First HOME NEWS... Wakemans Music Emporium will finally close forever with a massive clear out sale sometime in October/ November ill order to make way for the Shop's new tenants, the Manx Electricity Authority. We will still be keeping our offices at the same address and the telephone and fax number will remain the same. Within a month or so Candy will probably be offering free electrical appliances with every CD ordered. Adam has bought a house in Bedfordshire, (as if people there weren't suffering enough) and hopes to move in within a month. This should give ample time for any RWCC member in close proximity to move to Wales.
There were a few additions to September which we could not report earlier as we didn't know ourselves that they were going to happen. Equally there were some disappointments of which the combined Manchester concert with Steve Howe appearing with his acoustic show and then combining with Rick during the Wakeman with Wakeman show, was probably the biqgest let down cancellation for many a year.
The cancellation was caused through the promoters having more than small differences with Olympic Officials, Manchester Council, most of Lancashire and BDA who were acting for Rick as regards this event. It is unlikely that the situation will ever arise again where such as how can be put on especially as both Rick and steve's schedules look extremely busy. steve, we understand is about to tour with Bill and do some shows with various orchestras, ( size of orchestras unknown), in America promoting the album they have recorded together of YES tracks. Jon Anderson has guested on a track although we don't know which one ( if you know, Please DONT write or phone and tell us)
On the good side of previously unreported events, Rick and Adam went to Poland and performed live with two small keyboard setups on September 26th. A full report of the event and how the lads went down will appear in the January ssue.
New recordings and new releases abound as usual. Fragile records in co-ordination with Tring are releasing a video and CD packase of Wakeman plays Yes, Wakeman plays Wakeman and the Journey video all at a budget price. Release has also been agreed on but Virgin Caroline in the USA although it has to be said that Rick has yet to see a contract, letter, fax or even a picture of LLoyd George in a jockstrap, But that's nothing new.
At present, Rick and Adam are heavily ensconced in the studio recording the second Wakeman with Wakeman album at present given the working title "No expense Spared" containing tracks written by both parties, plus some collaborated efforts, the album is due for release in early November on the President label to coincide with the short English Tour. ( Full details of the English tour are printed elsewhere in this newsletter)
The music is leaning slightly more back toward the proyressive rock style and is predominantly instrllmental although Adam's dulcet tones are very much in evidence as are those of Chrissie Hamlnond. Alan Thomson on yuitars of all sizes and the Greasy Wop is giviny everyone a headache as usual. ( There must be a rest home for drummers somewhere)
A couple of real classic stand out tracks are emerging which those concerned are finding quite exciting. Even Stuart Sawney has, on the odd occassion, completely moved away from "Doom" mode and moved to wlthin a few feet of optimism.
The english tour will also house some concerts of the Gospels which had to be moved from their original dates due to the lads returning to South America. (Detials of which are included in the Sollth American report) Please feel free to call Candy or Phil at BDA if you either want more information or think you can help us in some way.
Rick is writing a book. He has a publisher who wishes to print it and he knows approximately three people who will buy it.
It is not a book about Ricks definitive musical education or a book about Rick's battle against drink etc...(Yawn, yawn)... but a book about his life as Rick sees it with his Christian belief in God beinq the catalyst running thoruhg the good times, the bad, the unbefievable and the horrific. Rick has already started work on it but no date is yet known for it's release.
Before moving onto the South American Report, lets bring you up to date with all we know about what's happening in the "YES" camp...
Well now we've got that out the way, we'll move onto South America.
South America was the moral boost everybody needed. The last few years have been tough both musically and financially and had it not been for South America the the end would have been a lot closer than many could have even envisaged.
Once again the fearless four headed into the-unknown. It was true that Rick had had previous successes in Brazil and Argentina, but that was back in the mid Seventies. He had returned in 1980, but regretably that particular band was badly flawed in the vocal department Rick's first sojourn into taking a female vocalist on the road, all together now... aarrgghh!!) and left an impression in the Amazon Basin only fractionally better than the Gold Prospectors against the Yanamamo tribe.
