Queen are not the most generous band when it comes to live and video releases, expecially if compared to others. However, both while they were still an active band and also after the sad passing of Freddie Mercury, there has been quite a few releases, and some of them got re-released years later in a different, sometimes extended form. Being that there are a lot to talk about, I'll leave out everything that's not from or about the actual band Queen, so no Paul Rodgers, Adam Lambert and such for now. Let's try to see what they are in detail.
1981 - Greatest Flix (VHS)
The first video release by Queen is a compilation of videoclips from their first decade. Released on videocassette, it covers all their official videos from Killer Queen up to Flash, which at the time was their most recent single. Not much to add here, apart from an unlisted live version of We Will Rock You live (the fast version) from Houston 1977, put right after the official video of that same song.
Needless to say that all these videos will be relased again in Greatest Video Hits 1 in 2002, along with countless other formats and versions in the meantime, but I'll be back on this later.
1983 - Live in Japan (Japan only, VHS, Laserdisc)
A Japan-only release, so pretty hard to find otherwise (though it will be released elsewhere years later, as we will see). It's a live video filmed in Tokorozawa on 03/11/1982, the last concert of the Hot Space Tour. It's only an hour long, so it's not complete, but it's a fascinating snippet of this phase of the band, partly because of some songs that were rarely played, like a partial Put Out The Fire in the Now I'm Here medley, and the beautiful Teo Toriatte. Freddie's voice is not in top shape, as you could expect from the last day of the tour, but it's a fun concert anyway, even if incomplete.
Apart from an even more edited version as a bonus on the DVD on Queen On Fire - Live At The Bowl (around 42 minutes long), this video is relatively easy to find today as a bootleg.
1984 - We Will Rock You (VHS, Laserdisc, DVD (in 2001))
Another live video, this time filmed in Montreal on 24 and 25 November 1981, two concerts compiled in one and done purely for filming, not part of an actual tour. Apparently it wasn't a pleasant experience for the band, and while the film is wonderful, the audio suffers a bit from some obvious overdubs, at least in this original version. Two songs were left out, Flash and The Hero, while the rest of the concert is complete, with a point of interest in the first performance ever of Under Pressure, still unreleased at that point. For decades the rights for this video remained in the hands of Pioneer, with dozens of re-releases done without the band's approval.
In 2007 the remaining members of Queen finally obtained the rights for this film, and re-released it as Queen Rock Montreal, which we will talk about later on.
1984 - The Works Video EP (VHS)
Just as the title says, this is a compilation of promotional videos from the album The Works. In detail: Radio Ga Ga, I Want To Break Free, Hammer To Fall and It's A Hard Life. These videos will be released in countless other compilations later on as well.
1985 - Live in Rio (VHS)
Another live release compiled from two concerts. This time we're talking about the famous festival Rock In Rio, in which Queen playd both the opening and closing night, 12 and 19 of January 1985. Part of The Works Tour and the first concerts after the infamous Sun City shows, both nights were entirely filmed and pretty easy to find, albeit in pretty low quality, as bootlegs. This release, however, is merely an hour long, mostly taken from the first show, and it's probably the best way to see the huge stage of that tour, as they used a smaller version of it in later concerts.
Re-released countless times as a bootleg, the only other official release is from a limited edition Boxset from 2013, this time on DVD, but with the same exact content.
1986 - Who Wants To Live Forever (VHS)
Similar to The Works EP, though this time it's actually a single, with Who Wants To Live Forever and A Kind Of Magic videos only. Again, these will be released elsewhere too.
1986 - Live In Budapest (VHS, Laserdisc)
A legendary show, part of The Magic Tour and one of the first stadium shows done over the Iron Curtain. Fully filmed in Budapest on 27/07/1986, with the same setlist as the more famous Wembley show from earlier in the month, on this official release sadly some songs got cut. Being that the VHS had to be 90 minutes long, and also counting the fact that they decided to have some fascinating "behind the scenes" videos put between the songs, it's obvious that the whole concert couldn't fit. So Tie Your Mother Down is cut short, Another One Bites The Dust is cut completely as is the Impromptu, Brian May's solo and most of the rock and roll tracks, leaving only Tutti Frutti. But the rest is beautiful, a very strong show with the curiosity of Tavaszei Szel played in the acoustic set, a traditional hungarian song.
