Firstly we'd like to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year and hope that you have recovered from any serious over-indulgences during your Christmas festivities.
1994 is going to throw some changes up in the Wakeman camp especially as regards live performances, but we thought first that we'd take in a quick scenario of the last three months of 1993 before moving on.
The UK tour was, as far as Rick was concerned, a genuine musical success but as far as attendances went, (with one or two notable exceptions), it was by far the worst ever, which was very disappointing, but it did confirm Rick's view taken earlier in the year that it may be possible to put one or two shows together, but it's very difficult these days to put on a show of any decent standard and still financially break even. The 1993 UK tour lost more money than the last two tours put together and in fact without the help of Jim Davidson, who did Rick an outrageous deal on the PA System, and Premier Ford on the Isle of Wight who similarly helped out with a tremendous van hire rental, the tour may well have had to have been cancelled altogether.
It's a very sad and frustrating situation, but the simple fact of life is that unless a major sponsor appears out of the blue, UK tours are a relic of the past.
"The No Expense Spared" CD is trundling along OK and it is good to see it, along with the back catalogue and some newer releases, appearing in some of the major record stores. Wakeman with Wakeman is now available in the USA and Canada as well as over most of Europe. Both releases are through a couple of small independent labels and Adam's "Soliloquy" has also had some overseas takers which is good to see.
Watch out for "Wakeman with Wakeman - The official Bootleg" It will probably appear on President in the UK in the not too distant future. It was recorded in Argentina and the quality is nothing short of excellent. 96 minutes worth have been captured and shows off the lads during one of their hottest periods and captures the show and atmosphere magnificently. It has already been taken up Griffin Records in America and Canada, plus there are offers on the table from Europe and South America.
In December Adam moved into his new house in Bedfordshire with most of Rick's furniture. Rick visited him over Christmas to take most of it back.
Rick and Adam performed in Jasper Carrot's Christmas Charity performance at the NEC on December l9th, and suitably brought the house down, as in fact did everybody else who took part! What a night it was. 16,000 people packed into the NEC to witness " Carrot's Christmas Cracker" which raised over £120,000 for charity. Apart from Rick and Adam and Jasper of course, others taking part included Beverly Craven (Adam's saliva glands worked overtime during her set) ELO ( shame it wasn't the real one), Roy Wood's Wizard, Phil Cool (Brilliant), Chris Tarrant, Robert Powell, Showaddywaddy, Cliff Richard (Outstanding) and Jasper's own band.. ....Belch (Terrifying)!
Rick and Adam have now done quite a few performances as a duo, one of which included a private function for British Airways in Chester, it was interesting to note that more than thirty people attending the function turned up the following night for the show at Southport.
On the 18th December, Rick and Nina did two of the readings in St Mary's Church in Bristol for their Christmas Service for Cancer related charities, which was marvellous to be involved with, a string of actors, Lords and "Sirs" took part as well, rather making Rick and Nina feel very much the "Commoners." It was a wonderful evening, slightly marred only by the little boy sitting in front of Rick and Nina, who, during the Bishop's address, decided to re-introduce the contents of his stomach to the congregation mostly over his two sisters new pretty dresses.
The family then stayed over in the UK for a few days to take in some pantomimes and Christmas shows. The kids have said that their father is a total embarrassment at pantomimes and sit as far away way as possible from him. For the record they saw Little and Large at the Wimbledon Theatre and it was absolutely brilliant, (Eddie is a golfing chum of Rick's) the Wakemans went backstage afterwards and Syd Little confirmed the kids views that their father is an embarrassment at pantomimes.
Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat were next on Agenda. (For those interested in useless trivia, Jason Donovan rents the upstairs office at Sunarts. The show was fabulous, the effects making Rick green with envy!
PARAGUAY was Unbelievable!
The lads were booked for one performance in a country that rarely has temperatures below 70 degrees at the very worst plus the chance of rain equals only that of Brentford playing premier league football in the next two years.
It poured with rain.
In fact the rain was torrential and subsequently the first performance was cancelled as the audience couldn't even get to the new outdoor auditorium which was meant to be opened by the lads with Wakeman with Wakeman show and enough effects to put the Christmas lights in London to shame. It was also to be Chrissie Hammond first live performance with the band.
The show was finally postponed until the following Sunday.
It rained on the Sunday but the promoters insisted that the show went ahead in spite of the fact that the ticket holders couldn't get anywhere near the stadium because of flooding!
850 fans, eleven swimmers, nineteen scuba divers, six merchant seamen (in pairs), four fish and one dolphin managed to get there.
They'd actually sold 12,000 tickets
The stadium holds 25,000
We suspect very strongly that the promoters didn't give those unable to get there, their money back.
The lads left Paraguay disguised as Methodist Missionaries.
The massive show planned for Brazil for Christmas 1993 was, not too surprisingly postponed, the new date is now set for April 21st.
The plan is similar to before with the big extravaganza coming during a long south American band tour, which should be with the line up that toured in he UK last year. The big show would consist of a first half being a performance of the original Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and the second half then being the new "Return to the Centre of the Earth". Both performances would be with the band, Chrissie on vocals, full orchestra, narrator and choir plus effects of course which will be built by the Brazilian film industry.
It is dearly hoped that a recording of "The Return" can be made prior to the performance for release around the same time or shortly after. Neil Warnock at the Agency has said that if It all goes as planned in South America then he feels it could merit a one off performance in the UK at somewhere like the Albert Hall. Fingers crossed please.
