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Return Of The Champions

Queen, Paul Rodgers2005年1月1日 27 首歌

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有關 Return Of The Champions
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine 
When thinking of suitable replacements for 
Freddie Mercury
 in Queen, 
Paul Rodgers
 is not a name that immediately leaps to mind. As the former lead singer for 
Free
 and 
Bad Company
, 
Rodgers
 roughly belongs to the same '70s British hard rock pack as Queen, but 
Rodgers
 is pretty much the polar opposite of 
Mercury
: a gruff, bluesy, barrel-chested macho blues-rock belter opposed to 
Freddie
's grandly flamboyant, eccentric glam rock showman. Yet when Queen -- or more accurately, 
Brian May
 and 
Roger Taylor
, since 
John Deacon
 decided to stay retired -- reunited in 2005, they picked 
Rodgers
 as their frontman, perhaps because he was one of the few marquee-level names from the '70s left who wasn't working steadily. The double-disc Return of the Champions documents their concert at the Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield on May 9, 2005. The set list is pretty heavy on Queen standards, with a few 
Bad Company
 and 
Free
 songs, such as "Feel Like Makin' Love" and "All Right Now," thrown in for good measure. Queen sounds big, tight, and professional, and there's even a sense of excitement to some of the performances, as if 
May
 and 
Taylor
 are invigorated to be out on-stage again, playing these songs for an adoring crowd. The problem is, unsurprisingly, 
Rodgers
, who isn't terrible -- in fact, he gives a spirited performance -- but just is a bad match for Queen's music. When the group is playing some of his songs, everything clicks, and some of the more straightforward Queen tunes, like "We Will Rock You" or "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," sound OK. Thing is, even Queen's hardest-rocking songs, like "Tie Your Mother Down" and "Fat Bottomed Girls," were written with a tongue firmly in cheek and should be delivered with a sense of theatrically that 
Rodgers
 simply doesn't have. The end result is jarring, but not overly so: it's listenable, because the band is in good form, but apart from some nice work from 
May
, Return of the Champions never feels like Queen, it feels like a bar-band tribute band given a chance to play a big theater. Listening to the album, you get the sense that it probably was a fun night out, but there's no reason to listen to it at home. (In case you're wondering, the operatic middle section of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is taken from the original record, which makes 
Rodgers
' blustering entrance with "so you think you can stone me and spit in my eye" all the more disarming.)

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