brian's soapbox

FEBRUARY 2020

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EXPERT OPINION - LETTERS

 

As always, the opinions expressed in these pages are purely and personally those of myself, Brian; they are not the official views of Queen, or of any other organisation or individual.

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1 | 2 | 3

**Sun 23 Feb 20**
BEAUTIFUL OPTUS STADIUM, PERTH
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Arrival at the beautiful OPTUS Stadium, Perth. Ready for a hot one tonight !



Brian May: Arrival Optus Stadium Perth 23 Feb 2020 -https://youtu.be/zqD7eZkw10M

Amazing time-lapse during set-up at Optus Stadium this afternoon. From STEVE PRICE. How did he do it ? !!



Brian May shows Optus Stadium time-lapse by Steve Price 23 Feb 2020
- https://youtu.be/2du63fLv_mo

Bri

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**Thu 20 Feb 20**
HERE'S JOLLITY - NOBODY IS GOING TO BUY THIS SHIRT !!! - FREEWHEELIN' TONIGHT
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Here’s Jollity at the conclusion of soundcheck - Day 2 for QAL at the AAMI Stadium Melbourne. I’ve been a little quiet. The pace is tough, physically and mentally too. I tend to feel that if I’ve got nothing special to say, I prefer to be silent. And process. And recharge. But today is a new opportunity. Time to grasp it with both hands. Hope you are all grasping your opportunities, folks ! Let’s ROCK !!!

Bri post-soundcheck sweep AAMI Park Melbourne 20 Feb 2020
- https://youtu.be/58Oomze86wk

They’re forcing me to put this up. I’ve told them NOBODY is going to buy this shirt !!! But, just in case, I’ll put the link up! - HERE

Brian Flash t-shirt

Cheers all !

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A little free wheelin’ tonight - on the ancient classic Heartreak Hotel. Captured by Pete from backstage. THANK YOU MELBOURNE !!! You guys were great to play to. Take care.


QAL Freewheelin' tonight Melbourne 20 Feb 2020 - https://youtu.be/xW9GNk9xuLs

Bri

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**Tue 18 Feb 20**
FINAL MOMENT, BIG MOMENT FOR ME [FFAU]
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And the final moment of last night’s dream show. Big moment for me - playing the song that it something like a national anthem for Australia now - guesting with the magnificent John Farnham, along with the ever-lovely Olivia Newton-John, plus representatives of ancient Australian culture and ... some of those noble firefighters to whom we all owe so much. That was a corker !!!




Brian May: Final Moment FFAU 16 Feb 2020 - https://youtu.be/J1MwwjuU4fY

Bri and Olivia Newton John
Credit: Sharon Ashley

Bri by Cole Bennett, Getty
Credit: Cole Bennetts/Getty

Bri by Cole Bennett, Getty
Credit: Cole Bennetts/Getty

Bri

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**Sun 16 Feb 20**
RIVER TAXI - CATCHING UP - FIRE FIGHT AUSTRALIA
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A great way to travel to Australia’s flagship firefighting show ! Cruising under the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge - and by river taxi to the ANZ STADIUM where we played just last night to an awesome crowd of rockin’ Aussies. Monumental team effort today - good luck to all the performers - and thanks to all who are supporting the crusade today.



Brian May: Sydney river taxi 16 Feb 2020 - https://youtu.be/u-MOtCvDgUk

Bri and Alice Cooper - FireFight

Catching up with an old friend backstage at ANZ Stadium FireFight Australia. Alice is way beyond cool !

Fire Fight Australia tonight. AWESOME. I don’t think I’ve felt quite like that since Live Aid. Photo: Steve Price. Great job Steve. Many thanks.

FireFight AU by Steve Price

FF Australia by ared Leibowitz

 

FIREFIGHT AUSTRALIA - Sydney last night. Photos - 1, 2, 3, 4, Steve Price. 5, 6, Pete Malandrone.

Bri - FF Au - by Steve Price

Bri - FF Au - by Steve Price

 Bri - FF Au by Steve Price

Bri - FF Au - by Steve Price

Brian May and Adam Lambert FF AU clip - 16 Feb 2020
- https://youtu.be/k3J-19ANh6w

Bri and Adam - FF Au - by Pete Malandrone

Bri

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**Sun 16 Feb 20**
SAD NEWS [RIP CAROLINE FLACK]
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Caroline Flack

Very sad news from the UK. Sincere Condolences to Caroline’s family and friends. I have more to say ... but ... later. Today we add our voices and efforts to Australia’s fight to recover from the tragic fires.

