Hollywood Records and the others responsible for putting this 10-CD box set together should be commended for concentrating on the music instead of bloating the box and its price with assorted tchotchkes that will only sit around and collect dust. Other than remastered and expanded versions of the late '70s, early '80s releases News of the World, Jazz, The Game, Flash Gordon and Hot Space the only other thing this second in the series of Queen 40th anniversary box sets contains is a small poster.
Each album is packaged with a companion disc of bonus material and again kudos to the label for not loading these up with multiple versions of one song. The bonus disc from Hot Space, for example, could have unwisely been stacked with numerous mixes of the album's monster hit "Under Pressure." Instead, that song is completely skipped in favor of tastier material like an extra funky live version of "Staying Power," B-side "Soul Brother," a remix of "Back Chat" and live takes on the spy-flavored "Action This Day" and the Roger Taylor penned "Calling All Girls." Spread throughout the other bonus discs are goodies like an instrumental version of "Bicycle Race" that just dares you to add your own lead vocals, live versions of "Sheer Heart Attack," "Dragon Attack" and "Let Me Entertain You," B-side "A Human Body" and a demo of "It's a Beautiful Day" (later finished and released on the Made in Heaven album) that's composed only of Freddie Mercury's vocal and piano work.
You'll also hear "We Will Rock You" like you never have before as the song is performed as a very fast garage rocker, taken from a 1982 concert in Tokyo. Even Queen's least essential album ever, the Flash Gordon soundtrack, contains cool bonus material like an early version of "Football Fight" performed without synthesizers.
If you're looking for a box set that contains oversized picture books, laminated backstage pass replicas and essays about the tragic death of Freddie Mercury; look elsewhere. If you want to rock out to half a decade's worth of some of the best classic rock ever made then you're in the right place with this collection.
Queen 40 Limited Edition Collector's Box Set Vol. 2