We were still in Oporto and I knew for a fact that Montreux would be a mandatory stop during our trip to Poland. Montreux is an essential place for every Queen fan out there and as so, I was anxious to get there. In the margins of lake Geneve we can found the famous Freddie Mercury statue that is the cover image of Queen’s last studio album Made in Heaven that was recorded right here in Montreux. The statue was surrounded by tourists taking pictures and after some contemplation moments there, we went to the famous studio. It’s a couple of rooms located right inside the Montreux casino. At the entrance I asked an elder gentleman, immaculately dressed as a doorman, how could I get to the studio, that had been transformed into a museum. He said that I have to follow the steps by the end of the arcade machines saloon, that the entrance is for free and that it’s an amazing experience.
There we went and at the entrance of “Queen: The Studio Experience” there were two lion statues dressed as Freddie and a Flash Gordon’s pinball machine.”This is going to be great”, I thought to myself.
The museum is divided in three different rooms. The entrance room has lots of showcases full with fanzines, all very well divided by albums and periods, a couple of Freddie Mercury and Brian May’s extravagant suits and an improvised stage with instruments used by the band in several concerts throughout their career.
There’s a little room behind the small stage where a video runs in a loop where people that have one or another story about that place can tell all about Queen. The third room is the Regi (room where the producer mixes the band while they play in the room in front) of the real studio where the band recorded their albums. They give us access to two tracks that’s we can mix in real time, while the music plays in the speakers. There are also some loose papers written by hand by the band members, lyrics and what so on.
There is some kind of aura in this kind of places that is difficult to explain. In that precise place dozens of albums were recorded, not only Queen’s and its members’ solo albums but bands and artists like AC DC, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, among others.
It’s an experience that I recommend to everyone, Queen fan or not. It’s a landmark of the Pop/Rock culture of the 70s, 80s and 90s.