals firing on all cylinders. Live, we can really hear the power and depth of Roger Taylor on drums, especially as he's permitted to stretch out in many of the instrumental sections. We can see Freddie Mercury not only holding the audience in perfect awe—making them the fifth member of the band in the various sing-alongs—but showing off his often overlooked chops as a keyboard player. It's wonderful to hear Brian May jamming on his own again, notably in the simply titled "Guitar Solo."
From beginning to end, we see and hear a band at the peak of their powers not content to shoot for note-for-note recreations of their studio work, but rather shape performances aimed directly for those lucky enough to be filling the stadium seats. For the Magic tour, Queen drew from the full catalogue of their work but didn't give the audience a mere greatest hits set list. Promoting their new A Kind of Magic release, they opened the show with their newest single, "One World", the more familiar "Tie Your Mother Down," and then offered a series of lesser-known album tracks like "In The Lap Of The Gods," "Seven Seas Of Rhye," and "Tear It Up." After presenting the new "A Kind Of Magic" and 1981's "Under Pressure," they played the now poignantly prophetic "Who Wants To Live Forever" from Highlander and "I Want To Break Free."