In response to a clamour of public demand, Queen star Brian May and singing sensation Kerry Ellis today announced they are teaming up once more for a new series of UK concerts at the end of the year. May and Ellis will play 11 shows across the country in the lead-up to Christmas. Their Candlelit Christmas Tour kicks off on 7 December in Dorking, with the final date on 23 December in Guildford. The concerts mark the pair’s sixth tour together since their first ‘Anthems’ shows in 2011, which they performed on the release of Kerry’s first album, produced by Brian.
May comes hot from a hugely impactful Queen tour of festivals throughout Europe this summer, including a performance at the Isle of Wight Festival, which the organiser himself has called the greatest performance in the Festival’s history. And by the time Ellis and May embark on their Christmas tour, the now widely critically acclaimed combination of Queen and Adam Lambert will have extended their tour de force in Asia. Ellis in the meantime has consolidated her huge reputation in the world of Musical Theatre. She stands as one of the all-time most lauded Elphabas in Wicked, in London and on Broadway, and by December she will have delivered her starring role in the first run of the Off-Broadway hit Murder Ballad in London’s Arts theatre. Kerry has become one of the most desirable properties ever in the West End, her list of successful headlining roles now unrivalled, including Oliver!, My Fair Lady, Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, Cats, and of course creating the role of Meat in We Will Rock You in 2002, which was when Kerry’s studio work with Brian producing began. Kerry is supported by an ever-growing legion of devoted fans. She has now also become sought-after as a solo vocalist across the UK.
This concert tour will feature new songs from the forthcoming second album Anthems II, which the pair have been working on for the last year. Their magic in these shows is born of simplicity. May swaps his trade-mark Red Special for a variety of acoustic instruments for much of the evening, and provides his own special arrangements to highlight the beauty of Kerry’s extraordinary voice. The repertoire also includes versions of Brian and Kerry’s personal favourite songs of all time, a few Queen tunes revisited, and material dedicated to awareness of wild animals, in tune with the passion that Brian and Kerry share for giving animals a voice. With a little support from keyboard whiz Jeff Leach, the show builds, and without giving too much away, it’s safe to say that the mighty crunch of May’s Red Special is brought in to bring the evening to an electric climax.
‘Intimate’ is a word Kerry uses when she talks about what first-time audiences might expect from seeing May and Kerry perform their upcoming shows: “Our show is definitely an experience; we like to move people, give them new experiences and take them on our personal journey, and we have a lot of fun. Brian always comes up with great stories to explain our choice of songs, and among them a lot of hidden gems that people have never heard before. We like to think it’s a very unique and special evening.”
Says May: “Our show is largely acoustic and usually performed by candlelight. It’s very loose and interactive. In contrast to the bombast of a Queen show, our relationship with the audience is very informal – truly live and spontaneous. This is now my favourite way of performing – it’s a lot of fun and anything can happen. It takes some courage, but we believe our audience loves the fact that we take the risk to run the show completely ‘wild’. No clicks, no loops, no clutter. It’s fundamentally just a voice and a guitar.”
May and Kerry Ellis first got to know one another when Kerry created the role of Meat in Queen’s record-breaking rock musical We Will Rock You. Though both Ellis and May are strong in their separate careers, they have been developing their own special musical chemistry as a partnership for over 13 years, both in the studio and in live performances. What on first appearances might have seemed an unlikely union has become a very creative force in music. They have now evolved a unique brand of melodic rock, born of their histories in different areas, and a special relationship with their growing audience – which has been described as both intimate and electrifying. They have already released two albums (Anthems and The Candlelight Concerts) and a handful of singles including a rock arrangement of the classic Born Free, the self-penned The Kissing Me Song, Ruth Moody’s One Voice, and a new version of Amazing Grace. They have performed such high profile one off performances as the Royal Variety Show, the BBC Proms, The Night of a 1000 Voices, the Remembrance Day concert at the Royal Albert Hall, the Montreux Jazz Festival, and Italy’s San Remo Festival which was screened live across Europe. Most recently Ellis and May triumphed at a packed cross-over Opera show in the beautiful Arena di Verona. Earlier this year saw Brian and Kerry tour their One Voice show widely across Italy and Eastern Europe.
Kerry Ellis says : “It’s always a joy to be able to perform live with the ‘Doc’ and this time will be as magical as ever. We seem to always be developing and bring new ideas to the table. Alongside performing and recording we are still learning and for me that’s the exciting part. I feel very fortunate to be doing another tour together and sharing yet another show with our audiences.”
Brian May: “Although life has taken us both into so many new areas recently, live music is still what makes us tick – the greatest joy. And Ms Ellis is the perfect fellow band member! I’m grateful for the opportunity we have to bring this show to an even wider audience. I’m already working on hardening up the finger ends!”
Brian May & Kerry Ellis UK Candlelit Christmas Tour December 2016
Dates & Ticket Information:
Wednesday 7 December Dorking Halls
Thursday 8 December Worthing Assembly Hall
Sunday 11 December Buxton Opera House
Monday 12 December Leeds Grand Theatre
Wednesday 14 December Manchester Bridgewater Hall
Thursday 15 December Preston Guildhall
Saturday 17 December Coventry Warwick Arts Centre
Monday 19 December Cheltenham Town Hall
Tuesday 20 December Bristol Colston Hall
Thursday 22 December Eastbourne Congress Theatre
Friday 23 December Guilford G Live
Ticket price: £45
Performance times: 8pm