“Freddie doesn’t like touring as much anymore,” says Roger Taylor in the half hour documentary that accompanies the incredible gig in Hungary. The comment is all the more poignant knowing Freddie was to die five years later. The short documentary tracks the band from Live Aid to their 1986 Magic Tour and is a masterful insight into how Queen survived as a band.
With the fall of the Berlin wall still 3 years away, this was the first Western Rock Concert to be staged behind the Iron Curtain and its significance was not to be forgotten. A team of Hungary’s finest cameramen were there to capture the moment history was made and this is really the culmination of that work (albeit remastered, tweaked and transferred to HD).
But aside from the political breakthrough and the the fact that this was the biggest gig ever staged in the Nepstadion in Budapest, it is also a superb record of how amazing this band were on stage.Whether you were lucky enough to see them live or wished you had, this is a great film that despite some dodgy stage gear (John Deacon’s rather interesting yellow shorts), still makes an impact even today.
The 25 minute documentary is honest and at times all too raw. There are moments where you can’t help but remind yourself that Freddie Mercury must have known he was ill and that this was most likely his last tour. His comments about being fit enough to tour are now even more poignant, along with other comments on what Queen will be doing years from then. This undercurrent of sadness runs through out the documentary, but so does the reason why this band succeeded the way they did. There is a unity of purpose and a mutual admiration that reminds us of why they stuck together where other bands of their era fell apart.
Overall this a modest affair, stark, honest and fairly humble displaying a band who needed a fraction of the stage antics that dominate stadium shows today. With Freddie’s appearance at the closing ceremony of the Olympics a clear demonstration of how even dead he can rally an audience, it’s no surprise that he had the Hungarians eating from his hand within minutes.
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest ’86 is out in cinemas in the UK on Thursday 20th September 2012. (Cert 12A)
The film is expected to play on screens in over 30 territories worldwide. In the UK it will be screened in all the major cities, around 100 cinemas nationwide. Full details to be found on www.queenonline.com