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Progressive Rock DVD/Video Reviews

Freddie Mercury

The Great Pretender BluRay

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve always been a Queen fan. I’ve always thought that Freddie Mercury was an exceptional talent, possibly the greatest rock front man of all time. I never really understood Freddie Mercury on any kind of deeper level. This video seems to give me a sense of greater understanding. It also really outlines just the kind of tragic story Mercury’s life was.

A lot of the video focuses on interviews with Mercury and those who knew him. Of course, there are all kinds of in-studio and behind the scenes bits here, too. When I watched it, I came away with the idea that there were clearly two Freddie Mercurys (a point that he discussed a bit in one of the interviews). I was struck that the one side of Mercury was an arrogant and incredibly confident man, who came across as a bit harsh at times and rather cocky. The thing is, Mercury admitted that in any instance when he was in public, he basically was in character to a degree.

Some of the interview segments that seemed to reflect the real Mercury a bit made me think that in many ways he was still very child-like and vulnerable. He seemed like a lonely man in so many ways. The child-like vulnerability and loneliness might have ultimately led to much of his promiscuity (probably true at some points in his life, but also exaggerated later) that eventually killed him through disease that is AIDS. Of course, there was another side to the real Mercury, too – the artist. And, while I personally disagree with some of the directions in which he took Queen, the man was an artist for whom music was a real passion.

 

This video gives a lot of insights into Mercury. It’s highly recommended to any fans of Queen, even the casual fans. It’s a touching story that’s both sad and inspirational. It’s also a music documentary that I’m likely to watch more than a couple times, and that’s rare. If you’ve ever liked Mercury and/or Queen you have to own this. It’s not optional.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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