Hungarian Rhapsody

QUEEN’S gig on July 27, 1986 in Budapest, held as part of their ‘A Kind of Magic tour’, was the first and only time the band ever played in Hungary.

The first rock concert held behind the Iron Curtain, and the then biggest concert ever held in Hungary, it was regarded as being of such historic significance that it was filmed and released in local cinemas later that year.

‘Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest 86’ received a limited worldwide release this past week, playing on Thursday and Sunday nights in select locations. I watched the Sunday showing at Lisburn Omniplex with a handful of fellow Queen fans and was very impressed.

For the first time in recent memory, I was treated to a double feature at the cinema. The concert film was proceeded by a 25 minute documentary, ‘A Magic Year’, which followed Queen’s period between their legendary ‘Live Aid’ appearance in 1985 and the concert in Budapest. It featured archival interviews with the band during the tour, which would turn out to be the last featuring Freddie Mercury. This was followed by the concert itself.

Remastered in HD, with 5.1 surround sound, and featuring much previously unseen material, it was a spectacle. In front of 80,000 fans, the band plays all of their familiar hits such as Radio Ga-Ga, Bohemian Rhapsody and We Will Rock You, sporadically intercut with footage of each individual members experience visiting Budapest. Throughout the 118 minute run time, I didn’t feel like I was simply watching a film, nor that I was just an onlooker. I felt like I was there.

In a year full of blockbuster releases, ‘Hungarian Rhapsody’ has been the best cinematic experience I’ve had of 2012. Pick up the concert when it’s released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 5.

By Kelan Headley