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**Sat 15 Feb 20**
SYDNEY ! - LOVELY ART - IF YOU WANNA DONATE
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Brian May: Sydney ANZ Olympic Stadium 15 Feb 2020 - https://youtu.be/vrv4lcuWUhE

Sydney ! In the gorgeous ANZ Olympic Stadium. The quietest moment of the night ? Thanks for the love tonight, folks. 60,000 hearts beating as one. Lost for words right now, looking at this backstage video clip from Pete. And then a glance back at how it looked when we arrived - and sound-checked - earlier in the day. Amazing. And tomorrow - well, today - we return as part of the great benefit show for FIRE FIGHT AUSTRALIA !!!! See ya out there !!!

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Thanks pals for your lovely art !!!

---

I’ll be thinking of this lovely chap on stage tonight. If you wanna donate to the animal rescue operation,

please see the link: https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/donate/koa


Brian May: Will be thinking of this lovely chap 16 Feb 2020
- https://youtu.be/hbW3kE5lTCA

Bri

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**Fri 14 Feb 20**
VISITING TIME RSPCA ANIMAL HOSPITAL, WACOL BRISBANE
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CLICK HERE to DONATE

Visiting time ! A precious moment with Bear - an adorable rescued Koala - in the RSPCA Animal Hospital, Wacol, Brisbane. These people are doing an incredible job of caring for the survivors of the tragic Queensland fires. They need our support. More soon. Video capture by Sharon Ashley.



Brian May: Visiting time RSPCA Wacol Brisbane 14 Feb 2020
- https://youtu.be/VU1WjHMZIvo

A quick resumé of a visit I was determined to make today in beautiful Queensland. Amazing. More later.

Bri and Koala pal

Outside RSPCA Animal Hospital, Wacol, Brisbane 14 Feb 2020

Bri with Staff and koalas, RSPCA Animal Hospital, Wacol, Brisbane

Bri with RSPCA staff and koala

Koala in hiding

Bri coaxing koala out of hiding

Double koala cuddle

Bri and koala pal

Bri and koala pal - smiles

---

A fragment of the Channel 10 News First coverage today of my meeting with the wonderful RSPCA team.

And CLICK HERE to look at donating to help these people save the Koalas and other animals so hard hit by the fires, in addition to all the other threats to their lives. And thanks Pola Mielewczy.

Bri

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**Fri 14 Feb 20**
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY - SOON !!! [FF AU]
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Happy Valentines Day to young lovers of all ages !!! And to all those looking for Somebody to Love !!

Of course I’m parked 11,000 miles away from this amazing lady for the whole of this 6-week tour. The Rock and Roll life isn’t exactly a bed of roses. It’s not for the faint-hearted. For some of us, it was the idyllic pursuit of pure passion that made us plunge into this kind of life and work in the first place. And then you look around and wonder ... what actually happened to your heart ... Funny old life.

Brian May and Anita Dobson - London Road premiere 9 June 2015

Valentines Day Folks !!! Wishing you all chocolate !!!

Heart chocolate box

Parallel:

Heart chocolate box - parallel

Cross-eyed:

Heart chocolate box - cross-eyed

 

Soon !!!

Fire Fight - Queen poster

The menu for Sunday’s benefit show for Fire Fight Australia.

FF Australia running times

Bri

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**Thu 13 Feb 20**
HELLO BRISBANE - HAPPY BIRTHDAY PETER GABRIEL
- UTTERLY BRILLIANT - RAIN ?

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Hello Brisbane ! Hello AUSTRALIA !! Hello world ! Hello to being fully functional ! Goodbye to black dog ! Wishing you ALL a great day - and yes - even them ! The great thing about days is every one is a new one. There must be a haiku there somewhere !!!

Brian May: Hello Brisbane 13 Feb 2020 - https://youtu.be/Q3QGy8nBhSc

Happy Birthday Peter Gabriel ! Genius !! Young man !!!Peter Gabriel l Photo by Denis Pellerin

Parallel:

Bri and Peter Gabriel - parallel

Cross-eyed:

 q

This is utterly brilliant !! Always gets a giggle out of me !! But for me it’s probably too dangerously close to the truth ! Ha ha ! Thanks guys !!

 
---

What did I say about rain ? Jeeez. ... probably the wettest gig we ever played. All the weather forecasts - even on the day - we’re completely, utterly wrong ... it changes everything, of course, and just plain endurance becomes a big part of the evening. But somehow the sharing of this insane occasion breeds a strong feeling of brother and sisterhood ! And adding in a strong sense of humour the night became very special. Thanks folks - in all that torrential rain I don’t think one person relinquished their post !! Yeeeeeow !!!

And yes I did play my original Red Special tonight - I would never play a gig without her. And yes she and I both got very wet - and yes - it’s not good for either of us ! But - the Show Must Go On - and it was worth it to see those happy faces !!

Brian May: "What did I say about rain ?" Brisbane 13 Feb 2020
- https://youtu.be/gj1u03sMmac

(video : Pete !)

