Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Ukrainian attendance record...and that’s no joke

I haven’t purchased many new packaged Queen items lately, but I came across this one at HMV the other day.

It’s a 2-disc audio CD recording and a DVD of the same concert held in Ukraine’s Freedom Square in Kharkov. Although the sleeve notes claim that there were 350,000 Ukrainians in attendance, I have to wonder if that number isn’t inflated a bit.

Did Queen retain their popularity there to a point where Brian, Roger and Paul can pull in an audience greater than the original Queen line-up could?

This must rank near the top of the list for the largest audience draw for a single act. Not that I’m complaining since we haven’t heard claims like those since Queen’s South American tour back in the early ’80s.

What I liked about this particular concert was that Roger's drum solo is initially performed with a bass drum, snare drum, and hi-hat; then roadies begin to assemble his full kit around him as he continues to play.

Roger’s drum solo also features him tapping the bass strings of Danny Miranda’s guitar with his drum sticks. Hearing the opening riff to Under Pressure played by Roger’s drum sticks on a bass guitar was in interesting moment and shows that the band isn’t above taking a fresh approach to older songs.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Heaven for everyone

Media Moments: Freddie documentary; Letterman music
Queen Related: Freddie featured; Letterman featured WATC

Boy, I go away for a couple of weeks and there’s two Queen media occurrences in one night.

The first one, a 2006 documentary on Freddie called Freddie Mercury Magic Remixed, aired on MuchMoreMusic here in Canada last night.

The documentary is original in the sense that the producer(s) went back to schools and towns from Freddie's childhood and interviewed a few people who knew him as a youth. There are also extensive interviews with his sister, Kashmira Cooke, and his mother, Jer Bulsara. Roger provides the Queen voice to Freddie's life and career.

The documentary dwells on his homosexuality and the rise of AIDS in the early ’80s, but deals with it in a non-judgmental manner and seeks to find sympathy for not only Freddie, but those around him who lost a loved one.

The second sighting was on Letterman last night when Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra played We Are The Champions as three players from the New York Yankees came out onstage.

With Yankee fever spreading across New York, the media could just as easily have referred to the Yankees’ win as “Magic Remixed” as well, instead of "twenty-seventh heaven." Yesterday's win was their 27th pennant World Series title for the franchise.

I don’t know what Freddie would have thought about the New York Yankees' win or baseball in general, but as WATC enters its 33rd year, it’s still pretty much the only sports anthem used as the soundtrack for a winning team.

It’s definitely not a throw-away pop song, as Freddie himself labeled his music.