Incidentally whilst in Brazil, Rick made contact with a high ranking member of the Yanamamo tribe and it is hoped that something musical will come of the proposed union between the two of them.
Back to the tour and it must be remebered that Rick has had nor product released there since the late seventies. This means in essence, now new audience and the probability taht a lot of the original audience had either forgotten about him, still remembered him but couldn't give a toss or had simply died. ( Not counting Sidonio Panches Alves... our existing South American RWCC member)
The lads all met up plus the trusty crew of three, Stuart Sawney, Iall Barfoot and Mike Holden t Welcome aboard Mike you dont know what you've let yourself in for.)
Immediately the Band and crew set about preparing themselves in a professional manner.
They drunk the plane dry.
Adam complained bitterly about his vegetarian meal, muttering something about it having too much meat in it. Kids today, I ask you, never satisfied. When I was his age I was only aware of my Mothers cooking ( So was the rest of my body for that matter)
After a short stop in Buenos Aires, the mighty army arrived in Santiago De Chile. A welcoming party picked up and took everybody to the Hotel. Rick was handed his Interview list which was longer than the chinese phone directory and went to bed.
The following day rehearsals took place at the venue. The venue was large.. very large.. about five to six thousand it held.. Panic was slowly setting in.. on enquiring how ticket sales were going we received varying nondescript replies which varied from... "Difficult to actually say"... or "There's a big recession on and nobody comes out much anymore"... to "We don't know but it looks dreadful anything less than two thirds full"
Rick didn't sleep well that night.
Half an hour before the concert there were about five hundred people scattered around the auditorium. It's strange how different people react in such circumstances. The greasy Wop, Alan, Adam and the crew had a large drink each and gorged themselves on the Dressing Room catering. Rick quietly sat in the corner and tried to work out whether or not his family were likely to be better off collecting royalties from a posthumous artist.
Time to go on and the lads walked on stage to be confronted by a completely full arena who gave a reception to the band normally reserved for Royalty. It has to be said a few eyes welled up on stase, no less those of the fuhrer himself. The guys returned to the Hotel walking on air. Adam fell in love with one of the translators. The band had a few drinks on the strength of the evening and Rick went to bed on cloud nine.
Next Stop Argentina
Just as incredible. Apart from arriving at the wrong airport and our luggage going somewhere else, everything went smoothly.
The first show was a sort of warm up, press type of show in a club that was not particularily well equipped. The monitors were very dodgy and the Greasy Wop in particular had a difficult time. On returning to the Hotel, Wop then proceeded to give everyone elsea hard time.
Off to Rosario. A lovely city and a beautiful theatre holding just under two thousand people. Tickets all gone. Once again the band had the welcome of a lifetime and played accordingly.
It should be pointed out that the show the lads put on was geared much more to the Classic Rock side of things. No slow or moody pieces, no chat, lots of smoke and sllly clothes and a bizarre hand held keyboard battle between Rick and Adam.
Back to Buenos Aires and the first of two shows in the big auditorium, similar to that of the one in Chile. Two vlrtual sell out shows boosted morale beyond belief and Adam fell in loe with everything that had legs and belonged to the female sex.
Sadly the time came to move on and this tlme Brazll beckoned and the success story continued. The first show was in Curtiba, a substantial city a couple of hours from Rio De Janeiro by plane. A similar venue ollce again, nigh on full and a reception beyond belief.
The band is now reading at least nine point seven on the morale meter.
Adam fell in love with everybody as long as they had even a remote connection witht the opposite sex.
Next stop Rio.
The lads loved Rio.
I think Adam is oversexed.
The show in Rio was fabulous, a wonderful pattern was forming as regards reaction, attendances and revues which were sensational.
Nine point Eight on the morale meter.
San Paulo. Two shows. Fabulous performances. Band don't want to go home. Band like it here!
Amazing Adam hasn't been arrested !
Adam has a photo shoot for a girlle magazine where he is "Cat of the Month"! - renamed Prat of the month by the rest of the band and crew)
Final show in Brazil is in Bela Horizonte, a beautiful city about an hour from Rio. Here was the only outdoor concert in a giant car park to which about six thousand people came and gave everybody a great send off.
