Brian May

Live at the Brixton Academy

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Live at the Brixton Academy finds former Queen guitarist Brian May playing almost the entirety of his previous solo album, Back to the Light, and an assortment of material from various eras of Queen. The material culled from Back to the Light sounds much more alive in concert than on record, freed up as it is from the album's heavy production. Even "Last Horizon," which sounded quite sappy on the album version, works well here, especially coming after the intense "Resurrection." However, even a live setting can't help the clunker "Too Much Love Will Kill You." The Queen tracks are a mixed bag. May just doesn't have the voice to tackle the harder-edged "Headlong" and "Tie Your Mother Down." These tracks and a quite lifeless "We Will Rock You" sorely miss Freddie Mercury's commanding vocals. However, the medley of the old Queen track "'39" with May's "Let Your Heart Rule Your Head" works quite well, in part because May sung the original version. For old Queen fans, it's also hard not to get emotional on the old sing-along "Love of My Life," played here as a tribute to Mercury While the cover of Hank Ballard's "Since You've Been Gone" doesn't come off as impressive with May's weak voice, the rousing version of Queen's "Hammer to Fall" ends the album on a fine note.

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