We Will Rock You Birmingham – Birmingham Mail review

Review from Birmingham Mail:

THEATRE-GOERS were treated to a surprise performance from Queen musicians Brian May and Roger Taylor on the second Birmingham night of their hit musical We Will Rock You.

But the pair, who form half of the rock band Queen, nearly came a cropper when they collided mid stage.

The duo, who do not normally appear as part of the show, came on stage for the encore, Bohemian Rhapsody. As the cast burst into song, the backdrop opened dramatically and Brian May, with his trademark long locks, took centre stage to play guitar.

Moments later a drum kit swung into view and moved forward with Roger Taylor happily banging away. But as the drum kit came forward, Brian stepped backwards and the two collided. It was a fitting finale to a show which had received rapturous applause from an enthusiastic audience.

We Will Rock You was panned by critics when it first opened in London six years ago but has proved to be one of the West End’s greatest hits. In terms of structure and storyline, We Will Rock You is weak to say the least. With one dimensional characters, a good few holes in the plot and a ludicrous story in which two young people and a hippy go in search of a magical guitar, it is easy to see why critics did not jump at We Will Rock You.

But with a host of timelessly classic songs, some stunning sets and costumes, lively choreography by Arlene Phillips plus plenty of sharp and current dialogue, how can an audience not love it? In the two lead roles are Alex Gaumond as Galileo and Sarah French-Ellis (Alison Peters in EastEnders) as Scaramouche who both have great stage presence and can belt out a song as well as any rock star. Wrap this all up with plenty of spectacle and songs such as Don’t Stop Me Now, Another One Bites the Dust, Somebody to Love and, of course, We Will Rock You and you have a surefire audience pleaser. Until Sept 5.

WWRY Birmingham – 2 July 2009

Charlie discovered that Brian and Roger would be at WWRY Birmingham for the press night on 2 July and she had 2 tickets so I took her spare one!

I had to work during the day and I was booked on the 16.30 train from Bristol. I had straightened my hair at work and was wearing shorts and tshirt to walk to the train station as it was a lovely sunny day. I set off to the station at 4 and said to my colleagues ‘If it starts raining, I will cry!!’. I walked outside and the sky went bang! The heavens opened and it started pouring with rain, I had no choice but to carry on or I would miss my train. I stopped briefly under a bridge to check my phone and I had a text from work who were very amused that it was pouring! I carried on the station and the rain was still just as heavy. By the time I arrived at the train station, it had stopped raining and I was soaked right through! I got so many strange looks when I got on the train! I found my seat and had to kick someone out of it – but I had to have it as it was next to the plug socket! I got changed into my dry clothes, waited for an hour then straightened my hair again!!

Arrived in Birmingham at 6 where I met Charlie and we walked over to the Hippodrome. The first person we see is Rufus Taylor, son of Roger and drummer in the WWRY touring band. We said hello and I got him to sign my tour leaflet. He looked slightly shocked at being asked for his autograph! The girl with the Roger doll was there (minus the doll) and gave Rufus some flowers to give to Roger, gave him a hug and then gave him a pin badge!

We then went round to the stage door after talking to Frank, Jen, Sue, Dave and Terry who were in a café opposite the venue.

Met Danielle and Siobhan, and Danielle’s boyfriend Dan at the stage door and we waited for people to arrive – we saw Jasper Carrot and Dan said ‘I love Golden Balls!!’ to him! We then saw Tommy Iommi from Black Sabbath arrive.

Later, the girls were standing away from the stage door when I spotted Jonathan Wilkes inside (there was a big glass door!!) and shouted ‘THERE HE IS’. I have never seen 3 people jump towards the door so fast – as they thought I meant Brian May!! I smiled at Jonathan through the glass and came out and asked if I wanted a photo! I explained to him that I had got his single ‘Just Another Day’ but I had forgotten to bring it with me so I would see him in Bristol to get it signed! He looked impressed! He then walked bare foot down to the main door where Terry saw him – apparently he gave his mum some tickets! Ben Elton arrived in a taxi and we said hello. I spotted Anita Dobson inside chatting to some people I didn’t recognise but there was no sign of Brian!

