Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Brian May Band - Live At The Brixton Academy (1994)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Rock
Original Release Date: 1994
Label: Parlophone

Live at the Brixton Academy is a recording of The Brian May Band's first show in London on June 15, 1993. The album was released on CD, LP and VHS in 1994, and remains the group's only release as a collective.

The album is an almost complete and unedited version of the concert. Their performance of John Lennon's God (The Dream Is Over) was not included on the album due to copyright issues. Keyboard player Spike Edney had to play a second solo (neither are on the CD, the first being on the video) after May had technical problems before playing Last Horizon. Also, Back To The Light, Tie Your Mother Down, Love Token, Headlong, Let Your Heart Rule Your Head, Resurrection (in particular, Cozy Powell's drum solo), We Will Rock You and Hammer To Fall are all slightly shortened on the CD, but appear in full on the 90-minute video of the same event.

The show includes live renditions of the top ten singles Driven By You and Too Much Love Will Kill You.

Review( 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.