Magic Years, Vol. 1

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The first tape of the three-volume Magic Years collection is dubbed The Foundations, since it covers Queen's formative years. Tracing the band back to their days as a three-piece known as Smile and as students at London's Imperial College, plenty of rare and great archival footage is used to great effect. The first half of Magic Years, Vol. 1 will be of interest to fans of early Queen, since videos of such early classics as "Keep Yourself Alive" and "Liar" are included, as are classic live performances of "Stone Cold Crazy" and "Bohemian Rhapsody." The whole tape is intercut with interview footage of the band over the years, as well comments by some famous admirers (Paul McCartney and many others). The tape closes with a candid and intriguing glimpse of the band hard at work in the studio on their 1985 hit "One Vision," complete with uncensored inter-band bickering (guitarist Brian May is chastised by Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury for not "giving his all"). The only criticism of the Magic Years trilogy is that all the songs are featured as just clips, none are shown in their entirety, and that each tape is only 55 minutes in duration. And although it doesn't cover the bands final years together (nothing past the A Kind of Magic tour), Magic Years is still an excellent documentary of Queen.