Ringing in November in Style

Dean asked me on Tuesday if I wanted to go see Classic Albums Live perform Queen’s A Night at the Opera on November 1st. At first I was skeptical because we’d gone to see It’s a Kinda Magic before and while it was good it was still not Queen and made me a little sad to be there.

I have to admit that I’m glad I said yes to this one despite my misgivings. The concert was amazing. The performers don’t try to copy the live experience of a band. They create their own concert experience while performing live versions of the songs on an album exactly as they are on the album. It was mind-blowingly amazing. I wish very much that they were doing a second show tomorrow because I’d go see it again in a heartbeat.

Here’s the set list:

  • Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to…)
  • Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon
  • I’m in Love with My Car
  • You’re My Best Friend
  • ’39
  • Sweet Lady
  • Seaside Rendezvous
  • The Prophet’s Song
  • Love of my Life
  • Good Company
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • God Save the Queen (Instrumental)


  • Tie Your Mother Down
  • Keep Yourself Alive
  • Get Down, Make Love
  • Killer Queen
  • Bicycle Race
  • Brighton Rock
  • Spread Your Wings
  • We Will Rock You
  • We Are the Champions
  • Under Pressure
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • Somebody to Love

I’m pretty sure I have all the bonus songs listed here. The official set list only included the songs from A Night at the Opera, so the rest I’m trying to recall from memory. The order may be slightly off because of that. I was too gobsmacked to keep track exactly because I was enchanted waiting to see what their next song was going to be.

I’m sure it helped that A Night at the Opera is my favourite album and I listen to it all the time. That gave me a deeper appreciation for what it took for this group to be able to perform all the songs in that way. I never would have thought I’d hear The Prophet’s Song done justice in a live version, because covers either skip or drastically simplify the vocal harmony section which completely wrecks the song. There were four vocalists and they pulled that off wonderfully. It was a joy to experience. Similarly, the solos in Brighton Rock were perfectly done as well. I was both gleeful and fascinated watching the guitarists and drummer perform those.

I’ve also got a soft spot for News of the World so I was really glad that some of those songs were played as well. Spread Your Wings is always excellent live.

Everything was performed instead of using pre-recorded sound effects. Notable were the kazoos used in Seaside Rendezvous and the bicycle bells used in Bicycle Race. Everyone on stage looked to be having a blast playing those sections. Their enthusiasm was contagious. I’m hoping they come back next year and do it again because I will definitely be there if they do.