Following a few days rest in Rio, the band and crew flew to Peru.
Unfortunately the equlpment flew to Paraguay.
Under the circumstances this was not a winning situation. Eventually the gear did arrive, but only cleared customs at ten thirty on the evening of the concert. The concert was due to commence at nine thirty. The audience were not overwhelmed at the delay and in order to pass the time untilthe show could commence decided to fight amongst themselves and local police.
Eventually the show started about one thirty in the morning and the audience were fantastic. The Peruvians made us very welcome as did all the South American countries and everybody was said that the trip to Peru only lasted thirty six hours.
Final Stop Venezuela.
Adam fell completely and head over heels in love in Caracas so no change there.
A stunningly beautiful auditorium, full to the gills, the audience gave the lads a great send off truly befitting the most rewarding tour the band have undertook for many a year and in spite of the very high costs involved in putting such a tour together managed to arrive home without having massive tour losses hanging over people's heads
The tour book finally closed it's last pages a week after everybody had returned when Ian Barfoot finally got his suitcases which had travelled around the world a few times before finally deciding to join Ian in dear old Blighty.
Within two days of returning home, they were back on stage again, this time in Southampton, Fareham to be exact for a charity cGncert which was a lot of fun We don't have deta-ils to hand of how much was raised, but a lovely night was had by all marred only by the incompetence of the Hotel who will remain nameless, who decided to book everybody a room except for Rick who ended up driving to Heathrow Airport at some unearthly hour in the morning via the odd embankment due to falling asleep before actually reaching his destination.
Firstly Rick and the band return to South America in the third week of October to perform two or possibly three shows ostensibly featuring the band version of Journey to The Centre of The Earth. At the same time the announcement will be made of the December performances in Brazil of the "Return to The Centre of The Earth''
This will be an extended version of the original, twice the length with new music intermingling with the original score and a full orchestra and choir.
Special effects are to be specially organised and needless to say Rick is still in a state of shock over the Brazilian's proposals to stage the event. It will be in the form of a free concert down there with the expenditure being sponsored. Whilst Rick refuses to really believe that it is going to happen( currently reading nine point nine on the pessimistic meter), we are led to understand that the sponsors for the event are in place and venues have been booked.
If it does happen and, daft as it might sound, you fancy December, or part of it, in the sunshine, and youlve got more money than sense! Then give Candy a ring, and after she's stopped laughing she can let you know the cheapest bucXets seats (or banana boats) to fly down there.
Regardless of what happens, we look forward to seeing you all on the up coming English Tour and apologise for it being somewhat shorter than usual, but the reason for this was pretty much covered in the last Newsletter.
Rick is getting sick to death of hearing Wop talk about Arsenal, especially in the wake of Brentford's serious fall down the soccer ladder of despair. Banners displaying suitable phrases concerning the Greasy Wop and Arsenal will be fully accepted and welcomed throughout the English tour, No Bad Language though please.
Some sad news to report in as much as Diane Gilmour, who has been Brian Lane's personal assitant for nigh on seven years, has left to join Nice Man Merhcandising. Diane has been very supportive in all that Rick has been involved with over the last few years and she will be sorely missed by us all. Although we wish her much success in her new career.
Other changes that we have heard about that indirectly affect "the family", as it is lovingly known. Alex Scott has parted company with East End Management and also Fish and Brian Lane are rumoured to have amicably parted company. Rick knows very little about this at the moment although he hopes very much that if this the case, it will not jeopardise the joint project that he and Fish had talked about earlier this year.
Discussions are well underway with a view to releasing a double CD, official bootleg from the South American Tour. This would be released at a budget price and would probably be a mixture of pieces from two of the better live recordings that we know exist. A video also exists but uDtil it has been transferred onto a Pal system we have no way of knowing how good, or not so good it is and whether or not it is feasible to produce a limited number.
Rick Wakeman has made his home on the island and through the m-lsic of "Heritage Suite" he describes his feelings for and pays tribute to the land that captured his heart.
