Glasgow rocked! After waiting years to see Brian when I heard he was coming to Scotland I bought a ticket straight away. The support act were really good, although every time I remember their name I forget it again straight away. The T.E Conway act was really good. Brians long lost cousin is quite a performer and he has a sense of humour too. When Brian came on to sing " Space" the audience went totally mad and by the time " Since you've been gone" had finished I knew we were in for a great night. " China Belle "and the Queen section really got the crowd going but unfortunately there was no " Sail away sweet sister ".
Still we got "Too much love will kill you" so I guess I shouldn't complain. Although it was great hearing songs like "I want it all" live, I just wish they had been a little longer. Neil Murrays bass guitar solo was good but I think some of the audience were getting restless by this point. "Last horizon" sounds great live and the semi acoustic versions of "Driven by you" and "On my way up" were great. "Love of my life" was beautiful with the whole audience getting involved. It's in the acoustic set that I first realised what a great voice Brian had. It was good on the rockier songs but sounded a little weak, probably due to prolonged touring and having to compete with the guitars. The new version of "Hammer to fall" is certainly different. It's a really beautiful song which gives a whole new meaning to the words. "Too much love will kill you" was a nice surprise and Eric's and Brians solos were both good.
"Resurrection" is really thundering live although I could have done without it if it meant getting to hear "Business". "We will rock you" and "Tie your mother down" finished the concert proper and the band went of to thunderous applause. Eventually Brian came back out for "Another world" with some bad news. It turned out that Jamie was quite ill but they were going to try and play without him. Another world was sung wonderfully by Brian although with the absence of Jamie it had no guitar in the middle. Brian simply used this break to chat and shake hands with the audience.
Jamie came back out for a superb rocky version of "All the way from Memphis" . The band left the stage and although I waited hopefully, I guess Jamie didn't feel up to playing anymore. So it was a superb night with Brian turning out to be the great guy everybody says he is. My only slight disappointments were not getting to hear either "Back to the light" or "No-one but you" live. Still we got a cracking two and a quarter hour show so I shouldn't complain. So that was my first Brian May concert and with any luck it won't be the last.
The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is a venue more accustomed to Classical recitals and Orchestrations than rock music but on this bitterly cold night the audience were here to see BRIAN MAY on the final date of his British and European tour. What a night it was.
The support act, a band called Then Jerico, who had chart success with their single "Big Area" began around 7.25pm and soon got the hardcore fans who had already gathered around the front of the stage jumping and loosening up their vocal chords for the musical masterpiece that was about to follow. After a slightly shortened set they left the stage and myself and what seemed like half the crowd took our places at the front of the stage.
I was lucky enough to find an ideal position at the left hand side of the platform which Brian makes use of at the front of the stage. This gave me ample chances to be within a few inches of the man himself and the opportunity to receive several hand slaps from the man himself during the encores.
At 8.40pm, with everyone either in their seats or standing at the front of the stage, the hall lights dimmed and the concert began with the lowering of the curtain with the painted on graphic of the now famous tree. As the band took their positions behind the curtain the first notes of the intro music, Dance With The Devil, rang out and the audience became alive with anticipation of Brian soon appearing. After this short intro a voice over announced that Brian May would be with us shortly and, in the meantime, his long lost cousin from Tennessee, Mr Twitty Conway would entertain us all with a couple of songs.
It was obvious to the hard core group of fans at the front of the stage exactly what was about to happen, but for those older members who perhaps are not up to speed with Brian and his new music the sight of a man in full 50's style clothes, hair and make up singing a song which was also a hit in those distant days was quite a shock. It became obvious, as it did at other gigs on this tour that many people did not know what to make of this and some were not even sure it was Brian.
With this rendition of Only Make Believe over Brian...sorry, I mean Twitty, began to talk to the crowd saying how nice it was to be back in Glasgow. He commented on our traditions and mentioned Tossing The Caber and how nice it was that people called him a tosser whilst he was walking around the streets of Glasgow. This gained a huge cheer and laugh from the assembled throng. Twitty then said that he wished to sing a song he wrote in the bath earlier called come on. As this song finished and Twitty went off stage Brian immediately appeared behind the curtain bent over next to the tree as in the album pose.
The opening notes of Space rang out as Brian stood up vertically and the curtain was raised to allow him to move forward and the band to rock into the Rainbow Classic, Since You've Been Gone. The ovation Brian received at the conclusion of this was one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed in my life and ran for a good 4 or 5 minutes. Now, I know that Glasgow audiences are regarded around the world as the hardest to please but we are also regarded as the warmest if the act on stage are good. Tonight's act need not have worried as Brian is always guaranteed the loudest and best reception at any venue on any tour. I challenge anyone to argue this point.
After dedicating the song to the late Cozy Powell, Brian moved on to China Belle with the Chinese Torture intro before saying to the crowd that he would like to take us into more familiar territory. This, of course, meant QUEEN music and began with the Headlong introduction before changing into Fat Bottomed Girls. By this point the atmosphere was incredible and even the security guards at the corner of the stage were seen to join in with the singing. I Want It All followed and lead neatly into Tear It Up which whipped the crowd into a frenzy before bringing us back down with the opening notes of The Show Must Go On.