The original tape runs a bit fast, so the sound is slightly higher in pitch too, and this happens also in the countless bootleg versions, also on DVD, that came out through the years, up until the release of Hungarian Rhapsody, which we will talk about later.
1987 - The Magic Years (VHS, Laserdisc)
This is the first official documentary about the band, released on three VHSes, each around one hour long. It goes fron the early years up to the Magic Tour, and to this day it still is one of the best and most interesting documentaries out there. For some reason it was never officially remastered and/or re-released on other formats like DVD and such, so the only way to see it today, other than to track down an used copy and find a way to play it, is on YouTube.
1989 - Rare Live - A Concert Through Time and Space (VHS, Laserdisc)
This is a curious one, being some sort of live compilation with videos taken from all through their career, probably as a consequence of them not doing concerts anymore at the time. As incoherent as it is, at the time it must have been a pretty big deal, especially since some of these videos were still unreleased, and some of them still are (at least officially). Roughly an hour long, let's see what's in it in detail:
1. I Want It All (intro)
2. Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Japan '82, with some shots from Japan '85)
3. Liar (London '73)
4. Another One Bites The Dust (Buenos Aires '81/Vienna '82)
5. Rock 'N' Roll Medley (London, Hammersmith Odeon '75)
6. My Melancholy Blues (Houston '77)
7. Hammer To Fall (Wembley '86)
8. Killer Queen (London Earls Court '77)
9. We Will Rock You (London Live Aid '85)
10. Somebody To Love (Milton Keynes '82)
11. Tie Your Mother Down (Paris '79/Frankfurt '82/Rio '85)
12. Keep Yourself Alive (London '75/Tokyo '85)
13. Love Of My Life (San Paulo du Brazil '81)
14. Stone Cold Crazy (London Rainbow Theatre '74)
15. Radio Ga Ga (Sydney '85/Knebworh '86)
16. You Take My Breath Away (London Earls Court '77)
17. Sheer Heart Attack (Houston '77)
18. We Are The Champions (Vienna '82/Knebworth '86)
19. God Save The Queen (Vienna '82)
1989 - The Miracle Video EP (VHS)
Another short compilation of official videos, this time to promote The Miracle, and it contains I Want It All, Breakthru, The Invisible Man and Scandal. Curiously, no title track here. Again, these videos will be re-released in many other formats in the future, as we will see.
1990 - Queen at Wembley (VHS, Laserdisc)
The second of two concerts played at the Wembley Stadium in London during the Magic Tour (on Saturday, 12/07/1986) was already broadcast both on TV and the radio on that same day, but only four years later it got officially released for the first time. Being a VHS the concert is not complete, and nine tracks are missing (Tear It Up, Liar, Impromptu, Brian's solo, Now I'm Here, Love Of My Life, You're So Square, Hello Mary Lou and Big Spender), so at the time the only way to have the complete concert was to buy it on CD, which, however, came out only in 1992.
Since then, this Wembley concert became Queen's most famous one, with countless re-releases, as we will see later on.
1991 - Greatest Flix II (VHS, Laserdisc)
Following the first volume from ten years prior, this is another compilation of official videos which follows closely the Greatest Hits II tracklist. So we can find most of the videos released from Hot Space to Innuendo, leaving out only a few (like Scandal, Princes Of The Universe, Calling All Girls, Las Palabras De Amor and These Are The Days Of Our Lives, which problaly still had to be filmed).
1991 - Box Of Flix (VHS)
A simple re-packaging that contains both the Greatest Flix volumes.
