Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Recorded during the band's foray into what was referred to as "the happiest barrack," Queen brings rock to the Eastern Bloc on their live album/concert film Hungarian Rhapsody: Live in Budapest. Though the set they rip through is more or less the same as the one captured on the legendary band's Live at Wembley '86 album, the historical significance of the performance makes it an event worth documenting. Performed in Budapest in 1986, the show feels like a portent of things to come for Eastern Europe. Though Hungary's (albeit liberal) communist regime would be in place for another three years, the arrival of a band with the kind of indulgent grandeur that Queen cultivated shows the early signs of the weakening of the Iron Curtain. Politics aside, the performance is a ripping one, with the band touching on hits old and new with a set spanning from "Seven Seas of Rhye" to "Who Wants to Live Forever," which is introduced by Freddie Mercury as a new song. Outside of the classics, there are some notable diversions, such as Brian May's delay-drenched, seven-minute solo, a scorching rendition of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti," and the Jewish-Hungarian folk song "Tavaszi Szel Vizet Araszt" (which translates to "The Spring Wind Blows the Waters"). While the songs here are, as one would expect, excellent, the real treat with this set is the concert film, which was captured on 35mm film by Hungarian cinematographer János Zsombolyai using, according to the liner notes, every film camera in the country at the time. This gives the concert a cinematic feel that matches the larger-than-life sound that's made Queen one of the definitive rock bands of theirs or any era, and makes Hungarian Rhapsody a live set that fans won't want to miss out on.

blue highlight denotes track pick