Review: Brian May & Kerry Ellis at The Spa, Scarborough


Here is a nice review and lovely pictures by Yorkshire Coast Gigs…

Kerry and Brian - Scarborough
Brian May and Kerry Ellis, Scarborough Spa, 21 February 2014 | Dave Barry

25 February 2014 by Dave Barry

At 66, with squillions in the bank, Brian May, widely regarded as one of the world’s top guitarists, could be taking it easy.

Instead, like many ageing contemporaries, he’s still on the road. However, unlike most of his peers, May isn’t doing it for the money. A vice-president of the RSPCA, he is vegan and a passionate campaigner for animal welfare; the proceeds from his 10-date Born Free tour will go to the Sponsor Badger Vaccination Fund.

He shares the stage with a singer known to many as the ‘first lady’ of West End musicals, Kerry Ellis. They met in 2002, when she auditioned for the Queen musical We Will Rock You.

Billed as an intimate, candle-lit show, it featured stripped-down versions of half a dozen Queen numbers alongside personal favourites, showcasing Ellis’s powerful voice with May accompanying her on guitar and vocals. They were joined by Jeff Leach on keyboards.

A master of the subtle understatement, the musical astro-physicist from Surrey came across as modest, deferential and compassionate.

Photos and film of badgers, foxes, lions, etc were projected onto a screen behind the pair throughout a set that lasted an hour and three quarters, without an interval.

It was mostly acoustic but an electric guitar came out for Tell Me What You See, the first of two Beatles covers (the other was Something).

At one point, May left the stage for Ellis to sing I’m Not That Girl, from the Wicked musical, and to change his turquoise shirt. Then Ellis exited stage right while May played Last Horizon, a guitar solo – on his home-made Red Special – which morphed into Scarborough Fair and part of Queen’s Brighton Rock.

On the 40th anniversary of Queen’s first appearance on Top of the Pops (with a mimed performance of Seven Seas of Rhye), May dug deeper into his old band’s back catalogue with ’39, Tie Your Mother Down, No-One But You, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Somebody to Love, which had the audience of 1,300 (who each paid £39 for the privilege) singing and clapping along.


Badger Swagger (May)
I Who Have Nothing (Ben E King)
Butterfly (May, Ellis)
Dust in the Wind (Kansas)
Born Free (Matt Monro)
Somebody to Love (Freddie Mercury)
Tell Me What You See (Lennon & McCartney)
Nothing Really Has Changed (Virginia McKenna)
The Way We Were (Marvin Hamlisch)
So Sad (Everly Brothers)
’39 (May)
Something (George Harrison)
The Kissing Me Song (May, Ellis)
I’m Not That Girl (Idina Menzel)
If I Loved You (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
Last Horizon (May)
Tie Your Mother Down (May)

No-One But You (May)
Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Mercury)

Brian May At Scarborough
Brian May at Scarborough Spa | Dave Barry
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