Neil Murray's bass solo followed and although I am not a fan of Bass or backing instrument solos, this one is rather different in that Neil Murray is an expert at his instrument and has been around for several years and knows how to play the thing and play it well. After all, he is Scottish Brian reminded us and then reminded us that he is half Scottish also.
Brian moved forward onto the platform at the front of the stage amidst a sea of waving hands desperate for the chance to touch or shake hands with Brian as the solo guitar piece Last Horizon began. This is a superb piece of playing and to be that close as it was being played was incredible. The band relaxed and moved onto the acoustic set with Brian and his guitar perched on the platform, again amongst the crowd, to whom he referred to as the "lions den". To this someone shouted out, "Now you know how Freddie felt". Brian appeared to appreciate this and began "something different" as he described it before saying "Lets do this one for Freddie". The inevitable Love Of My Life commenced and Brian barely sang a note as the crowd took over and drowned him out.
As at many of the other concerts, Brian appeared very emotional during this song and the applause that this song sustained was incredible and complimented Brian's earlier statement about Glasgow being the best place to play anywhere. After more brief chat with the crowd, Too Much Love Will Kill You was played. Brian introduced On My Way Up with a rarely heard (from Brian) swear word as he said "this is for when you are fucking depressed". The usual slow "39" intro preceded it but it was made obvious that was all they were going to sing of that number.
With a dedication to "absent friends", and the introduction of the real "Red Special", the new slower version of Hammer To Fall came next and this gets better everytime I hear it. Naturally this song was originally a rocker and does not disappoint when Brian launches the band into the fast version which once more takes the crowd to a new height of enjoyment and exuberance.
The Brighton Rock solo followed which set the stage for Eric Singers drum solo complete with flaming sticks. To me this is a decidedly average drum solo although it is obvious that Mr Singer is an accomplished drummer. The addition of the flaming sticks certainly does not enhance the solo. Then again, I am not a drummer so it may in fact have been technically brilliant. None the less, it was entertaining.
Eric's solo led nicely into a shortened version of Resurrection then We Will Rock You (slow version) which lead Brian into the opening notes of Tie Your Mother Down and the crowd into an absolute frenzy. It was hard to keep my place at the front due to the movement of the crowd as a unit taking you places that you did not want to go.
This signalled the end of the main set but the loudest shouting, stamping. clapping and cheering of Brian's name that I have ever witnessed soon brought Brian May back to the front of the stage. This time it was without the famous Red Special and it was explained that Jamie Moses was ill and that he had just thrown up back stage and would not be out for the next song. The title track of the new album, Another World, was sung with such beauty and passion that it looked as if several members of the audience were about to burst into tears and although the absence of Jamie was noticeable it was not too obvious. This song also gave the fans at the front the one thing they had been baying for all night. Brian made his way right to the front of the stage and slapped and shook as many hands as he possibly could before retaking the main stage.
Is it possible for a person to know how happy he has made some people in a short space of time? I don't know the answer to that but with Jamie rejoining the band on stage a rousing version of All The Way To Memphis finished off the evening and the band left the stage with Brian asking if he would get an invite back to Glasgow one day. You can perhaps imagine the response this met with. Prior to leaving the stage Brian promised that he would return and then he was gone.
So the British tour is all over and life goes on. If you ever get the chance to see Brian live and have never done so before then do it as soon as you can. Rarely in this world do people get the chance to witness something great which will make them completely happy, Brian May did it in Glasgow.
OUTSIDE the concert hall some people were taking pictures of a small red hatchback. "How rum," I thought. Then some more folks stopped to pop a few snaps of this motor. As I approached, all became clear. The name Brian May was emblazoned across it. These flashing photographers are such mad, crazy May fans that even his name tattooed on the side of a wheeled, scarlet box sends them into a whirling frenzy. I ain't seen nothing yet.
Inside the venue these eager beavers blind me with a dazzling display of well-worn Queen T-shirts. I ain't seen nothing yet. As an opener, Brian dresses in an Elvis costume, quiff and all, and dons the persona of his long-lost cousin T E Conway. I still ain't seen nothing yet. Finally, as Brian appeared on stage it came. The loudest, longest ovation I have ever heard at a gig. Lasting at least five minutes, the sheer weight of adoration aimed at the stage was breathtaking. And Brian repaid in full. With medleys of classic, anthemic Queen, glorious cover versions, and guitar antics the like of which even God himself has never seen.
The show was slick and choreographed with no space left for a breather. As surprised as I was at how good a singer Brian was, it was how little he actually needed to, which had me gawping. The audience, those May maniacs, sang at top volume from start to finish. They are without parallel. If Brian May ever return to Glasgow, my advice is to by, beg, or steal a ticket for the front row and then turn it around to face the crowd. You ain't seen nothing until you do.