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The most complete edition of an all-star tribute to dateQueen - The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
(Eagle Rock Entertainment)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
November 9, 2013
Review by Andy ArgyrakisFrom the days of VHS and Laserdisc to the first DVD edition, the track listing on 1992's "The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert" has never been quite right. Every version omitted performances from the historic day, and while the latest SD Blu-ray/triple DVD installment still doesn't capture the entire event verbatim, it's by far the most comprehensive souvenir thus far. For those who can get past deleted opening performances from Extreme, Def Leppard, Spinal Tap and U2 (via satellite), plus a shortened Queen + Robert Plant set, there's still plenty to devour as practically every major star of the era pays tribute to the late great flamboyant front man.
Out of the opening acts that are included, Metallica and Guns N' Roses not only appear at their top of their game, but absolutely steal that portion of the show with their rarely rivaled hard rock thunder. Come the main concert starring the surviving Queen members with several guest collaborators, Roger Daltrey and Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi keep the flames blazing during "I Want It All," while Plant has no trouble nailing the more acoustically-framed "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." However, the runaway first half highlight is a haunting David Bowie/Annie Lennox rendition of "Under Pressure," with Bowie continuing to captivate on his own "Heroes" and an impromptu recitation of "The Lord's Prayer" on bended knee.
Come the latter portion of the performance, George Michael makes the best case for Mercury's uninhabitable throne with the smash "Somebody To Love," followed by Elton John and Axl Rose blending their unique chemistries on a once-in-a-lifetime "Bohemian Rhapsody" duet. As the incomparable Liza Minnelli leads the entire cast through the "We Are The Champions" finale, it feels more like a celebration for Mercury's life rather than a somber memorial of his death, and the fact that this is being re-released yet again over 20 years later shows his star hasn't dimmed in the slightest. Throw in an extensive documentary first seen on the tenth anniversary DVD with several newly unearthed rehearsal segments, and it's the most comprehensive tribute the king of Queen has ever seen outside of being at Wembley Stadium on that magical day.
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