On the bonus disc we get live versions of “Flash,” and “The Hero,” from Montreal in 1981. The remaining four tracks, “Flash,” “The Hero,” “The Kiss,” and “Football Fight” are all early, unreleased takes.
Hot Space (1982)
After the detour of Flash Gordon, fans were hoping for a “real” Queen album, and we got it with Hot Space. For me, this is the most underrated album of Queen’s career. It came at a time when Queen were becoming “uncool” in the U.S., and only reached number 22 on the Billboard charts. Hot Space fared much better around the world, and I think it is unfortunate that a lot of people here just never really heard it.
Of course there was no denying the absolute brilliance of their collaboration with David Bowie, “Under Pressure,” although it did not do all that well in the marketplace either. Yet when Bowie sings “It’s the terror of knowing what this world is about” to Mercury's passionate “Why can’t we give love, give love one more chance?” we hear two complete masters at work. Other standout tracks include “Body Language,” “Staying Power,” and “Calling All Girls.”
The bonus EP included with Hot Space contains powerful live takes of “Action This Day,“ and “Calling All Girls” from Tokyo in 1982. There is also a live version of “Staying Power” from a 1982 show at the Milton Keynes Bowl. Finally, we have John Deacon’s remix of his own “Back Chat,” and the non-LP B-side to “Under Pressure,” “Soul Brother.”
The four extremely talented men behind Queen were always ready to take on new challenges, and they were constantly experimenting stylistically. The middle period of their career, which this second box set represents, reflects a band who still had a lot to say. This was a very unique time for the Queen, and one well worth looking back on.