It seems like only yesterday that there was still 6 months to go before the first Journey concert and now it’s less than 3 weeks away. It’s been a long journey itself to get there and it’s never plain sailing, but I do feel we have a great team working flat out to make it all work as we all want it to.

It was a strange feeling walking onto the Albert Hall stage a couple of days ago for the “Celebrating Jon Lord” concert as so many people working there kept saying “See you in a few weeks”!

Jon’s memorial concert was perfect in every way with amazing guests taking part and the final “bun fight” of HUSH, with anybody who wanted to join in, joining in, was something extremely unique. It was great to meet up again with so many old friends and all credit to Ian Paice’s wife Jacky and her twin sister Vicky, (Jon’s wife), who organised it all so spectacularly.

Just looking back and reporting on a couple of things, Adam and I flew to Naples for a concert with Mario Fasciano and it was great fun and lovely to spend some time with Adam too swapping stories. It was an interesting line up on stage. Myself on Grand Piano, Adam on two rather ancient keyboards (out of which he did manage to get some really good sounds amazingly), and Mario on drums!! He does hit them rather hard and when he did it was impossible for either Adam or I to hear one note we were playing! It was certainly a different experience accompanying drum solos!

I had a great experience playing “The Beast”, which is the affectionate name given to the enormous organ at the Royal Festival Hall, at Sandi Toksvig’s wedding there. Sandi is so incredibly funny and such a lovely lady, and I was honoured to be asked by her to take part.

The rest of the month was taken up with yet more preparation for the Journey tour and it does seem never ending! We have been working on photos to show on the screens, (in the theatres that they will fit into
), and also sorting out my keyboard rig and making a few changes here and there.

Rehearsals are going to be manic and full on, but that’s the way they should be really. Erik and the tech crew start working on the equipment on the 14th and then on the 16th and 17th we have band rehearsals and after Easter they start again, but this time with the Orion Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Choir, Philip Franks (narrator), PA and lights, and probably the St John’s Ambulance!

After the second day’s rehearsals we head straight off to Newcastle in readiness for the opening concert the next day.

There are loads of new releases and re-packaged releases happening too. OUT THERE has now had its’ first proper release on the Esoteric label and the re-packaging, courtesy of Oliver Wakeman, is excellent and it’s lovely to see it finally out there. (No pun intended)!

The box sets of Journey in all its new guise look absolutely amazing and Roger Dean has done a magnificent job. Official release date will be the 2nd week in June.

Starting in July there will be the commencement of all the A&M original albums being re-released which will finally put a stop to ludicrous import prices. They are being re-mastered wherever possible with additional packages wherever possible. It’s long overdue and a special thanks to Steve Hammonds at Universal who has made this possible.

Moving away from Journey I am taking part in the Viv Stanshall celebration show, which appears to have become annual, at the Bloomsbury Theatre on Tuesday 8th of April and will be doing a ridiculous duet with Neil Innes!

That’s it really except to say thanks for all the support for the upcoming tour and indeed in everything we try and do. We try and make it one never-ending adventure and with your continued support, long may it continue!

Cheers,
Rick


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