Not content to simply dominate rock and roll, Queen is intent on conquering the digital realm. Earlier this year, the legendary rock band collaborated with Enosis VR and Google Play to turn "Bohemian Rhapsody" into a surreal trip through Freddy Mercury's subconscious. Now, at the Tribeca Virtual Arcade within Oculus at the World Trade Center, Queen fans can rush the stage as the band performs with Adam Lambert in front of a roaring crowd of 15,000 in Barcelona.
VR The Champions (get it?) drops viewers into the front row of a stadium packed with Queen superfans. Lights arc across the sky like laser beams as Lambert croons the sing-song melody of "Radio Ga Ga." He makes eye contact with me, and I float through the air, landing onstage next to the band. To my right, guitarist Brian May thrusts his hips at the crowd while he shreds. It's an out-of-body, once-in-a-lifetime experience, made radically accessible by capturing it as a 3D VR film.
The Tribeca Virtual Arcade has been offering free-to-the-public VR experiences at Westfield World Trade Center throughout November. Set up in the skeletal Oculus space, the installation lets visitors don a headset and watch a selection of exceptional and inventive VR creations.
Among them are the Ethan Hawke-narrated Invasion!, Bourne Identity director Doug Liman's thriller Invisible, and Felix & Paul Studios' Cirque du Soleil documentary KÀ The Battle Within. Today, Tribeca is announcing the surprise addition of VR The Champions, which lets viewers experience a trio of classic Queen songs; in addition to "Radio Ga Ga," the film includes renditions of "We Will Rock You" and—of course—"We Are The Champions." The feeling of being surrounded on all sides by an amped-up crowd chanting, "We will rock you," takes full advantage of the immersive scope of VR.
"Having been enchanted by stereoscopy all my life, I'm thrilled that we've been able to dive into VR and deliver the first truly immersive, 360-degree, 3D 'flying rig' rock concert footage,” says May. “This turned out to be a show-stopper… so enjoy, and there is more to come. Rock!”
Whether May is alluding to additional VR projects or new music—as Queen drummer Roger Taylor alluded to on Planet Rock this week—is a mystery, but either way, we're looking forward to it.
VR The Champions is produced by A Miracle and Eagle Rock Films. Check it out at the closing weekend of the Tribeca Virtual Arcade this weekend only, November 18–20 from 12–8 PM each day.