They will rock you…in glorious HD!

After the historical “Live Aid” concert, supergroup Queen was planning to take a break. Instead, the concert reinvigorated them, and they decided to produce a new album (“A Kind of Magic”) and go out on another tour. It would be the final live performances by the original group members. Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest (Blu-ray) chronicles one of the stops on their tour. Being in Hungary was historic — not only had the group never been there but they were the first Western act allowed to perform a stadium show behind the Iron Curtain.

If you’re a fan of Queen and you don’t already own a copy of this concert film, stop reading and go out and purchase Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest (Blu-ray) now.

Interspersed with clips of each of the four band members (John Deacon, Brian May, Freddie Mercury, and Roger Taylor) wandering Budapest doing their own thing are twenty-three of the twenty-seven songs performed at the show. It’s exactly what it promises to be: a concert film. Thanks in part to the historic nature of the performance, it was captured on film as opposed to video and thus it feels timeless. Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest (Blu-ray) captures Freddie Mercury as the consummate showman he was, the literal definition of a front man. While Deacon, May, and Taylor get their moments, it’s clear that the cameras were pointed at Freddie for most of the show. I loved it and though the set list does share more than a passing similarity to Queen Live at Wembley ’86, I don’t think it’s necessary to choose one over the other. I’d recommend both, especially once “Wembley” gets the Blu-ray treatment as well.

The video is amazing. Originally shot on 35mm film, the 1.78:1/1080p HD transfer is more flawless than you can believe. The definition borders on ridiculous in clarity. The palette is rich and clear with beautifully deep blacks and blues and wonderfully light whites. And the sound? Forget about it! This is a remarkable re-mastering. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track darn near blew my system out. There are no complaints here and only praise. I cannot recall another set where there was so much love poured into the restoration. It had to be love for it to have turned out as marvelous as it did. This is a piece of history worth restoring to its glory. Simply amazing.

The special features are great, a real treat. The first is a documentary about the group’s year after “Live Aid” and includes now priceless interviews with the late Freddie Mercury. I loved learning new things, like how Queen had been approached to write a song for Highlander multiple times before finally consenting to sit and watch the 20-minute package cobbled together from what had been already shot. I was thrilled with the inclusion of the two compact discs of the concert as well. They include four songs whose concert footage has been lost to the ages.

This is a no-brainer. Go buy this Blu-ray now.


Guilty only of making me wish there was more.

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