I might never have even looked at this video if not for my older daughter, who wasn't even born when Queen was at their height. She watched some of my old videos that I recorded in the '80s and was fascinated (as are others of her generation, it seems) by some of Queen's videos and each of the band members. So when Queen+Paul Rodgers came to the Jersey Meadowlands just this last Sunday I took her to her first Rock Concert! It wasn't something I was anxious to do. I watched Queen's rise and was frankly bummed out when Freddie died of AIDS. As talented as the other band members are, what would Queen be without Freddie?
Well, I figured this might be her last chance to see what was left of Queen live so we went. Was I ever surprised. To answer the most obvious question, Paul Rodgers is not Freddie Mercury, but to his credit, he IS a major talent and he doesn't try to be a substitute Freddie. His performance recalls how the master did it, but doesn't overdo it.
In fairness this should have been called "Half of Queen and Paul Rodgers," but the production (the Concert I saw AND this DVD) is masterfully conceived and arranged. It is a fine touch that they don't try to give us a sentimental retrospective but a lively performance strengthened by long time backup performers. Brian and Roger sing lead on several songs and give us a good dose of what they do best on drum and guitar. Paul Rodgers performs some of his '60s hits, including "All Right Now" which was fabulous with Queen as the band backing it up.
Of special note was the performance of "Hammer to Fall." If you ever doubted what the song was really about (no, it's not nuclear war) the way Brian May (who wrote it) performs the first half, as a slow ballad on acoustic guitar, brings the message home in a very affecting manner. Then Paul Rodgers comes in as lead, and the band breaks into the power of the hard rock version we are more familiar with. A powerful performance.
So, if you buy this as nostalgia, so be it. But a lot of the audience was too young to be nostalgic about Queen; they were there for the music, the performance, the energy. This is not Memory Lane; it is the work of a band that is full of life and talent. The production values of the live performance are well reflected in this video. A must MUST-have for Queen fans ... and those who will be.