I'll never forget the night I saw Brian and Roger at Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall, my home city (well, actually, it was a town then, we didn't become a city until the end of 1999!). It will stay with me forever, although I live in hope they will return one day with some new material! We had no warning in advance about Brian coming, not even as a guest just to watch. The band arrived quite late on at the venue (well, I'm not sure if it was late but it was getting on for 5pm I think), they didn't mention it but we heard them soundchecking 'Rock And Roll' and according to legend one of the roadies told someone that BHM was coming when they asked if there was a special guest. We thought it was going to be Robert Plant as he lives nearby, about ten miles out of the city. It certainly wasn't going to be one of Slade, lol!
We weren't let into the venue until really late and when we got in we could see tinkering with some AC30's by someone that looked suspiciously like Pete (BHM's roadie). He had a really naff rain mack on and was desperately trying to hide the Red Special underneath it. Well, it looked remarkably like the nick of the RS! Nobody knew for sure that Brian was going to be there, most people seemed oblivious to Pete being there even. My mate said maybe someone was going to play an RS copy but I told him he was being silly. The set list was different to usual and I was waiting for Brian every time they played a Queen song. When he eventually emerged (dodgy shirt!) for 'Under Pressure' the place went mad. In between 'Under Pressure' and 'Rock and Roll' he did say something which was lost in the moment but listening to the recording of the night sounds like 'Lot of fun, init?'. The roar was immense. When Roger announced they were going to do something from the past I was hoping it was going to be an early Queen track, I suppose I should have guessed it was 'Rock and Roll' having heard the sound check. The final moment of the evening brought us 'Radio Ga Ga' and I have to say it was one of the better moments of my life seeing two of my heroes up on stage and being part of the mass of people doing the hand movements. I missed the real Queen, but this was the next best thing for me. Treana's guitarist (Alden Evans?) looked totally swept away being on stage with Brian. Mind you, wouldn't you be?
Apparently Brian arrived in a VW Camper van and was mobbed when they left afterwards, leaving Roger to walk to his mode of transport almost unnoticed! It was just after this that Roger announced they were going to do some new stuff (still waiting...) but events around that time seem to have led to the musical and the current status of tour rumour. I walk by the Wulfrun quite often and I can never get that night out of my mind. I was buzzing for weeks, months afterwards, even now it sends a shiver down the spine. Wonderful!
Arrived with Cathy Highfire (many many thanx to Cathy for driving and even suggesting going to Wolverhampton) around 11.30 and joined up with the small queue (Hi Sandie, Kevin & Lisa). Quite a subdued wait, until the gorgeous Treana was spotted getting off the bright orange Tour Bus. A mass exodus followed to greet Treana, who as always was extremely charming. Managed to get the Surrender 7" signed by her and also a 9"x6" photo that I took during her fantastic performance at the Leadmill. Had a very brief chat with her, which resulted in her telling me that she was enjoying the tour, although it was very tiring. She then mentioned that we were in for a treat in tonight's performance (teasing us with the line 'That's if HE turns up'). Who could this special guest be??????
Waiting for RT to turn up at the soundcheck, we discussed the special guest. Could it be local boy Noddy Holder (Surely not!) or a repeat performance from Uncle Bob Geldof?????. Our suspicions were roused when the band started to intensely rehearse Led Zep's 'Rock and Roll', and we all jumped to the conclusion it could be local lad Robert Plant. We just had to wait and see. RT once again managed to slip into the soundcheck (at around 6.15pm) with only a couple of clipboarders getting autographs. Then no sooner had we heard the soundcheck, it was time to be let in.
AAAAArrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhh. Very annoyed to be extensively searched before going in and finding that the doors to the hall were actually locked and we had to congregate in the bar next door. After all those hours of queuing, a disorganised array of fans was waiting impatiently to get in. Finally we were let in and rushed to the front. Phew managed to get there OK. We then had to endure a 90 minute wait before Treana came on to do her routine set. Absolutely storming as usual. If you've not seen this lovely lass weave her magic spell with that fantastically powerful voice, then you must!!!!!!!!!!. Long may she continue.
With an empty stage, and lights back up, tension was mounting with the crowd for the arrival of RT, which we all knew to be imminent. The suspicions of the special guest were roused even more, when there was some tinkering with a vox amp and a very familiar guitar being tuned (with the technician trying not to show the guitar to us). The tension became greater when the lights dimmed and an aural opening of someone entering a room and turning on the electric fire, at which the cue of strobe lights and the fire on the stage backdrop lighting up. The drums of We Will Rock You belted out with Prior and RT behind his Sleishman drum kit thrashing out that familiar beat. Moving down to centre stage, RT (wearing that same jacket and Armani shirt) took to the raw and vibrant vocals (this time word perfect); a somewhat more energetic performance than that of BM in '98. Still a storming show opener.
Then it was straight down to recent times with Pressure On, Haircuts and Believe in Yourself, with the crowd getting behind the lyrics of Haircuts and pointing at RT during 'You're so f**king cool', with which RT pointed to us all on the front row, smiling away. Roger particularly enjoyed the green pair of skimpy knickers thrown at him by Lisa of Newcastle during I Want To Break Free ("This ones for John Deacon" - RT), which he duly picked up and threw at Jason Falloon ("rhymes with Balloon" - RT), laughing. Treana joined RT for London Town and Surrender and then they were off. RT managed to shed those shades for the 1st encore, which consisted of I'm In Love With My Car and Strange Frontier, which Cathy and probably most of the females, screamed uncontrollably.
For the 2nd encore, RT announced that he "found someone wandering outside" and duly announced... "Mr Brian May!!!!!", who entered (wearing another very loud shirt) the stage to a receptively large applause. A quick friendly gesture with RT and then straight down to business, with Under Pressure (Treana once again with immense vocals).
Then it was onto Rock And Roll (in place of Happiness), with BM taking his 'normal role' of lead guitarist and letting RT have all the limelight. Finally the superb set ended with Radio Ga Ga, finishing another great performance (fuelled by the appearance of BM). Good to witness RT + BM back on stage together again. The sound was awesome, although a little distorted sometimes at its' loudest. My ears are still ringing the day after!!!!!!!!!!!!