February 2001

Queen - A Night at the Opera
DCC GZS-1144
Remaster released: 2000

by Chuck Moe

Musical Performance ****1/2
Recording Quality ***
Overall Enjoyment ****1/2

[Reviewed on CD]Queen’s A Night At The Opera has long been regarded as a classic because of its skillful mix of progressive-arena rock and Broadway theatrics. Pretentious and flamboyant it may well be; however, without the pretension, A Night At The Opera would undoubtedly have been less musically successful. Even if you are one the unfortunate few who haven't heard it, you probably know its centerpiece, "Bohemian Rhapsody." Few songs are as instantly recognizable -- it is, and always will remain, a classic. Even Wayne and Garth recognized its greatness, rockin’ out in their Gremlin -- that scene epitomizes the emotions I feel every time I hear the song. If it won't rock you, perhaps the album's other certifiable classic, "You’re My Best Friend," will.

DCC has re-mastered A Night At The Opera and as compared with its last incarnation [Hollywood Records HR-61065-2], let’s just say that DCC’s re-master sounds far better in every respect. Sometimes, differences between re-masters are subtle -- not here! Immediately upon cueing the disc, one hears quite clearly its improved bass, warmth, timbre and balance. It possesses an analog naturalness that the Hollywood Records version doesn't even come close to. Freddie Mercury’s vocals and Brian May’s guitar have never sounded better acoustically or musically. The DCC version represents a dramatic improvement over the Hollywood records release. Of course, this begs the question: Is the Hollywood Records re-master that bad -- or is the DCC simply that good? Maybe a little of both. Does it matter? "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the rest of the CD sounds glorious. I can’t imagine anyone getting more out of the original tapes than Steve Hoffman has accomplished here. Now, if only I had an old Gremlin to play this in, life would be complete.

Party on dudes!