Well, much to report as it’s been a busy time throughout March, and April looks like being busy too, with May and June extremely busy - so I’ll start with Gloucester.
As followers of this saga will know, the organisers had huge problems with the original proposed venue and that dragged on for so long everything was in danger of disappearing altogether and this, I was determined would not happen.
With new venues in place, The Centaur at Cheltenham and Blackfriars in Gloucester, we set about putting together some shows that would be different from anything I had previously done in the UK but keeping the original prog / orchestral theme that had originally been set out.
It was not possible to do the new Journey in its entirety or indeed that of King Arthur and the new additional music at the new venue, as venue size would not allow for the production size originally planned and also would have meant a minimum of an additional 6 full days rehearsal with the orchestra, band and choir and this would have meant a huge loss for the organisers at the end of the day and ostensibly, these performances are in aid of charity, so a very careful re-think took place.
My initial thoughts were to perhaps perform the piano and orchestra concert that had only been performed once in England at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, but wanted it to be different so thought about using keyboards instead of the grand piano and then that developed into “Well if I’ve got keyboards, I could have some of the English Rock Ensemble, which then developed into “Why not have them all”! And so we have got them all.
The orchestrations for the music need little adaption to do this and so we will be playing at The Centaur on the 16th and 17th of June a mixture of music including a large chunk of Journey, large chunks of Arthur, at least 2 of the 6 Wives plus at least 5 other pieces. Thoughts were then floated around to do The New Gospels at Gloucester Cathedral, but availability rendered that impossible but Blackfriars became available and so I thought about what could be done there on the 15th and whilst on the telephone with son Adam, asked if he fancied doing a show with me...Wakeman with Wakeman. He said he loved the idea. Then by chance on the same day I was talking to son Oliver and mentioned it to him and very soon we had Wakeman with Wakeman and Wakeman! Out of the blue, daughter Jemma called and within 5 minutes we now had Wakeman with Wakeman with Wakeman and Wakeman!
There will be two shows on the 15th, one at 6pm and one at 8.45pm. The 8.45 sold out on the first date of tickets being available and I am led to understand that there are just 49 tickets left for the 6pm performance.
There is a possibility that two more shows may be added for Thursday 14th.
After a family discussion it was decided that not one piece of music that would be played at the Centaur would be included in the Blackfriar's W w W w W & W show and so expect surprises.
Each of us will have two keyboards, plus Adam will have his guitar and both he and Jemma will be singing as well. We are hoping that these shows may be filmed. They will certainly be recorded.
At the time of writing this, tickets are available for all the Centaur shows but all the VIP tickets have gone for Sunday 16th and just 45 of these left for Monday 17th. If these two shows sell out then a third show will be added for the 18th.
April also sees me doing more filming for the new series of Watchdog plus a trip to Portugal to the Gouviea Arts Festival which I am really looking forward to on the 28th.
There will be an awful lot of preparation going on for the Gloucester and Cheltenham shows and every spare day will certainly be utilised in making these shows happen.
These will be the only major concerts in the UK this year and so I want them to be very memorable......
.................and talking of memorable, how lovely it was to be a part of Viv Stanshall’s 70th posthumous birthday concert at the Bloomsbury Theatre. I drove all the way home with a great big smile on my face.
2013 seems to be coming alive at last!