On Fire: Live at the Bowl


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On Fire: Live at the Bowl Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

The bowl in question in the title of Queen's 2004 release On Fire at the Bowl is the MK Bowl in Milton Keynes, England, a venue that Queen performed at on June 5, 1982. That concert is documented on this 25-track double-disc set, one of many double-live albums that Queen have released throughout and after their career. This is one of the better live albums they've released, even if it's somewhat hampered by a few too many unremarkable album tracks from their most recent releases -- particularly Hot Space, the record they were pushing on this summer tour -- and also has a couple embarrassing bits of stage patter from Freddie Mercury (most notably "for what it's worth, we're gonna do a few songs in the funk/Black category, whatever you call it"). But the band sounds big, raucous, and alive throughout this show, gaining steam as they drive into the second half of the show, the part that's filled with anthems like "Fat Bottomed Girls," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Sheer Heart Attack," and "We Will Rock You." Perhaps this isn't a definitive live statement -- something that the band still doesn't have and still sorely needs -- but it is a spirited, satisfying concert album that will please fans who still hunger for new Queen material years after Mercury's death.

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