In cooperation with Manx National Heritage part of the world renowned Manx Museum, a magnificient full colour 28 page booklet has been prepared which illustrates and describes the rich subject matter of each compostion.
Musically "Heritage Suite" is the closest Rick has ever come to showing us his classical backqround which encompassed training at the Royal College of Music.
In spite of this being Rick's own composition, it required hours of rehearsal for him to be ready to play what he had conceived. It was performed on a full concert Steinway grand piano recorded by Ken Blair at the studios of the Music Department at surrey Unlversity.
With its beautiful presentation, fine recording and above all its outstanding musical contents, " Heritage Sulte 1I will be a significant album which is sure to be appreciated not just hy the legions of Rick Wakeman fans, but also by a wider audience of discerning people who wish to take a guality product into their homes.
Now really, Finally....
A progress report on the new Wakeman with Wakeman CD which at the time of going to Press is well on the way to completion. Reaction from those in the know outside Rick and Adam describe the music as a mixture of nineties progressive rock, melodic rock and as usual the odd musically unexpected. On this album that comes in the form of a piece entitled " Children of Chernobyl", written by Rick after having 6een some private film of the only footage taken inside the thirty Dile linit of what has happened to the children in the Ukraine since the disaster. It affected Rick in a big way and the music is full of compassion, frustration and helplessness.
It was a bit of a venture into the unknown as Rick, Adam and Ian Barfoot sat in terminal two at Heathrow. All they had, apart from their luggage, (and Ian carried none as Venezualan Airlines lost his on the return trip from South America), were three return tickets on Lufthansa to Berlin and back. The flight, with typical German efficiency, left a few minutes early, and following a relatively turbulent flight as the pilot insisted on finding every available cloud to fly in - obviously an old habit they can't get out off) we landed at Berlin.
I thought Heathrow was bad, but Berlin Airport is a khasi. Talking of rest rooms, Rick rushed off to relieve himself at the airpc,rt and was accosted by a woman sitting at the entrance on his way out who demanded to know whether he had done number ones or number twos as there was a different price to pay according to the bodily function you had performed. It was all pretty pointless as Rick had no Deutschmarks on him. It started to get totally out of hand but seemed to solve itself when Rick suggested that as he couldn't pay he'd go and retrieve what he had left in there. The lads were met in Berlin and then driven the 150 or so kilometres to Scezcin in Poland.
Scezcin is a very beautlful and very westernised city and the lads were treated magnlficently by the organisers from the television station.
Following an afternoon rehearsal in the castle where they were told the concert was to be held, Rick was further in his element as the Hotel had Eurosport and was showing the Ryder Cup. The following day a minor panic broke out as the concert was outdoors in the courtyard of the castle and the weather forecast was for torrential rain. They had sold fifteen hundred tickets and if they had to move it indoors, the Opera house only held 600 people.
Adam and Rick went sightseeing.
Eventually the decision was made to trust in the good Lord up above that he'd hold the rain off, and true to form he did, defying the Met office and giving the lads a warm balmy night for audience and participants alike.
Rick and Adam had organised a series of keyboard duets using a Korg 01W Pro/X each and a Korg Wavestation each, lasting an hour which is what they had been asked for.
They had worked out an extra five or so minutes if required but had not prepared themselves for the audience still clamouring for more forty five minutes later. The old memory banks were hastily brought into the forefront and Rick and Adam adapted anything they could think of. In the end they ran out of pieces and so played Eleanor Rigby again!
To the best of our knowledge the audience are still there!
Discussions over dinner on future concerts reached quite an advanced stage and Rick still managed to get to the Hotel by one o'clock in order to see the Ryder Cup being handed to the Americans on Eurosport, which was the only downer to the trip.
The five thirty get up and drive back to Berlin-did not rate high n Adam's list of ideal mornings, nor did Rick wanting to go to the loo again at Berlin Airport, but finally the lads arrived back at Heathrow, Ian wished us well in our luggage arriving and Rick and Adam made their way back to the Island and straight into the studio to listen as to how things were progressing on the Guitar, bass and drums front...
...very, very well, we can report.