"This is not easy for an old soldier like me": Watch Brian May perform with Jean-Michel Jarre in Bratislava for 30,000 fans

Brian May and Jean Michel-Jarre onstage
(Image credit: Tomas Benedikovic/AFP via Getty Images)

Brian May is used to playing big shows huge shows with Queen, but a weekend performance for 30,000 fans in Bratislava, Slovakia, had the guitarist publicly voicing doubts about what he was doing.

May's moment of uncertainty came as he prepared to guest at a show to open this year's Starmus Festival – an annual gathering of scientists, musicians and artists co-founded by May – with French keyboard legend Jean Michel-Jarre.

"I've put a lot of passion and work into preparing this little adventure," May posted on Instagram on the eve of the show, "but this is not easy for an old soldier like me. In fact it's probably one of the most challenging things I've taken on for a long time. 

"I felt very dissatisfied with what I came up with at last night's dress rehearsal - so doing a lot of rethinking today while we all wait for showtime to come around. Why do I spend all these precious days away from home? Pursuing... what? And self-doubt rears its scary head to the point where I wonder who the hell I think I am. 

"These are the kind of thoughts which beset performers, probably especially at my time of life. This is the inner reality. But I'm also conscious I'm incredibly lucky to have an opportunity like this – to work in a completely unfamiliar environment with an extraordinarily talented man with his highly skilled team. Among it all I'm very grateful."

In the end, the concert was a success. The Bridge From The Future event – which saw the city close off the Most SNP bridge over the River Danube to accommodate the staging – saw Jarre joined by May for Rendez-vous 2, the Largo section of Dvorak's New World Symphony, and May's Last Horizon and Brighton Rock showpieces. May also returned for the encore, Bratislava Time.

The two-hour concert can be watched below, with May joining the action at the 55'20" second mark.

"I’m lost for words this morning," May posted the day after the show. "It looks like we kinda hit it OK! Thanks to all last night who came and rocked! Thanks also to all you folks out there around the world who contributed to the buzz."

Brian May's next performance at this year's Starmus event will come tomorrow night (May 15) when he plays with US punk legends The Offspring at Starmus's Sonic Universe concert. This historic collaboration takes place at the Tipos Arena in Bratislava, following the Stephen Hawking Medal Ceremony.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.