Jonathan Wilkes

Charlie and I went into the show at 7.20pm, leaving Danielle, Dan and Siohban outside (where they met Roger – he finally arrived about 9pm!!). We had good seats on the righthand side of the stage – saw Jim Beach and Sarina sitting in row J about 7 seats away from us! There was a gap on the end of the aisle and who sits in it – BRIAN MAY and Anita Dobson!!! Ben Elton was sitting 2 rows in front of Brian! It was hard not to watch Brian during the show and he looked like he was enjoying himself, he joined in with some of the clapping along and saw us clapping during Radio Ga Ga. But there was no sign of Roger and I was panicking! They’ve added Michael Jackson to No-one But You.

Ben Elton

I spoke to Sarina during the interval; she said I looked well and that the surprise ending to the show would be good! Brian didn’t come back after the interval but everyone else did. Not very many people stood up during Rock You/Champions but they did during Bo Rhap. Brian arrived on stage then Roger came whizzing across the stage on his drum kit. Brian was walking backwards and crashed into the drum kit then fell over and knocked over a cymbal. Nigel ran straight over and stood it back up and Brian got up and carried on playing! Roger looked amazing and did the licking his teeth thing – I was screaming!! At the end, he patted Rufus on the head when they were taking their bows. Brian and Ben made a speech ‘Get off facebook, f**k youtube, get to the theatre’. Brian, Roger and Ben hugged!

Brian, Ben and Roger!

We went to the stage door and saw various people leaving. Rufus looked very smart in a black shirt and tie. Dean arrived in a black Bentley so we knew it was time for Roger to leave. I went to say hi to Dean and asked if he remembered us from the Electric Fire tour – and he did! Who could forget!! Sarina left first and said bye. Roger then walked out and happily signed some things and said to Charlie that Brian shouldn’t reverse when she mentioned the crash! I asked for a photo and he posed doing a thumbs up so I did one too! It was the best photo I’ve ever had with him! I asked how the solo work was coming along and he said ‘Very well’. I then said ‘Solo tour?’. He shrugged and said ‘Yeah?’. Brian left around 12.30 and he saw us first and smiled, saying ‘Aww it’s you guys!’. He didn’t enjoy signing things and even said to one guy ‘Straight on ebay then’. He said that Roger appeared much faster than in rehearsals! After posing for some photos, he got in the car with Anita. The driver got his laptop out before leaving and Brian started using it as they drove off, not before giving us a smile and a wave!

Danielle, Brian and Siobhan

Me and Roger

I stayed at Charlie’s and the next day, we got the newspaper on the way to the station which had frame by frame photos of Brian falling over! Went to the see the Freddie statue too!

Freddie Statue

46664 New York??

From www.sasband.com

Dear Friends of The SAS Band

Sorry you’ve not heard from me for awhile. We’ve all been taking a much needed brake after a very busy 2008, but are now back in rehearsals for some upcoming gigs!

I’ve just returned from Seattle with Jamie Moses, where we performed with Alan White (Yes), Mark Hudson (The Hudson Brothers), Simon Kirke (Bad Company) and many more to raise money for breast cancer. The evening was a tribute to John Lennon and a good time was had by all!

Our next ‘public’ gig will be when The SAS ‘House’ Band will be backing an array of stars in Madison Square Garden, NY City for the next Nelson Mandela 46664 Concert for aids. Stay tuned for more information and a line-up of artists.

As soon as we return from the States, the band will be going into rehearsals for their 15th Anniversary celebration gig at the Gosport Festival, Hants on Thursday, 30th July. It was 15 years ago this summer that The SAS Band made their debut on the Gosport Festival stage in 1994 and they’ve asked us back to recapture that memorable day! We really hope you’ll be able to join us for some fun and great music. Check the gig list on this site periodically for ticketing and artist updates.

That’s all for now. I look forward to seeing you either in NY or Gosport!

46664 New York?!?!??!!