Thursday, 8 November 2012

Review ! Brian May & Kerry Ellis 'Born Free Tour' a sparkling review of the show for Classic Rock Radio by Andrew Bytheway

Andrew Bytheway kindly sent us this fantastic review of Brian May & Kerry Ellis's  'Born Free' show, along with some great photos!  There are still some dates left so do try and catch them!

 (see for the other dates  and

                                    BRIAN MAY & KERRY ELLIS 
                     ‘THE BORN FREE TOUR’ LEAMINGTON SPA 
                                         6TH NOVEMBER 2012

'Intimate’ and ‘acoustic’ – two words that you wouldn’t normally associate with guitar-god Brian May. But this was no ‘normal’ evening! From start to finish this concert was an absolute joy, Kerry’s sublime voice coupled with Brian’s brilliance on guitar made for a very special concert in a great venue. Kerry Ellis is a supreme performer in her own right, and Brian of course needs no introduction, with over 40 years of rock music history behind him, but together they appear to take everything to another level.
They compliment each other perfectly, and obviously enjoy every moment on stage together.

The evening began with ‘Born Free’, the signature tune by John Barry & Don Black. Now available as a single by Brian & Kerry. This was followed by ‘I Loved A Butterfly, a song possibly more familiar to Queen (and Paul Rodgers) fans as ‘Some Things That Glitter', written by Brian for ‘The Cosmos Rocks’ album, but renamed and reworked acoustically for Kerry’s debut solo album ‘Anthems’.

Kerry Ellis & Brian May - Photo: Andrew Bytheway

 Kerry and Brian first performed ‘I (Who Have Nothing)’ at the San Remo Music Festival earlier this year, when they were joined by Irene Fornaciari, daughter of Italian singer Zucchero. This time the song had been stripped back to bare bones for the acoustic guitar, but was no less powerful. Next up was ‘Dust In The Wind ’, a Kansas song penned by, as Brian noted, ‘a blonde called Kerry’ (Kerry Livgren).

Zucchero’s influence was again present with ‘Cosi Celeste, a song written by him, but again reworked by Kerry & Brian into a beautiful love song. A stripped down version of Queen classic ‘Somebody To Love followed, with Brian taking the lead on vocals and Kerry (along with the audience) joining in as the song progressed.

Brian May - Photo: Andrew Bytheway

This tour is raising money for the Born Free Foundation, and their campaign to ‘Keep Wildlife in the Wild ’. Born Free was, of course, founded by Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers in the 60’s, and it was Virginia herself who wrote the next song ‘Nothing Really Has Changed ’. For this simple but beautiful song Brian used a silver version of his infamous ‘Red Special’ to accompany Kerry’s gorgeous vocals.

 ‘Life Is Real ’ is a Freddie Mercury composition, written as a tribute to John Lennon, and included on Queen’s 1982 album ‘Hot Space ’. A magical performance from Kerry & Brian, was emotionally heightened with projections of Freddie on to the screen at the back of the candlelit set.
Photo: Andrew Bytheway

The projection screen was used to great effect during ‘The Way We Were ’, the Marvin Hamlisch tune made famous by one of Kerry’s vocal heroines – Barbra Streisand. Stunning vocals were accompanied by pictures of Kerry AND Brian in their younger days, the way they were!! ‘39 ’, another Brian May song, first appeared on Queen’s seminal 1975 album ‘A Night At The Opera ’ and once again the audience joined Brian for a fun sing-along.

 Throughout the concert there was lots of interaction between Kerry, Brian and the audience which added to the relaxed atmosphere and undoubtedly increased both performers enjoyment of the evening.

Next Brian (and Kerry) paid tribute to the late, great George Harrison with a haunting rendition of his 1969 song ‘Something’. Closely followed by Queen live favourite ‘Love Of My Life ’,  with backing vocals from the 500 strong audience in The Assembly! Brian left the stage to give Kerry the opportunity to please her masses of  the musical ‘Wicked’ fans with a fabulous performance of ‘I’m Not That Girl ’. 
Kerry Ellis - Photo: Andrew Bytheway

The musical theme continued with Brian back on stage for ‘No-One But You ’ from the musical ‘We Will Rock You ’. Incredibly, given their history, this tour is the first time the two have performed the song together.

No concert with Brian May would be complete without a Brian solo, and fans of the ‘Red Special’ or the ‘Old Lady’ as Brian calls it, were in for a treat with a typically brilliant performance of ‘Last Horizon’. ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ was traditionally a hard-rocking set opener for Queen but Brian & Kerry’s HillBilly version was something VERY different, but perfectly in keeping with the evening. As was the exquisite ‘I Can’t Be Your Friend’, a personal favourite of mine, written by Brian and lyricist Don Black for Kerry’s ‘Anthems’.

 Brian then asked the audience to test the floor by stomping on it! An odd request you might think? But not when the stomps are joined by claps and the rhythmic beat of ‘We Will Rock You’ starts pounding. The whole hall joining in stomps, claps and vocals gave rise to Brian declaring it the best live version he’d heard! This was naturally followed up with ‘We Are The Champions ’ to end the main set.

Brian May  - Photo by Andrew Bytheway
After huge applause, Kerry & Brian returned to the stage for an encore. A second performance of their new single ‘Born Free’ was accompanied by their video on the rear screen. Finally a very lively ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ closed the evening.

 I’ve seen Kerry and Brian many times, both together and separately, but this was without doubt one of the most enjoyable concerts I’ve been to. Two fabulous performers having fun together, and enjoying themselves immensely. An incredible night! 

- Words & Photos  (c) Andrew Bytheway - (Twitter @BythewayAJ )

Thank you to Andrew Bytheway! Remember to keep up  to date with Brian May and Kerry Ellis news go to 
Both Brian and Kerry are on Twitter - follow @DrBrianMay and @Kerryjaneellis1 - be sure to tweet em!


  1. Brian May is the ideal lead guitarist for a good vocalist. Freddie Mercury, Paul Rodgers, Adam Lambert and the wondrous Kerry Ellis all flourish while on stage with him. His tones are impeccable and his riffs are emotive, poignant and uplifting.

    Brien Comerford

  2. The Born Free show was excellent but too short at just under 2 hours. The tickets were expensive which was fine if some, most or all of the proceeds were going to the Born Free Foundation but neither Brian May or Kerry Ellis gave any indication of this.