Ashcroft Theatre - Croydon 30 April 2003 by Wim Knijnenburg and Paul van der Maas

My friend Wim and I (from YESFOCUS Holland) arrived early on that Wednesday. The reason was not only to be well on time for the concert, but we were also to have an interview with Rick, before the show. Rick was in a cheerful mood when he entered the room for our interview, in spite of the slight technical problems at the soundcheck. A charming and engaging man who appeared to be open to all kinds of questions, even some tricky ones.

I can't reveal the questions and answers that were exchanged, as the material will be used in a later stage, but one I will share with you 'Out There': On the question if there was any chance of him being
rewarded by the Queen, he answered humorously: "Not a chance, in order to become an OBE, (or MBE) you have to 'father' at least 8 children, don't pay any taxes, and upfront a band"; unfortunately Rick doesn't answer to all these criteria. We'll study the matter and will see if we can bribe your queen!

The concert itself was to our expectations, the only drawback (not to us) was a prolonged technical "keyboard problem", which had started at the soundcheck. Rick and his band were forced to give us, the audience, an extra intermezzo as the problem could not be solved in just one minute. Needless to say that the 'Fairfield' people didn't mind an extra 'beverage break'.

The way in which Rick handled this not only shows his skilfulness, but also his witty way of dealing with unexpected occurrences. When the audience had returned they played the last tunes of the song that went wrong, due to that problem. Very original, all the more when Rick remarked that they should include this incident in their forthcoming performances, to which the audience hilariously reacted.

'Out There' needs no introduction to most of us fans as it is already in many fans' possession, and the live performance of a few of its songs must have set many a heart alight; It's truly amazing how Rick's fingers, at almost the speed of sound skilfully touch the keys and bring forward an incredible array of melodious sounds. He is a true master of it all.

Credit, of course should also go to the rest of NERE!
Ant, for his excellent guitar work, Lee, whose bass sounds swept unconditionally across the intimate hall, Tony, who solo-ed in an un-equalled drum session and Ashley who, with only little preparation time again proved his vocal interpretation is unmistakably valuable.

Thanks guys for cheering up our lives and giving us the time of our lives!