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Queen's 'VR the Champions' delivers a live show to your virtual reality headset

Queen's VR the Champions
For more than 40 years, Queen has been one of the biggest rock acts around, selling out shows all around the world. Now, fans can experience a live performance by the band as never before, thanks to the release of a new virtual reality concert film dubbed VR the Champions.

The performance was recorded at Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi in May 2016, and features singer Adam Lambert in lieu of the band’s legendary original frontman Freddie Mercury. Queen perform some of their best and most beloved songs, including We Will Rock You, Radio Ga Ga, and — of course — We Are the Champions.

VR the Champions gives fans the opportunity to experience the show via 360-degree video, hovering above the audience and even flying among the band themselves as they perform on stage. It was shot in stereoscopic 4K, using a full-sphere surround sound technique known as ambisonic audio to make sure that the sound is just as immersive as the visuals.

The music industry has been taking notice of VR as of late — in May, LiveNation inked a deal with NextVR that will see a host of live concerts filmed and broadcast to VR headsets. However, Queen has more of a personal connection to the technology than most other acts, thanks to guitarist Brian May’s longstanding fascination with all kinds of stereoscopic imagery.

May was a driving force behind the Owl VR kit, an innovative method of offering VR content via smartphones inspired by Victorian stereoscopic techniques. VR the Champions can be enjoyed using the device, as well as other hardware like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard.

“This is the fulfillment of a dream,” said May, who is credited as the project instigator for VR the Champions. “Through this unique Virtual Reality creation, fans around the world will for the first time be able to experience the excitement and energy of a Queen show in their own homes. Many of you have seen VR, but not VR like this!”

VR the Champions is available now via VRTGO, Universal Music Group’s proprietary VR platform, and is priced at $10.

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