I sat motionless and in awe throughout a premiere screening of the North American digitally restored and remixed 1986 documentary film, Hungarian Rhapsody – Queen Live in Budapest, the final glimpse of and cinematic proof that Freddie Mercury was, is and always will be a giant in the pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll.
Prowling the stage like a caged panther, turning loose his manic energy and unforgettable piercing falsetto, Freddie enthralled an audience of over 80,000 loyally delirious fans and seduced them with a larger than life magnetism that most performers can only beg for. These fans must be boasting to their children and grandchildren that God chose them to be in the same crowded room with Freddie in Hungary, for Queen’s final concert during the 1986 “Magic” tour.
The film begins with a 25 minute prologue in which we get to know Queen’s other founding members (Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon) and delight in the mischievous nature, transparent complexity and humble soul that was Freddie. He was not without a sense of irony. When replying to a reporter’s rather idiotic question, he shot back, with just the perfect mix of sarcasm and tragic foreshadowing, “Who wants to live forever?”
It is heartbreaking that in surrendering to AIDS in 1991, Freddie’s life and career was extinguished at its height, yet comforting that his outstanding musical contribution and legacy will forever burn on.
“We are the champions, my friends ……” for witnessing greatness and cherishing the memory of a rising star who bared his soul with every performance and in every song.
The CD, DVD and Blu-Ray of this historic concert are to be released in November, 2012 through Eagle Rock Entertainment. Will also be available at HMV, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.