Live Magic


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Live Magic
Live Magic
Released 1 December 1986 (UK), August 1996 (US)
Recorded July - August 1986 at Wembley Stadium, Nepstadion, and Knebworth Park
Length mm:ss
Label Parlophone (UK), Hollywood Records (US)
Producer(s) Queen and Trip Khalaf
Queen chronology
A Kind Of Magic
Live Magic
The Miracle


The existence of Live Magic has, for years, befuddled fans. Released four months after the conclusion of Queen's record-breaking 1986 Magic tour, the single disc, fifteen track LP contained highlights from three venues over four nights: the majority was taken from the final date of the tour at Knebworth, though a few songs were taken from two nights at Wembley Stadium and one at the Nepstadion in Budapest. On paper, it all looks good, with the biggest of Queen's hits and stadium pleasers in abundance (as well as, it should be noted, all songs that had been performed at Live Aid), but the execution was the most disappointing aspect: evidently reticent in releasing another double album, the band decided that the only solution was to edit all the songs in order to fit on one disc. For some songs, this works; for others, it comes as a shock, especially to hear Bohemian Rhapsody without its operatic middle section. Some may argue that the operatic section is redundant anyway, since it was always performed from tape, but it's jarring to hear other "lengthy" songs like Tie Your Mother Down, I Want To Break Free, and Radio Ga Ga reduced to mere soundbites, while the presence of We Will Rock You, Friends Will Be Friends, and Is This The World We Created...? is dubious at best when the songs all run less than two minutes. Fans are encouraged to pick up Live At Wembley '86 instead, for a more complete document of how the Magic tour really went.

Released in December 1986, Live Magic reached #3 in the UK, though its success was likely only because of the spectacle of Queen's tour and not for the content alone. The CD featured "extended" versions of Another One Bites The Dust, Hammer To Fall, and A Kind Of Magic. Unsurprisingly, no live singles were taken from the album. The US didn't receive an initial release, because the tour hadn't been extended to the States and Capitol Records reasoned that it would hold no appeal to their American fans. (This would prove to be yet another nail in the proverbial coffin between Queen and their US record company.) Inexplicably, and seemingly without warning, Hollywood Records released the album on CD in August 1996, in a seemingly misguided attempt to capitalize on the release of Made In Heaven the year before, though, predictably, the album failed to chart.


Vinyl version

  • Side 1:
  1. One Vision
  2. Tie Your Mother Down
  3. Seven Seas Of Rhye
  4. A Kind Of Magic
  5. Under Pressure
  6. Another One Bites The Dust
  • Side 2:
  1. I Want To Break Free
  2. Is This The World We Created...?
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody
  4. Hammer To Fall
  5. Radio Ga Ga
  6. We Will Rock You
  7. Friends Will Be Friends
  8. We Are The Champions
  9. God Save The Queen

CD version

  1. One Vision
  2. Tie Your Mother Down
  3. Seven Seas Of Rhye
  4. A Kind Of Magic *
  5. Under Pressure
  6. Another One Bites The Dust *
  7. I Want To Break Free
  8. Is This The World We Created...?
  9. Bohemian Rhapsody
  10. Hammer To Fall *
  11. Radio Ga Ga
  12. We Will Rock You
  13. Friends Will Be Friends
  14. We Are The Champions
  15. God Save The Queen

-* Full Live Version


  • Musicians:
Freddie Mercury – vocals, piano
Brian May – guitars, vocals, acoustic guitar on Is This The World We Created...?
John Deacon – bass guitar
Roger Taylor – drums, vocals, effects on A Kind Of Magic
Spike "The Duke" Edney - keyboards, vocals, additional guitar on Hammer To Fall


Country Release date First appearance in charts Peak position Chart run Weeks in chart Additional comments
UK - 13 December 1986 3 5-7-8-9-9-5-3-4-4-10-10-7-8-9-11- 10-9-17-25-28-35-45-40-


40 16 weeks in Top 10
UK - 7 December 1991 51 51-70-75 3 43 weeks to date
Austria - - - - - -
Finland - - - - - -
Germany - - - - - -
Japan - - 49 - 3 -
Italy - - 22 - 9 -
Netherlands - - 17 - - -
Portugal - - - - - -
Spain - - - - - -
Sweden - - - - - -
Switzerland - - - - - -

Information supplied by Fedepeti, 24 August 2004

Liner notes


Queen Talks


All Music Guide

As Queen's second live album, Live Magic might appear to be a bit unnecessary, but a closer look reveals that it's a better record than the previous Live Killers. Culled from a variety of dates from the 1986 Kind of Magic tour but concentrating on the final show at Knebworth, Live Magic captures Queen, and Freddie Mercury in particular, at the height of their powers. While the set list might rely a bit too heavily on mediocre mid-'80s material for some tastes, the band is tight and professional, and Mercury has an undeniable hold over the crowd. It's to Queen's credit that the energy rarely dips over the course of the record. Live Magic may be designed for hardcore fans, but for those listeners, it will provide a number of highlights, proving that the band's remarkable performance at Live Aid was no fluke.

Kerrang!! 1987

KKKK {out of 5}

...FRIED CHICKEN! Exactly, mon amour! Please to be seated...enjoy! as those sublime and tickly Queen boys work their live magic on the plump Xmas market...

Freddie Mercury, he's a bold one, eyes like brandy and a voice that smokes, shrill and camp, though most of all these days, and to his credit, he is Mr Entertainment personified, the rest of the band still one of the most striking and unique musical forces left over from the glittery early '70s, still going strong, still able to pack out Wembley Stadium, Knebworth Park and Nepstadion in Budapest, where these live recordings were made.

Queen live is a cool place to be, listening to a Queen live album requires a little more dedication. With a few exceptions live albums are very much a by-product of cultish fandom - a bit like most videos, they're OK but unless they're totally mindblowing or radically different from their recorded originals they don't mean an awful lot of s**t after a few decent spins.

...BUT LIFE STILL GOES ON! Why certainly! And if you are in the happy mood to score one of these 'Live Magic' gimmicks, the least I should point out is that you probably won't be disappointed. 15 tracks, in all, including the vampish Brian May arrangement of 'God Save the Queen'. Hits? Nothing but...'One Vision', 'Tie Your Mother Down', 'Seven Seas Of Rhye', 'A Kind Of Magic', Under Pressure', 'Another One Bites The Dust'...and that's just Side One.

They play it well tight, the dynamism all intact, cracked out with all the spiteful enthusiasm these arch performers are capable of, and if you are an ardent Queen fan with a passion for good live recordings then this is the one for you. (Mick Wall)