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Queen

A Night At The Odeon DVD

Review by Greg Olma

Queen has gone through a number of musical changes, but their earlier material was definitely prog influenced. They never shied away from experimenting which created a sound that was uniquely their own.  No one sounds like Queen and quite honestly, while they have inspired many bands, to this day no one sounds like them.  I, unfortunately, was too young to see them during their prog rock peak, but thankfully the band and their management saw fit to film their 70s concerts.  This particular performance was recorded on Christmas Eve 1975 and really captures the band firing on all cylinders.  The group truly is greater than the sum of their parts which just goes to show you that each member could not be replaced.  Even though this concert is relatively no frills compared to today’s events, there is still something theatrically special about the performance.  Even though A Night At The Opera was released about a month prior to this concert film, they only really play “Bohemian Rhapsody" as part of a medley.  The rest of the set was culled from the previous three records along with another medley for the encore made up of covers featuring “Jailhouse Rock," “Stupid Cupid” and “Be-Bop-A-Lula." I’m not quite sure why the band decided to play a bunch of covers, especially since they had enough of their own material to choose from, but Uriah Heep did the same back in the 70s.  Aside from that minor complaint, the show comprised of great material like “Ogre Battle," “Keep Yourself Alive," “Son and Daughter” and “Killer Queen." If the first few records are the Queen era that you adore, then this is a dream set list.

The visuals of this concert film are quite good, even for today’s standards.  Like I mentioned earlier, the stage set up is nothing more than the band, amps and lighting (along with limited smoke and pyro), but the cameras capture the action perfectly.  The lighting is dramatic and theatrical and captures the mood of the show making you feel as though you are there in the crowd.  As far as bonus features are concerned, there is a featurette on the concert with older footage along with some newer interviews with Brian May and Roger Taylor.  Along with that you get three songs of a Japanese show recorded back in May of that same year.  That footage is not quite as crisp as the Odeon show but well worth multiple viewings.  This package actually put in bonus material that you would want to watch more than just once.  From all of the Queen DVDs that are available, this one is definitely my favorite and should be a part of any prog rock fan’s collection.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

 
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