Action and More Action

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Nine years from their debut, nine years before Freddie Mercury's death, exactly halfway through Queen's career, and they're already bloated. Songs are reduced to their basic singalong elements -- the opening "Flash" is a few "aah-aahs" and the verses to "We Will Rock You" just go flying by, so the chorus comes around faster each time. Gigs on this scale, Tokyo's Nagoya Kokusai Tenjijo in October 1982, are not audio experiences -- even in their best quality, a band racing through their greatest hits and latest bits and playing strictly to the crowd is something one has to be there to appreciate. Run the tape from the back row of a barn with an audience in several shades of ecstasy around it, and one may as well be playing the records at a very loud party -- at the wrong speed and in the wrong order. So perfunctory speedy metal renditions of the songs listeners have heard a thousand times before -- just another Queen live set. Is this really the real life?

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