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Live Killers

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(58 Reviews)

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  • Throughout the annals of history regarding rock music, no artist, band, or whatever has ever or will ever live up to Queen in terms of combining a great studio work with great live presence. Sure, Kiss is a tremendous live band, and the Beatles were masters of the studio, but Queen combines both elements and does it with their own flair.Spanning the first seven or so albums of the band’s career (which I consider to be their musical, if not always popular, prime), Live Killers is the best representation of Queen’s stage power that can be obtained without going through unauthorized and unreleased material. More than just a “Greatest Hits” album with bad sound, Live Killers also digs deep into the albums and pulls out songs that the average music fan may have never heard, e.g. ‘Love of My Life,’ ‘Death On Two Legs,’ ‘I’m In Love With My Car,’ etc.The entire Queen live experience is highly intimate, as Freddie Mercury plays to the crowd and tries to connect with them throughout the show. The acoustic set is especially this way, as the boys go ‘unplugged’ and do an almost sing-along type thing. Interestingly enough, all the songs in the acoustic set are drastically different than their studio counterparts.But, all acoustic intimacy put aside, the true power of Queen’s live shows is their energy, unique sound, and ability to serenade you one second and blow you away with something vile or vulgar or just plain heavy the next. Queen delivers the highly sexual ‘Get Down, Make Love’ and then follows it with the soft sentimental ballad ‘You’re My Best Friend.’Throughout the show we learn of just how great Freddie Mercury is as a singer, pianist, and showman. Then, in a rare occurence, the amazing vocals and harmonies for which the band is best known take a back seat and let the guitars and drums take over on ‘Brighton Rock,’ with Brian May’s complex guitar solo, Roger Taylor’s energetic tympani work, and the culmination, a mini jam session with Brian, Roger, and bassist John Deacon.The limits placed on the reviews here keep me from doing my usual and going down the line, individually talking about every single song. There is too much to be said about this piece of work, truly an ‘essential recording.’ Therefore I will try to put this into a small piece right here: Live Killers is the best live album I have ever heard, and it is the only double album that can even come near reaching the greatness of Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti, which is by far the standard by which all double albums should be measured (perhaps only my opinion, but this is my review). If one were to only buy one piece of Queen’s work, I would recommend that it be this, not a “Greatest Hits” album, for with the exception of ‘Somebody to Love,’ this is the best of the best. Their 80’s material was great and all, but not earth-shattering.Like no other band, Queen took both hard rock and over-the-top excess campy songs, added highly elaborate sound and light systems, put it all together, and made it work. From the in-your-face opening version of ‘We Will Rock You’ (for those who don’t know yet, the first version is an upbeat rocker with full musical complement throughout the song, while the show’s antepenultimate track is the version we all know from sporting events and the radio) to ‘We Are The Champions’ and even while the boys take their bows during ‘God Save the Queen,’ something special in the air lets us know that there will never be another band with the power, presence, and talent of Queen.

    Posted on January 25, 2010