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Queen - Days of Our Lives


by Kevin Wierzbicki

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This film is subtitled The Definitive Documentary of the World's Greatest Rock Band and while the latter part of that title may be argued the first three words certainly cannot; Days of Our Lives is a thorough and compelling look at one of the most successful bands of the so-called classic rock era, told mostly through interviews with the surviving members. Everyone knows how the Queen story ends: with the AIDS-related death of singer Freddie Mercury in 1991. The rest of the story is broken into two parts and while not labeled as such, these parts could generally be thought of as "the rise" and "the fall" of the band. Part one chronicles how, desperately wanting to sing and be a star, Mercury teams up with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor of the band Smile after their singer departs; bassist John Deacon is enlisted and Queen is born. The three surviving members reminisce and offer insight into things like how an American tour opening for Mott the Hoople broke them in the States but despite all the notoriety they didn't make any money, often barely able to afford food, until fourth album Night at the Opera hit. Comingled with the up-to-date thoughts of May, Deacon and Taylor is plenty of vintage commentary from Mercury and lots of performance and candid footage, including recently unearthed film of Queen's first television appearance. Part 1 also details how the band changed stylistically over their first decade, from hard rock to glam rock to one of the world's biggest arena acts. Part 2 shows the band having continued success but struggling to keep up with the times as the disco sound takes over the airwaves; not all members of the band were thrilled with having to play "dance music" and sluggish sales of the 1982 dance-oriented Hot Space reinforced the notion and caused Queen to take a year's sabbatical. New album sales would remain down for the remainder of the band's career and in the late '80s Mercury began to feel the effects of disease. This portion of the story is of course very sad, in particular one segment that shows Mercury near the end, frail and shaky, preparing for a video shoot by having tons of makeup applied to his obviously ravaged face. Overall though Days of Our Livesis celebratory; the viewer will come away from the film with renewed love for their favorite band, or, if just exploring Queen's music for the first time, a clear understanding of everything the guys endured to create their outstanding legacy. Days of Our Lives is quite possibly one of the best documentaries about a rock band ever but there is also lots of bonus footage included that will have longtime Queen fans in seventh heaven. The Blu-ray version (the DVD contains slightly less material) offers an extra hour of sequences not included in the main film, 20 minutes of bonus interviews and 2011 versions of 7 of the band's most famous videos reworked with new footage. Freddie Mercury, in his last days, is said to have quipped to his manager, "Do anything you want with my music dear, but never make me boring." Mercury's last wish is completely honored in Days of Our Lives.

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Queen - Days of Our Lives
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