19 February 2014
After over 40 years of big stadiums ,bigger riffs and even bigger amps, rock legend Brian May is swapping it all – for some candles. The Queen axeman is largely shunning his trusty Red Special for “stripped down” reworkings of the group’s monster anthems when he performs at Scarborough’s Spa Complex with West End singing sensation Kerry Ellis on February 21.
But while fans can expect to hear classics such as We Will Rock You and Radio Ga Ga, it may come as a surprise to hear them sandwiched between the likes of Ben E King, Matt Monro, and even Barbara Streisand.
“The Way We Were is just an amazing song,” said the guitar god, who staunchly defends the inclusion of the Oscar-winning weepie in the set. He added: “People are used to coming and watching a big production, but this show is more about the songs and the music. And people seem to really love it. They get the chance to hear some of these songs in a more intimate venue and be closer.”
And he admits he’s “hardening up the finger ends” in preparation for the whistle-stop seven-date tour, in which he will be joined by Britain’s newest first lady of song – who claims it’s a “privilege” to belt out the songs made famous by Freddie Mercury.
She said: “Everyone seems to know Queen’s music and they have influenced everyone in some way. I think everyone was raised listening to their music, and it’s a real privilege to play with Brian.”
On the Queen front, the band has had a series of mini renaissances in recent years, touring successfully with former Free and Bad Company gun for hire Paul Rodgers before touring with American Idol winner Adam Lambert.
Brian says that the rest of the group are looking at doing “some dates in the future” with Lambert, but for now the immediate focus is on this tour. And the guitar ace promises a few surprises on what will be his first ever Scarborough show.
“We are looking at putting a different Queen song in the setlist, as well as an Everly Brothers song, that we were working on before Phil Everly passed away.” And he added: “It will be the first time that I’ve played Scarborough but I’m looking forward to it. My PA is from there too, so she’s told me to say ‘eh up!’.