As you may know, Brian May is doing some MicroConcerts during lockdown. These are live played snippets or full songs played on his Red Special guitar from his living room in Kensington. Brian May is aware that lockdown can be hard and his briallian Instagram feed has been updated every week, sometimes a few times per week, with a song. So I decided to add keyboards to these songs where applicable.

Below I have outlined each of the MicroConcert videos and at the end of the post I have outlined the process I use to record and output these videos, should you wish to do your own versions.

Hammer To Fall

This was the first song I did on the #JamWithBri Microconcert. The only problem is that the keyboards don’t really have much of a role in this song. Infact, keyboards don’t come in until 53 seconds have elapsed on the track, and when they do, it’s simple chords of A and D/A, so not really rocket science. But I added those and it was a pleasing enough result in the end and spurred me on to do more. Because Hammer to Fall wasn’t exactly the most challenging or interesting ones, keyboard wise, I didn’t upload that to YouTube but it certainly fired the eagerness to do more.

Bijou

This is one overlooked song from the album Innuendo. It’s one which I did an arrangment of back in 2010 and had not played since then. I decided to use a nice soft synth-pad, as close as possible to what was used on the Innuendo album. Brian was doing the fantastic solo parts and I was filling in on the synth as per the album. I think it worked out really well and the video got great responses on my Facebook Page and youTube. The video of the #JamWithBti MicroConcert version of Bijou is shown below.

Love of My Life

The version of Love of My Life which I would play when I sti down to a piano is not the version played on A Night at The Opera, instead, I arranged a version which uses the original album version but at the piano solo, I drift into the nice guitar solo which Brian plays live. So I used this to accompany Brian on this version of Love of My Life. If I had my time again I would do two things differently; (a) I would have slightly reduced the piano volume and perhaps compressed it slightly and (b) I would not have played along with Brian’s guitar solo. You can watch the final #JamWithBri version of Love of My Life below.

We are the Champions

Of all the videos I have done so far this is my favourite. Brian did this on his own and then Roger joined in on Drums, before Adam added a vocal track, so there are actually 3 versions of the MicroConcert out there. I had already joined in with Brian before Adam completed the Queen+ trio.  Therefore, I decided to do a second version with me doing the Freddie on piano. I really love the way this sounds and so far, this one is my pride and joy. Since they released the We are the Champions on Instagram, Queen have released the track officially as ‘You are the Champions’ in order to raise funds for PPE equipment to help NHS staff helping Covid-19 patients. The ‘You are the Champions’ track is available on Spotify and you can find more information on the Queen Official Instagram page which is also mirrored on Brian and Rogers Instagram accounts.

Please feel free to watch the full version of my #JamWithBri ‘We Are the Champions’ video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g5ryxdUJv8 or you can click the video below.

My Setup

Basically, this is how I record the additions to the MicroConcerts. I link my digital stage piano and output the audio into garage band while I simultaneously record the video on a Canon DSLR mounted on a tripod and pointed as an overhead camera. Then once I have recorded the audio on GarageBand, as I found Audacity had a 100ms latency for some reason, I output the audio as MP3 and then line the audio and video up in FinalCutPro, and then I mute the camera audio so that the output video only has the pure isolated audio from the piano. Within Final Cut I also take Brian’s Instagram video and splice in my video to create a new #JamWithBri video.

Hope this helps.

If you do create a video please leave a comment with the YouTube link!

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I have also collaborated with US Queen Tribute band Celegrating Queen with the track ‘ Under Pressure ‘ and I will write about that soon.

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