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Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest Deluxe(1986)
27 July 1986 at Népstadion, Budapest, Hungary
For more about Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest Deluxe and the Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest Deluxe Blu-ray release, see Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest Deluxe Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on November 5, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Freddie Mercury
» See full cast & crew
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest Deluxe Blu-ray Review
The Iron Curtain was no match for Freddie Mercury.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, November 5, 2012
Bohemian has become such a commonplace adjective that people have perhaps grown unaccustomed to associating it with the actual place called Bohemia, which is where one would assume the descriptive term probably originated. The nation previously known as Czechoslovokia was home to Bohemia, and while the vagaries of history have now but Slovakia in between the Czech Republic and Hungary, when Freddie Mercury and Queen played Budapest in 1986, Bohemia was in a certain sense "right next door" and perhaps provided an added allure to including this odd venue on Queen's world tour. It's hard to even imagine it now, but the Iron Curtain was still very much vertical and seemingly impenetrable, and a stadium rock performance was not a de rigeur situation even for the biggest bands. As the liner notes to this new Blu-ray and double CD release state, the band knew going in they weren't going to make much if any money from this performance, and yet they jumped at the chance, if for no other reason than that Hungary had long been "off limits" for rock concerts.
There was obviously a pent up audience for Queen, for once their concert was announced, it sold out in an astoundingly short amount of time, all the more astounding when one considers the fact that this particular concert was played before literally tens of thousands of people. This was the first stadium rock concert by a western act to be performed behind the Iron Curtain, and it was big news in its day. A coterie of British journalists flew to Budapest to cover the proceedings (some of which is captured in some non-concert footage included in this documentary), and because this was such an obviously big deal within Hungary itself, famed Hungarian cinematographer János Zsombolyai was hired to film the concert, and to do so he had to utilize every available film camera in the nation.
Queen had had its ups and downs by the time it arrived in Hungary in the summer of 1986, but there's no denying the band was at one of its high points during this time period, still riding high after its critically lauded Live Aid performance from the previous year. The confidence and outright swagger of the band is apparent throughout this concert. The size of the venue doesn't seem to intimidate them in the slightest, and in fact Freddie Mercury seems to feed off of the audience's energy. Younger audiences may be unimpressed by the concert's relative lack of stage craft (some lighting and dry ice effects are about it), but the visceral impact of the music can't be denied.
The documentary doesn't just concentrate on the concert, although that's of course the bulk of this piece. We do get a little context, however, including some charming scenes of Freddie arriving in Budapest via hydrofoil, kind of like Cleopatra being floated down the Nile to be presented to her adoring public on a barge (something tells me Freddie himself would love that comparison). And there are segments devoted to all of the band members pursuing their own private tours and interests throughout Hungary.
But this is all about the music. Not all of the concert survives in video form (much more of it is presented on the two CDs also included in this deluxe set), but we do get great live (more or less) versions of most of the band's biggest hits (it's obvious there's some pre-recorded stuff going on in the choral interlude during "Bohemian Rhapsody"). Freddie works the audience as he was wont to do, and expends a lot energy doing so (he ditches his shirt toward the end of the concert, sending the audience into near hysteria). Sadly, this was to be the last tour that Queen would play with Freddie Mercury, but luckily we have this wonderful souvenir of what must have been one hell of a good time.
The concert includes the following songs:
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest Deluxe Blu-ray, Video Quality
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Eagle Vision (an imprint of Eagle Rock Entertainment) with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. According to the liner notes included in this release, this high definition presentation was sourced from an interpositive, and the results are certainly very good, given reasonable expectations. The 35mm image has a rather thick layer of grain, and midrange shots can look more than a bit fuzzy. But colors are generally exceptionally robust and well saturated and close-ups frequently offer superb fine detail (you can make out individual droplets of sweat on Freddie, and see the veins in his neck pulsing with blood when he's reaching for his high notes). There's some noticeable haloing on display in a couple of scenes which may be due at least as much to the lighting scheme as any edge enhancement artifacts.
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest Deluxe Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest features both a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix and an uncompressed LPCM 2.0 stereo fold down. There isn't much information included in either the press materials accompanying this release or the liner notes in terms of the original source elements utilized for these mixes, but there's an odd quasi-phasing effect that's quite noticeable in the 5.1 mix which I personally didn't like. It's coupled with an overarching hall ambience which splays Freddie's voice too wide and tends to end up subsuming him within the band. I personally much preferred the LPCM 2.0 mix, which sounds clearer and better mixed, though of course your mileage may vary. Fidelity on both of these tracks is excellent, with great low end and full bodied midrange.
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest Deluxe Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest Deluxe Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest is a fantastically fun documentary that captures the band at its height of its powers but also spends enough time in non-concert moments to give fans a real idea of what the guys were like in (more or less) real life. The performance footage here is captured with a wealth of angles and really gets up close and personal, especially with regard to Freddie. This was kind of a "greatest hits" tour, and we get sparkling live performances of several of the band's most iconic numbers. But for many fans, it's going to be the sight of Freddie arriving by hydrofoil in Budapest to conquer Hungary that may well be the most memorable moment. Highly recommended.
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Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest Deluxe Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest - October 4, 2012
Independent distributors Eagle Rock Entertainment will release standard Blu-Ray and 2CD+Blu-ray Deluxe Editions of Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest. Originally filmed in 1986, this momentous concert movie has been re-mastered in high definition and superb ...
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