Bri

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**Wed 12 Feb 20**
MY WELCOME TO BRISBANE
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Brisbane Airport - plane

Brisbane Airport - plane on ground

My Welcome to Brisbane ! First of all THANKS to so many of you folks who managed to find a way to send me supportive messages while I’ve been quietly trying to work my way through the feelings generated by the incident that happened at Brisbane Airport, just moments after I landed in Australia.

Bri and Cooper Simmons
Bri and Cooper Simmons

No – I’m not all right. But I will be. It certainly ruined my day, and if that’s what you wanted, Channel 7, then you got it. There’s a fine line between anger and depression, and I’ve been struggling with all of that since I got ambushed and harrassed by a TV News team, fresh off the plane from New Zealand. Now, obviously I’m not a novice at this … I’ve interacted with literally thousands of news reporters, photographers and cameramen over the last 50 years. I’m not exactly known for being aggressive, even in the face of provocation, but this guy caught me unawares – one of the rudest and most disrespectful video cameramen I’ve ever encountered. As we drove out of the airport, I noticed a small group of young kids with Queen albums, waving a welcome. I find it hard to just drive by in a case like this. Yes, they could have been pesky e-bay hounds just looking to make a quick buck, but these guys looked like very genuine fans. This stuff still matters to me. So we stopped the car and I got out to sign their Queen material, and they kindly gave me gifts of typically Australian goodies. Lovely. Pressed up against the kids was a guy with a huge TV camera. I’d noticed him, obviously, but I had no idea who he was – whether he was part of the party of kids, or a third party. I just let him film for the few moments I was signing the albums. But these kids were clearly very moved by the meeting, and I felt they deserved to have a few moments NOT being filmed for public sharing. So, in the nicest possible way, I turned to the cameraman and asked if he’d stop filming, now he’d got his story, and give us some private moments. He refused. He kept on filming, and aggressively turned the camera close-up on my face. That, to me, felt like deliberate invasion of my space, and downright unfriendly. At that moment, everything changed.

——

I asked the cameraman at least two more times to put the camera down, and so did the kids. One of them said “I’ve waited half my life to meet Brian and I don’t want it to be spoilt by you”. The guy carried on filming, and then I told him firmly to put the camera away, or else this would turn into an ugly incident. Finally, he pointed the camera upwards, and it was fairly obvious it was still turned on, recording sound. Now it takes quite a lot to get me rattled, but I was beginning to boil. Everyone has a tipping point, I think ? I carried on talking to the kids, trying to ignore the invasive presence, but he then pulled out his iPhone and began to film us with that. That was the final straw for me. I headed towards him with the intention of temporarily separating him from his phone, and actually put a hand on it, before my security guy gently dissuaded me. And then I realised I had walked straight into a trap. The guy now had what he wanted. He could cook this up into a story in which I was portrayed as an attacker on an innocent victim of a newsman. He possessed the only footage of the incident, so he or his bosses could edit it any way they wanted, to make me look like I lost my rag for no reason. And that, predictably, is exactly what Channel 7 did. They could have run a story about how we’d come over preparing to do our bit for Fire Fight Australia next week, or about the upcoming massively sold-out show in Brisbane, or even about how we’d had a nice welcome from some fans at the airport. But no … they ran the ‘story’ with a smug introduction about Brian May “attacking” a cameraman, followed by a cunningly edited version of the footage he’d shot, in which I come across as an aggressor. I regret getting angry, but angry I was, under what I regard as severe provocation, and to me the behaviour of the camera guy and the Channel 7 News Team is shabby and shameful. I’d like an apology from them all, but of course the chances of that are small. I don’t know whether it was all a set-up from the beginning – maybe so – or whether he just deliberately acted like an arse to create a story, but either way ...

....but either way, I’ve had a struggle not to feel abused and unwelcome. I’m sensible enough to know the vast majority of folks here are not in any way like this. I spent the afternoon today with my cousins, naturalised Aussies for the last 45 years, and felt massive warmth. And lots of you figured out how shitty I must be feeling and reached out to me … I’m eternally grateful. I’ve always loved Queensland, and that will never change … had some of the best times of my life on the Barrier Reef, and cried buckets seeing the tragedy of the Koalas and Kangaroos in the recent fires.

Tonight I still feel bruised, but finally being able to write this is a kind of therapy. I had to make my side of the story known. Being disrespected so publicly takes a little while to get over.

But now it’s over. And tomorrow morning I will get up and do my preparations, with intent to give one of the best performances of my life, fuelled by new lessons learned, and a determination to make the best out of all this. And a detrmination to give our wonderful fans in Brisbane the best night of their lives !!! See ya there !

Bri

P.S. I’m in touch with Cooper Simmons, the young lad you see in the photo. Both he and his parents have been very supportive, and highly critical of Channel 7’s behaviour. But I haven’t been able to trace the other fans … send me a message if you read this, guys.

Bri

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