Should the Brazilian concert come to fruition we will seriously be looking at seeing if we can put together a package deal for any of you who might fancy going down there and can somehow manage to raise the fare.
The plan for the first half of 1994 is looking like this, at the moment, and it will be interesting to watch It change drastically But you've got to start somewhere.
January-March... Composing and hopefully recording, plus hopefully a one off show to record the UK show live.
April/May/June... Live performances in South America and the pre mentioned Gospels Performances
As regards YES, in the immortal words of Manuel from Fawlty Towers...."I know nothing". We get more information from fanzines than comes direct to us! We, like everybody else who care about music, hope they manage to get the album out early this year and that it is a great one. We also hope they tour as the fans deserve it. It has to be said that Yes fans have the patience of 'Job'. Sadly Rick has become so disillusioned with the whole YES set up that this retirement from the band will certainly be permanent. This is genuinely tinged with sadness as there is no doubt at all that he and Jon were working musically well and who };knows what might have happened musically. With Jon's contractual ties It is now also highly unlikely that the hoped for recording with Jon and Rick will ever reach fruition Again contractual situations make and ANDERSON BRUFORD WAKEMAN HOWE reformations unlikely, so perhaps this really is the end of the era this time
All sorts of rumours fly around as to reformations within the Yes camp. Here are a couple of the 1993 rumours plus percentages in brackets as to their substance.............. Yes to tour with Emerson Lake and Palmer (75%) this was apparently a real possibility. But collapsed on "Clash of Personality' grounds... now there's a surprise!... Anderson Bruford and Howe to tour together (55%) this also was an unlikely possibillity due to Jon's YES commitments and involvements.
Rick has been asked to join Bill and Steve around Europe on their orchestral album the two of them put together. Rick was both flattered and pleased to be invited, but has declined the offer as he feels It would serve no genuine useful purpose for either parties, as musically the orchestrations are not as Rick feels they would have been done he had been involved in the initial recordings, and therefore It would be hypocritical of him to be involved. He however wishes them much success on their tours and envies them having an orchestra at their disposal .
And now for some tongue in cheek predictions for 1994 from Rick.
The Christmas Party was generally felt to be even better than the 1992 extravaganza and Candy has already started to think about this year's... and breaks into a nervous reaction every time C.
Thank you to everyone who wrote and said how much they enjoyed Buxton, yes we even managed to arrange snow for the night!
The Victor tag seems to have well and truly stuck with Rick. For those of you who have no idea what this means, you'll have to ask someone who went to the Party.
Hope Records, mentioned one or two times in previous Newsletters now officially exists. It intends to produce purely Christian music of Rick's and maybe in a year or two's time, other artist's material.
The label has been formed in order to keep this music totally separate from his secular work and at this moment in time, it looks very much like It will commence on mail order initially, both for retail and wholesale sales as costs have to be kept to an absolute minimum in order to give the label a chance to survive and grow. More details in the next Newsletter.
Recordings planned for next year depend very much on what happens with the big Journey project, but should that not happen then Rick intends to record the new show live as well as a follow up to the Heritage Suite. Later on in the year, we suspect that Adam will start work on his second album for release perhaps around Christmas time. The Gospels are also on Rick's agenda to re record and It would certainly be nice to get another film score under the belt.
Sattva Arts in Germany have requested a new synthesizer recording which they would like to sound somewhere between that of the Aspirant Series and 2000AD Into the Future.
Many of you patiently keep asking about sheet Music and it is certainly hoped that this year will see some hit the shelves. Almost certainly THE HERITAGE SUITE will be the first. The older material is very much reliant upon the thoughts of Rondor Music, Rick's old publishers and at the moment they do not seem that keen to either reproduce that which has been deleted, or issue material hitherto unseen. We have suggested a "Best Of" book which was met with the enthusiasm of Rick at a Fish concert in Dusseldorf We'll keep plugging away at them though.
One of the more unusual ideas for this year is to tour the Heritage Suite around venues such as stately homes. Rick would simply perform on a grand piano.
If this idea got off the ground then another piano/classically orientated CD would be produced to perform alongside the Heritage Suite.
The four Gospels shows which took place during the UK Tour really showed the need for people who take the show on board to listen to how we recommend they market and present it. Subsequently, all future Gospels performances will have to be guaranteed by the individual who takes the show on.
For next year, additional solo, narrative and choir parts have been written and the performances will be presented in a totally new fashion. More details about that in the next Newsletter.
Three performances are looking very possible in California in order to raise money for the ASSIST ministry, run by Rick's old chum Dan Wooding who wrote "The caped Crusader". If all goes well, these shows would be over the Easter period. Again, if they come to fruition, full details will appear in the next Newsletter. With the exception of Ramon Remedios and the Narrator, the band would be American for these performance. once again cost dictates production.
Pat Litherland 9th November 1993 after a nine month battle against cancer aged 44.
Pat a long time Rick-o-holic was totally committed, every year to see as many of Rick's concerts as possible and also to reducing mass stock piles of dried flowers in the Midlands area: At the end of a Concert "Right that's it" the Mad Max of Interflora would rush to the front, flowers blazing, nutty as a fruit cake "I'm a groupy and I don't care!" Loved to see Rick and the Band. Pat loved even more the chats after the concerts that so often happened.
The love and music of Rick and Nina helped Pat to the very end and God willing will last forever.
A definite "Gone But Not Forgotten" which was played at Pat's funeral and now means so much to everyone who knew her.
Our thanks to Rick, Nina and Candy for dedicating the award to Pat. It means a lot to us, and we know that Pat would be thrilled.
Colin and Jackie Foster