Return of the Champions (2005)


 
Disc One 1. Reaching Out 2. Tie Your Mother Down 3. I Want To Break Free 4. Fat Bottomed Girls 5. Wishing Well 6. Another One Bites the Dust 7. Crazy Little Thing Called Love 8. Say It's Not True 9. '39 10.Love of My Life 11.Hammer to Fall 12.Feel Like Makin' Love 13.Let There Be Drums 14.I'm in Love with my Car 15.Guitar Solo 16.Last Horizon Disc Two 1. These Are the Days of Our Lives 2. Radio Ga Ga 3. Can't Get Enough 4. A Kind of Magic 5. I Want it All 6. Bohemian Rhapsody 7. The Show Must Go On 8. All Right Now 9. We Will Rock You 10.We Are the Champions 11.God Save the Queen

 

Back in the late 1980's when Roger Waters unsuccessfully sued the rest of the surviving Pink Floyd members in an attempt to stop them using the band name, he made an interesting observation. "They", because they had the Pink Floyd name, were selling out 70,000 seat stadiums. In the meantime, he would be in the same town, the same night, and was barely able to half-way fill a 2,000 seat auditorium. The point here is that a band's name really does carry tons of weight when generating attention and sales.

Just looking at this album cover, you can tell what some record executive was up to. Let's make sure to put the name "Queen" in big black letters on the middle of the cover, and make sure we give it a catchy title that will be appropriate based on the band's illustrious past. What the casual fan might not realize, is that there's only half of the real Queen here, and whereas we shouldn't immediately dismiss a band for trying to continue with new members, you have to really ask yourself if they do the brand justice here by doing so. Had this lineup called itself anything other than "Queen", well, it simply wouldn't have sold as well, nor drawn the same amount of attention.

Then, some would argue, but this is a "live album - and it is mostly Queen material here". O.K. fair enough. But then my counter argument is, why anotherlive album?? Doesn't this band already have plenty of collections out there that are basically exactly the same as what is here? The only difference is that those collections actually have the original band.

Then we come to the new guy - lead singer Paul Rodgers. Paul had been in several hard rock bands, most notably Bad Company, and we have to ask - why him? Nothing personal, the guy is great at what he does. But Freddie Mercury was such an elaborate personality, such a unique showman, you have to wonder why this choice. Listening to the songs here, you can't help but cringe since they sound so incredibly different. Not to mention it's littered with songs from his past as well.

To be fair, this may really have been a great show to go to. Kind of a "superstar combo" show, where different artists from different bands get together for a sort of one-off. It just seems a bit unfair calling this a Queen album. Well, I guess you really can't really fault Brian May and Roger Taylor for wanting to still work.

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