“It really was a thrill to be able to play a bunch of songs that weren’t The Protomen. We’ve had a really busy year, and we’ve had a blast playing our own stuff, but this stuff is so much better.”
Protomen concerts usually end with at least a Queen cover as an encore. The feature became such a popular aspect of their shows that it was inevitable that the band would one day do a whole show focused around it. Another band, Evil Bebos, had decided to do their fair-well concert as homage to one of their influences, Black Sabbath. When they asked The Protomen to join in, this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
The Protomen Present: A Night of Queen is a live recording of their performance on December 10, 2010 at the Exit/In in Nashville, Tennessee. Released on June 1, 2012 it is the band’s third album. The sound engineer was Shaun Wasburn, and the album was mixed by Alan Shacklock, The Protomen, and Bert Stone. Like their first two albums it was released by Sound Machine Records.
Having the cover art be a homage to the iconic Queen II album cover was a nice touch, right down to the scroll work of the lettering, with nine of the band members standing in a diamond formation having all but their heads hidden in shadow.
- Battle Theme
- Don’t Stop Me Now
- Killer Queen
- Hammer To Fall
- One Vision
- Somebody To Love
- Princess Of The Universe
- Death On Two Legs
- I Want To Break Free
- I Want It All
- The Show Must Go On
- Under Pressure – Featuring Devin Lamp as David Bowie
- Bohemian Rhapsody
- Due Vendetta – off the Act I album
How is it?
While the album is a live recording, with all the pros and cons of such, it has professional quality sound. Over all, it is a very well done labor of love. It is obvious that they know these songs backwards and forwards, and their performances are spot on. Unfortunately, the songs are straight covers.
Just like The Beatles and other musical titans, some may argue that you shouldn’t cover Queen. If you do, you shouldn’t change anything; that way the original songs won’t go through history dragging along terrible rehashings behind them. The problem with that train of thought is it produces a lot of missed opportunities. Covering a song, and making it one’s own can breathe new life into the original. For instance there is the matter of the Dylan and Hendrix versions of All Along the Watchtower or the NIN and Cash versions of Hurt. Each version of those songs stands on it own as a great piece of music, with its own meanings and subtleties. Here, The Protomen have created nothing new. The songs are played without any real alteration as if the concert was done by a normal Queen cover band.
I only have one complaint about the album, and it is that I know it could have been more than it is. Anyone who has listened to their previous work knows how insanely talented and creative the group is. They built a rock opera based on Mega Man from the ground up, mixing multiples styles together, using all original music, and making it work. This album is…Queen. That’s just about it. It is masterfully done, but it sounds so much like Queen that it could be confused for a Queen live album. I know I would have had a blast at the concert, but I don’t know how often I would listen to the album when I could just as easily listen to the originals.
So, we’ve got this album that is an hour of very talented artists playing their hearts out in honor of a band that inspired them. If you like Queen and want to hear someone else do the same stuff, you’ll be impressed by how well they do so without the risk of getting angry about your favorite songs being badly altered. If you have a friend who is reluctant to listen to some nerds make up songs about video game characters, have that friend listen to this in order get them to see how musically competent those nerds are. If you want to fill out your collection or just want to support a band that deserves a lot of support pick this up. If all you want is Queen…go listen to Queen.