It will be released again as Greatest Flix I & II in 1994, using new formats such as Video CD and DVD, along with the usual Laserdisc.
1992 - Live At The Rainbow (VHS)
An interesting release which was part of one of the earliest boxsets, called Box Of Tricks. Released only by mail order, it contained a CD with 12" mixes of various singles, the Live At The Rainbow VHS, a book with various pictures of the band, a black T-Shirt with Queen written in gold, a poster, a metal badge and a sew on patch.
The concert itself was sadly heavily edited down to around 50 minutes of length, with loads of cuts and a lot of studio overdubs. Now pretty embarassing to see, expecially after it had been remastered and re-released (we'll talk about this later on), but at the time it was a pretty big thing, being the only filmed concert from the seventies to see an official release.
1992 - Classic Queen - Greatest Hits (VHS)
A couple of releases probably done only to capitalize on Freddie's sad passing, as they are nothing more than compilations of official videos, the first one focusing mainly on the eighties with a couple of songs from the seventies, and the second one being the opposite.
1992 - We Are The Champions - Final Live in Japan (Japan release only, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, Blu-Ray)
Probably the closest we'll ever get to having an officially released complete concert from the Works Tour. This, despite its title, is taken from the third to last concert that Queen ever did in Japan, at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo on 11/05/1985, on the last leg of that tour. This concert was also broadcast on the radio (with a far better audio mix than the video one, in which Brian's guitar has a pretty low volume), and it's certainly one of the best of the whole tour. It only lacks Dragon Attack and Brian's Solo, the rest is all there.
This concert has been re-released on DVD and Blu-Ray more recently, but only in Japan, so it's pretty easy to find bootleg copies of it elsewhere.
1992 - The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert (VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray)
The famous Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, with many guests playing on their own in the fist half of the concert, and with the three remaining Queen members on the second half. It was broadcast live on TV at the time, and then released on VHS later in the year in an obviously edited form. When in 2002 it was released on DVD, many performances were added back in, but the complete concert has never seen an official release, and the only way to see it is still to look for some recordings of the original live broadcast. Re-released on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2013, it was also streamed on YouTube in 2020, and made available there for a limited time of 48 hours.
1995 - Champions of the World (Video CD, VHS)
Another very good documentary about Queen's career, which might not be as in depth as Magic Years, but it offers some kind of addition to that, talking about the members of the band in a personal way and focusing also on Freddie's passing. It's not exaclty considered as the fourth voulme of Magic Years, but it may as well be.
1996 - Made In Heaven (The Films) (VHS, DVD)
A compilation of videos of songs from the album Made In Heaven, that mostly have nothing to do with the songs themselves. Almost like a sequence of short movies with Queen's music as a soundtrack, it contains: I Was Born To Love You, Heaven For Everyone, Too Much Love Will Kill You, My Life Has Been Saved, You Don't Fool Me, A Winter's Tale, Let Me Live, Mother Love, Made In Heaven.
1999 - Queen Rocks - The Video (VHS)
Another compilation of videos, this time focusing solely on "rock" songs. While songs like Headlong, I Want It All, We Will Rock You, Hammer To Fall and Fat Bottomed Girls all use videos we've already seen elsewhere, all the other songs have newly made video, most times done using compilations of various clips (often from live shows). Right at the end we also have the video of No One But You (Only The Good Die Young), the last song recorded by Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon together, along with the "making of" after the end credits. It's now pretty easy to find Queen Rocks on YouTube, but for years finding this VHS was the only way to get to see these videos.
1999 - Greatest Flix III (VHS, Laserdisc)
Following the release of Greatest Hits III, this is the obligatory accompanying video compilation. The tracklist is pretty much the same as the album, so there is a weird mix of tracks from Made In Heaven, Innuendo, the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, and a couple of tracks from Freddie and Brian's solo careers. It has never been remastered and/or re-released since then.
2002 - Greatest Video Hits 1 (DVD)
The remastered version of Greatest Flix I, released on double DVD along with some interesting bonus interviews and footage (like Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy at the BBC, not available elsewhere as far as I'm aware). It will be released again more recently, but I'll talk about it right below.
