QueenLive at the Rainbow '74 (Eagle Vision/Universal)
"The nasty Queenies are back," leers Freddie Mercury from the stage. The original knights in white satin turned up in a black cab to London's Rainbow Theatre. In an era when most British rock bands were one gorgeous frontman and a bunch of welders, Queen offered four Beatles-esque poster boys: Doe-eyed John Deacon; curly-haired stargazer Brian May; teen heartthrob Roger Taylor; and the singer, all Katharine Hepburn cheekbones and Caligula smile, primping his hair with the vocal workout of "Now I'm Here." The Rainbow meant you'd made it, site of Jimi Hendrix's first torched guitar, where Yes recorded Yessongs, and ground zero for the BBC's first ever TV/radio simulcast (Van Morrison). In November 1974, strange, daring Queen recorded two nights on the Sheer Heart Attack tour there, transitioning from their debut's prog-tinged vaudeville to something sly, muscular, and betraying the first hints of the bombast that would define the A Night at the Opera/A Day at the Races double date. With rougher quality snippets from March's date for Queen II, the Live at the Rainbow '74 DVD also includes the set on CD, plowing through sleek rockers "Keep Yourself Alive," "Stone Cold Crazy," and even "Jailhouse Rock" before concluding with "God Save the Queen." So refined, so powerful, so damn good you can ignore the hideous dove wing ensemble the singer sports.