In July 1986, Queen made a return trip Wembley Stadium, the place of their famed (and career-reviving) appearance at Live Aid, nearly a year to the day prior. It was their first time headlining at such a prestigious venue, and they knew that they had to get it right or else it would be a tough battle to regain their footing. They needn't have worried: thanks not only to Live Aid, but also to their soundtrack appearance on Russell Mulcahy's Highlander film – in addition to a Top Ten single, A Kind Of Magic, and the similarly-titled album, which reached #1 (their first top-slot album since The Game, six years prior) – they were suddenly Britain's biggest ticket, and Wembley Stadium was, effectively, their home turf. They sold out their two-night run there within minutes, and a third date was proposed but ultimately proved unfeasible; Harvey Goldsmith, the band's longtime promoter, instead suggested a performance at Knebworth Park at the end of the tour.
Because of the nostalgia factor alone, it was decided that the shows would be filmed and recorded, though there were no immediate plans to issue either as a home video or live album. (An edit of the performance was shown on television and titled Real Magic; it was this version that was initially released in December 1990 on VHS.) Finally, two years after the VHS release and almost six years after the performance itself, an audio version of the concert was released. The show itself was nearly complete, except for a minute-long coda inexplicably excised from Tutti Frutti (this was featured in the VHS version, and restored for the June 2003 CD rerelease). While diehard fans insist that this was one of the worst shows of the Magic Tour, and that Freddie's voice was overdubbed drastically following the performance, it still holds a certain place in fans' hearts, least of which because it was the first live album release from one show, and also because, by the time 1986 rolled around, Queen had finally mastered the art of arena rock, and Freddie was ready to remind everyone that he was the undisputed rock frontman. (Mick Jagger, eat yer heart out!)
Additional Reviews reviews