2003 - Greatest Video Hits II (DVD)
The remastered version of Greatest Flix II, but, unlike the first volume, it has some differences. The videos range from Hot Space up to The Miracle, so no tracks from either Innuendo and/or Made In Heaven can be found, probably leaving room for a third volume with a revised tracklist. Problem is, that third volume never saw the light of day, so all videos from after The Miracle never saw an official release in the last 20 years, and are mainly available on YouTube, and that's it.
Leaving out those tracks made room for songs that were not on Flix II, like Body Language, Scandal, Las Palabras De Amor (this one was on Flix III) and Princes Of The Universe.
The second DVD is full of interesting stuff, from other videos like Calling All Girls and Back Chat, to their appearance playing (not live) at the Montreux Festival in '84 and '86, interviews and documentaries about The Miracle videos, and so on.
Both Greatest Video Hits 1 and 2 also had an audio track with Brian and Roger commenting the videos.
Another release of these two volumes, which in fact takes the place of these now old versions, saw the light in 2012, on a single double DVD release named simply Greatest Video Hits, containing only the first DVD of these releases and leaving out ALL bonus content. The reason why is beyond my understanding.
2003 - Live at Wembley Stadium (DVD)
This is the first release in which the legendary Wembley Stadium concert from 12/07/1986 is presented with the complete video. Due to the way it was filmed, it couldn't be remastered, but the quality is good enough. As a bonus, a second DVD contains interesting interviews and documentaries about those two nights at Wembley, along with rehearsal footage for the tour and seven songs from the Friday concert. Since they did two nights there, Friday and Saturday, they used the first night, in which it rained heavily, as a rehearsal for the film crew, so that they could be ready for the next day. For years we knew nothing about the Friday concert, and at this point it was said that those seven songs were all that was left of the film.
Funnily enough, in 2011 Live at Wembley Stadium got a re-release, which is very hard to find today, in a nice boxset with 2 DVDs and 2 CDs (with the audio of the Saturday show we all know), and the second DVD contained the full Friday concert that they said it didn't exist. And that concert is as strong, if not more, than the next day, even with the rain pouring.
2004 - Queen On Fire - Live at the Bowl (DVD)
Finally, after a decade of video compilation, Queen On Fire - Live At The Bowl is an actual newly released concert. Recorded and filmed at Milton Keynes on 05/06/1982, the last concert of the european leg of the Hot Space tour. It's a welcome chance to hear some beautiful live version of songs such as Staying Power, Action This Day, Back Chat, along with very strong versions of Somebody To Love, Save Me and many more. It certanly is one of the best concerts of that year, and even if they added some more Hot Space tracks later on in the tour (Body Language, Calling All Girls and Life Is Real), they rarely were as strong as on this night. Beautifully recorded and filmed, this is certainly one of the best live releases by Queen.
On the bonus DVD there are some interesting interviews, a photo gallery with a version of Calling All Girls recorded in Japan near the end of the tour, and and even more edited down version of that Live In Japan released in 1983 which we talked about at the beginning. I can't see why they had to cut an already incomplete show, but luckily there still are bootlegs around.
2006 - The Making Of A Night At The Opera - Classic Albums (DVD)
Part of the "Classic Albums" series, this is a documentary about the making of A Night At The Opera, with interviews by Brian, Roger and producer Roy Thomas Baker, among others. It's a nice documentary, in which we also get to hear some isolated tracks taken from the album's songs, and interesting stories from that period. There are more interviews as a bonus, along with a second DVD with the whole album on video, mostly made up by assembled live clips and other random movie clips (except for Bohemian Rhapsody and You're My Best Friend, which already had official videos).
2007 - Queen Rock Montreal (DVD, Blu-Ray)
Finally the old Montreal 1981 video that came out as "We Will Rock You" in 1984 got acquired by Queen themselves, and, after years of dodgy releases, in 2007 the definitive version of this concert saw the light of day.
