IMAX ReMaster of 1981 Concert
Queen Rock Montreal
Review by Ross Anthony

“I don’t think we quite realized it at the time, but this film has preserved one of the highest peaks in Queen’s touring life, on stage in the old glory days. The director was very much focussed on Freddie, and this now stands as probably the most precious intimate capture ever of Mr. Mercury at his full awesome power,” said Brian May.

After enjoying this new release last night, I have to agree with Brian. It's a modest miracle of technology that we can preserve these types of performances.

That said, this concert was filmed in November of 1981. That is 43 years ago as of this writing. Nonetheless, I can't help but compare this audio/visual experience to Taylor Swift's recent Eras Tour which released just a few months prior. Despite 2023 remastering love given to this Queen project, four decades of media capture technology is no small bump in the road. This IMAX release still feels like a 1981 film. The image has that sweet warm film grain, and some of the shots are a bit soft on focus. That said, when the cameras hit those super close-ups just right - you get a view even front row concertgoers don't. While some viewers will find that super close shot a bit overwhelming on the IMAX screen, I think it's super cool.

Everyone will love the cozy shots of Freddie at the piano, singing and playing. It's as if he's in your living room.

This concert film also opened my eyes (and ears) to the great voice of drummer Roger Taylor. That's in addition to highlighting his marvelous drumming chops. And while I always enjoyed May's leads and signature guitar sound, I had an all new appreciation for the way he carries all instrumentation beyond the bass/percussion on many of the band's songs.

Let's talk about Bohemian Rhapsody. I love the way it starts on piano and grows. However, in this concert it appears they ran the middle section (all the layered vocals) from a pre-recorded tape or sample while the band is off stage. This was weird - just weird. Some really cool lighting effects could not completely distract from the fact that the stage was empty. I'm sure performing this part presented all kinds of challenges. I still enjoyed the presentation, but I can't help but wonder if it would have been bigger if they went small and played a sort of "unplugged" version. Freddie at the ivories, the other three gathering round the piano. Perhaps John on an upright bass, Brian with the 12-string, and Roger tapping the piano top. ... Would love your thoughts on that ...

Overall, I enjoyed this concert! Freddie's talents are missed, but what a joy and treasure to see him and Queen play and sing again at the local IMAX screen.

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --

  • Queen Rock Montreal. Copyright © 2023.
  • Starring Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon. Directed by Saul Swimmer.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Monday, 29-Jan-2024 16:19:45 PST