I finally got a copy of the On Air 6-CD set! I'm sure in 2017, people may be puzzled about my still purchasing CDs. Downloading stuff would certainly offer up instant gratification, but I love/hate/love the anticipation of waiting for an order to ship, physically holding my purchase... I prefer my Queen stuff to be tangible :-)
Anyway! I was excited to upload all six discs to my iTunes library (I love this (tedious) process, too!), and I noticed a couple disturbing things. First of all, disc 3 starts with Freddie and Kenny Everett going through A Day At The Races,, but Freddie's name was misspelled! Mistakes happen, but this just seemed like a pretty gross oversight!
Disc 6 yielded no proper track names when I uploaded it. I thought for a minute that I'd gone back in time to the days of burning CDs, and everything was organized by "track 01", "track 02", etc. so I had to go through and label everything manually (Kids, this was prior to the days where a trusty internet connection and music storage worked hand-in-hand. Those were dark times). I have no idea if this was my desktop being weird, or if that's how it looks for everyone...
I'm glad to have this collection, and Queen Productions, Ltd. has phoned it in on cover art plenty, and I grudgingly switched out parentheses and brackets on the rerelease bonus CDs to make everything consistent, but..? Was On Air assigned one track per person to digitize and put together, or something? Would that explain some of the spelling errors and some interview tracks ending in periods? Maybe they need rejuvenated and motivated staff? I don't know... It just seems more careless than usual.
But on with the actual content! There is a LOT of stuff in this set! And none of it is filler! The first 2 discs are recordings from the BBC studio sessions, and it's fun to have the announcers voice at the end name each song because it gives my generation and folks younger than me an idea of what it might've sounded like to hear Queen's early days as if they were current. And it's fun to compare the BBC versions to the proper album versions!
Disc 3, which I admittedly have not actually listened to yet because my attention span doesn't always allow me to give a thing the attention it deserves at first listen. But on there is concert footage that played over BBC Radio, which is fun. It's additionally amusing and amazing to me because there's a few tracks of Queen in Germany in 1986, which is where my friend George saw them!
Discs 5 and 6 are interviews. I've only been able to listen to Freddie on Kenny Everett's show so far (with a ridiculous amount of pausing because, again, attention span), and the sound quality is lacking, unfortunately, but it's clear that QPL really did the best they could with what they had. Their voices are loud enough, but over the years what might have been perfectly clear conversation just now sounds almost mumbly. I would suggest headphones and minimal background noise if you have auditory processing issues like myself.
Still, I think it's worth it to have all 6 discs if you can afford it, and if you care at all about radio interviews (some of which aren't particularly long, if that helps). But those who just want the music can opt for the 2-disc set.