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Queen – Vienna Magic (Wardour-076)

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Vienna Magic (Wardour-076)

Ever since Queen’s first visit to Vienna in 1978, relatively late in their career for such an important city, they visited the Austrian capital on every tour until their last.  On the Magic tour Queen played two sold out shows on July 21st and July 22nd.  These were the only indoor shows on the tour and are among the best documented, both visually and aurally.

Both of these shows were taped by the same individual sitting in the a similar location.  Because of these factors he produced some of the best sounding tapes from the era.  They don’t have the “flatness” inherent to outdoor recordings but are very punch and lively.  Queen’s Magic tour was designed as a big spectacle in the biggest arenas around Europe.  The setlist and performance was aimed towards that.

Hearing what was meant of the big arena in a smaller indoor venue offers a different perspective and interesting contrast to the more well known shows.  The intimacy of performance is what stands out in these recordings.   

Wardour pitch corrected both shows so that they run at the correct speed.  The label is great at producing the exhaustive editions for Queen shows by offering both audio and video discs in one package.  Vienna Magic is one of the better sounding and produced efforts for Queen’s final tour and stands as definitive along with One Sweet Moment (Wardour-032) and Thank You All (Wardour-052).

Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria – July 21st, 1986

Disc 1 (56:20):  One Vision, Tie Your Mother Down, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Tear It Up, A Kind Of Magic, Under Pressure, Another One Bites The Dust, Mustapha (intro), Who Wants To Live Forever, I Want To Break Free, impromptu, guitar solo, Now I’m Here

Disc 2 (48:18):  Love Of My Life, Is This The World We Created?, (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care, Hello Mary Lou, Tutti Frutti, Bohemian Rhapsody, Hammer To Fall, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Radio Ga Ga, We Will Rock You, Friends Will Be Friends, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen

The only other silver release of this show was on Live In Vienna, Austria, July 21, 1986 on SRS records, a Russian company claiming to be based in Spain.  The sound quality on that release was very good to excellent but was marred by clicks between the tracks since they use a faulty cdr.  Wardour is superior in every way with more clarity and a perfect transfer of the tape. 

The tape cuts in during the “God works in mysterious ways” taped introduction before the firey “One Vision,” one of Queen’s best set openers which reaches an emotional peak with Freddie’s intonation of “Look what they’ve done to my dreeeeeeeeeeeeeeem!” 

“Are you ready to play?” Freddie asks before they start the first medley with “In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited.”  The final song of the medley “A Kind Of Magic” elicits audible excitement in the audience.

“Another One Bites The Dust” is introduced as a “boogie” and sounds in this recording as if it is going to smash the stage into splinters when it hits the climax with the prolonged funk guitar workout by the end.  Afterwards, instead of speaking about the Queen breakup rumors, Freddie sings a bit of “Mustapha” as an introduction to “Who Wants To Live Forever?”

Before “Love Of My Life” Brian May tells the audience “I remember people can sing pretty well in Vienna” while they serenade him.  “That’s enough, thank you very much. It’s my birthday morgen.”  The entire acoustic set, including the classics, is very well recorded and provides an unusually intimate moment in such a massive show.  The show ends with a fun version of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”  In the first encore “Radio Ga Ga” Freddie forgets the lyrics in the first verse (the same place as in Cologne) and mumbles his way through.   

Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria – July 22nd, 1986

Disc 3 (54:10):  One Vision, Tie Your Mother Down, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Tear It Up, A Kind Of Magic, Under Pressure, Another One Bites The Dust, Mustapha (intro), Who Wants To Live Forever, I Want To Break Free, impromptu, guitar solo, Now I’m Here

Disc 4 (47:24):  Love Of My Life, Is This The World We Created?, (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care, Hello Mary Lou, Tutti Frutti, Bohemian Rhapsody, Hammer To Fall, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Radio Ga Ga, We Will Rock You, Friends Will Be Friends, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen

The sound quality for the second Vienna show is almost identical to the first night.  Clear and well balanced, it is another one of the best audience tapes from the Magic tour which is making its silver pressed debute on Vienna Magic.  This tape begins a bit earlier than the first night with the pre-show cheering and the entire opening tape before the band hit the stage with “One Vision.”

There are some problems with the PA for the vocals and they drop in and out of the mix until fixed.  In the latter half of he song May plays a trickier solo than usual.  After “Tie Your Mother Down” Freddie tells the audience, “Tonight’s gonna be a fun night I can tell you.  Until I get to the piano.”  He skips “In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited” and goes directly to the opening of “Seven Seas Of Rhye.”   

“You’re a great group of people” before speaking about the break up rumors before “Who Wants To Live Forever?”  Brian May continues his complex arrangements during the impromptu and “Brighton Rock” guitar solo and after “Now I’m Here,” and they are sitting down for the acoustic set, he plays a pretty little unique tune for “Love Of My Life.” 

After “Hammer To Fall” someone requests “Mustapha” and Freddie replies, “Oh, fuck ‘Mustapha.’ I don’t give a damn!” But he quickly changes his mind and sings the intro, and then starts “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”  He also remembers all of the words for “Radio Ga Ga” this night.  Freddie’s departing words to the audience are “You’ve been a very special audience. We won’t forget you. We love you.”

DVD (105 min):  Introduction, One Vision, Tie Your Mother Down, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited, Seven Seas Of Rhye, Tear It Up, A Kind Of Magic, Under Pressure, Another One Bites The Dust, Who Wants To Live Forever, I Want To Break Free, impromptu, guitar solo, Now I’m Here, Love Of My Life, Is This The World We Created?, (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care, Hello Mary Lou, Tutti Frutti, Bohemian Rhapsody, Hammer To Fall, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Radio Ga Ga, We Will Rock You, Friends Will Be Friends, We Are The Champions, God Save The Queen

The DVD captures the first Vienna show on July 21st.  It was taped very close to the stage and captures a good amount of detail, but the lighting is so bad it’s hard to see anything.  Of course this holds true especially during the dimly light parts of the show.  Things improve when the stage lights are bright.  It is a good video document although it’s not one to be watched more than once.  Vienna Magic is packaged in a five disc fatboy jewel case and is decorated with several photos from the tour and overall is an excellent title to have from Queen’s final tour. 

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Queen - Vienna Magic (Wardour-076), 2.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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  1. Avatar of wgpsec
    wgpsec says
    March 20, 2010, 2:06 pm

    Another beautiful Queen release from Wardour. I agree the DVD isn’t the greatest quality but is nice as a bonus as the video wouldn’t stand up on its own. It doesn’t get more definitive than this.

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