The video has been remastered in high definition, along with a remixed audio that sounds so much better than the older version, even making some overdubs (if still there) less noticeable. Flash and The Hero are still missing from the video, but at least they could be found on the accompanying double CD of the same title.
The most common version of Rock Montreal is on a single DVD, but there was also one with a bonus DVD that contained the legendary performance at Live Aid in 1985, both the main set and Is This The World We Created?.
2011 - Queen - Days Of Our Lives (DVD, Blu-Ray)
Another beautiful documentary made by the BBC, maybe less in depth as the old Magic Years/Champions Of The World, but very interesting and well filmed. A couple of hours long, the Blu-Ray version is the way to go, mainly because of the bonus material, which brings the total lenght up to nearly four hours (also counting a selection of well known videoclips which was all but necessary).
2012 - Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest '86 (DVD - Blu-Ray)
Another old video remastered and released in its definitive edition. This time it's the turn of the Budapest one from 1986 and, as the Montreal one, sadly it remained as incomplete as the older version, but with a much better video and audio quality (now at the correct speed and pitch). A nice documentary about the Magic Tour make for a nice but not at all new bonus, and the whole concert was also released on double CD, with no cuts.
A beatiful companion to Wembley.
2014 - Live at the Rainbow '74 (DVD, Blu-Ray)
This is without a doubt one of the best live releases of Queen's whole career. Remember that old Live at the Rainbow VHS from 1992? Well, forget it: this is the definitive version of this legendary concert. They played two nights at the Rainbow Theatre in November 1974, and they got assembled for a perfect video and audio release, which is probably the most fascinating concert we got to see up until now. All the overdubs are gone, and songs like Father To Son, Flick Of The Wrist, Liar and such are all on here, full, unedited, in high quality.
There is also a short video with three songs from another concert at the Rainbow, an earlier one from March of that same year, which is luckily presented in full on CD, with the amazing surprise of a live version of The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke. Great job on this one, at the time it seemed like a welcome start of a series of archival release, but sadly it wasn't meant to last for long.
2015 - A Night at the Odeon – Hammersmith 1975 (DVD, Blu-Ray)
It's beyond me why it took so long to release this concert. Filmed on Christmas Eve in 1975 at the Hammersmith Odeon and broadcast live on TV, this is an hour long concert done during the tour to promote A Night At The Opera. Sadly, because of the time limits of the broadcast, the setlist had to be rearranged, so it bears more similarities to the Rainbow one than to what they usually played on tour (gone are the start of the show with the rock section of Bohemian Rhapsody, Sweet Lady, Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon...). Luckily we have the beginning and ending of Rhapsody, played in a medley, and Brighton Rock, which wasn't played at the Rainbow, along with a fun and very long Rock and Roll medley at the end. Sadly the encores weren't filmed, but are present as audio only on the CD.
Great quality, not many bonuses, but a nice release nonetheless. And sadly, the series of releases dedicated to live shows from the seventies ends here.
2015 - From Rags To Rhapsody (TV)
A nice documentary made by the BBC and shown only on TV. It's focused on the early years of the band, from the beginning up until their success with Bohemian Rhapsody. Nothing particularly new here, but there is a newly found video: Now I'm Here at the BBC from 1974.
2017 - Queen - The American Dream (DVD)
Another documentary made by the BBC, this time focusing on the american tour of 1977, promoting News Of The World. Firstly broadcast as "Rock The World" with also footage of the 2017 American Tour with Adam Lambert, then cut down and put in the 40th Anniversary boxset of News Of The World. Largely made using Bob Harris footage made during that tour, with lots of nice backstage and rehearsal moments, it's a very interesting and fun film. The only thing is that there are various clips from the Houston concert of that tour in this film, and for some reason that concert still remains officially unreleased to this day, despite the great quality we can all see in this documentary. A missed chance if I've ever seen one.