Days Of Our Lives DVD
Eagle Rock Entertainment
By Susan Sliwicki
A fan of Queen’s music since the first time I first heard it, I felt I knew a fair bit about the band. That was before I viewed the new documentary “Days of Our Lives,” completed in concert with the band’s 40th anniversary.
The two-part documentary totals 118 minutes — although it feels like it moves a lot faster. There’s a mountain of bonuses, including videos and segments about the “Made in Heaven” and “Innuendo” albums. (The Blu-ray release has close to another hour’s worth of bonus sequences.) Footage of the band’s first-ever TV performance, which recently was unearthed, also is included.
The best part of the documentary for me is that so much of it came straight from the horses’ mouths, so to speak. In addition to the expected vintage video clips and sound bites and interviews with journalists and industry figures who worked directly with the band, this effort features brand-new interviews with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. Though he was laid to rest 20 years ago, Freddie Mercury still gets plenty of screen time, too.
The one thing I missed was participation from bassist John Deacon, who is still very much alive. I understand and even respect that Deacon chose to take a different career path than May and Taylor following Mercury’s death from bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS. But this documentary is about the band — it’s not just a love letter to Freddie, although that sentiment certainly comes through. Part of my desire to hear from Deacon could stem from the fact he has basically withdrawn from all things Queen and opted against baring his soul; one always craves what one cannot have. But Deacon was a vital element of the band — an anchor, if you will, whose songwriting (“I Want To Break Free,” “Another One Bites The Dust,” “You’re My Best Friend”) and intricate basslines were as vital to Queen as Mercury’s soaring vocals and stage presence, Taylor’s rock-steady drumming and May’s guitar virtuosity.
Deacon’s involvement aside, I cannot fault the finished product. It is incredibly well done, and much of that credit should go the hard work of producers Rhys Thomas and Simon Lupton, lifelong fans of Queen themselves. If you love Queen’s music, “Days Of Our Lives” is an essential purchase. If you’ve previously dismissed Queen’s work, do yourself a favor and watch “Days of Our Lives.” It may not convert you to a Queen-ophile, but the band’s story will entertain you … if you let it.