It's certainly been a very busy first six months of the year and the remaining six don't look like been any less interesting or busy. The first part of the UK tour is now a distant blur as preparations are being made ready for "part two" of the "Evening With Rick Wakeman Tour" in October and early November. Already there are some dates confirmed by the agent Johnny Mans, and these are printed at the end of this newsletter. As more dates come in they will go immediately onto the web-site and also appear in the next newsletter which is due in early September.
Please note that the October/November shows will be identical to those of the February / March / April tour. Some of the venues are repeats of the initial tour, which are mainly ones who sold out and felt that they could have sold a second night due to interest shown.
Rick is however putting together a brand new one man show for next year which will go out around Spring-time. This will have a whole new format and presentation and hopefully will be as well received as his first "one man show" has this year. Rick won't tell us any more at the moment except to say that it is likely to go down the hi-tec route.
As many of you were aware, the solo tour was filmed at Marlborough by the DVD Company who are based at Shepperton Studios. Unlike any previous filming of Rick's shows, which were normally one or two camera shoots and done on a very strict budget, this was a no holes barred filming with cameras virtually everywhere except up Rick's nose! There were cameras on cranes, cameras out in the audience, cameras behind him, in front of him ... in fact the actual filming of the event was almost worthy of being filmed itself .
The sound was recorded via the out front desk to a fifty six channel digital recording mobile and the tapes will be edited for use on the various soundtracks. Rick has stated quite adamantly that he will not be correcting or changing any of the notes on tape as he has strong feelings that a live performance should be just that ....live .
A separate shoot took place at Jim Davidson's studios deep in the Surrey countryside where Rick repeated the performance with cameras filming his hands.
There look like being three separate releases from the concert. A CD of the music, which will probably contain every track, but with no "chat": a video, which will be about 90 minutes long which will be obviously be edited down from the two and a half hour show and will contain a mixture of chat and music, the residue heading for the cutting room floor! The DVD will probably be a little bit longer and will be truly interactive unlike the majority of currently available DVD's on the market.
Rick has seen a lot of the editing that has been done so far and he is mightily impressed. He will be editing the music to fit the "cuts" sometime during June/July in England and then the releases for all three products look like being late September/early October. It is also expected that certainly the DVD will have an American release as well.
As a possible bonus, there is a special cut being made for television. This is still very speculative, but early signs show that this has genuine possibilities and so a broadcast version is being prepared for both the UK and America. If this happens and it is shown in America, then it could well pave the way for a USA tour of the "one man show". Two promoters from America have already seen the show in England and are very keen to take it across the "big pond", so fingers crossed.
So all in all it can be said that the tour produced it's fair share of surprises and was a relative success. Rick was very disappointed that he never got to perform in Scotland. No promoters there were even remotely interested in taking it. Perhaps devolution has decreed that no Wakeman concerts must ever take place over the border!
Keeping to the subject in hand, there are more tours in the pipeline, some confirmed, some half way there, and some ........ well still in very early stages !
The Italian tour is finally happening, although not quite as Rick envisaged it! The tour will take place between the 20th of July and the 29th of July. A total of ten shows in all. The routing has yet to be confirmed, but you can rest assured that it will not be logical!
Rick was dearly hoping to take a full band out for the tour, which is to promote Stella Bianca, the album he made with Mario Fasciano. The Italians also thought that this was a good idea, but felt that perhaps taking out a full band was a little ambitious as the costs would be so high. Rick agreed to compromise and the band size was reduced .... then the crew size was reduced .... then it was suggested that Rick bring his own PA system in order to save on renting one there .... then a further compromise was made cutting the band down even further.
The end result of months of negotiation, is that the band is now "one" ..... Rick.
There are thankfully four in the crew though, as Rick draws the line at "humping" his own stuff into venues!
There will also be a change of out front engineer as Ian Barfoot has prior commitments in Liverpool and so is unable to join the lads on their "works outing". His place has been taken by Erik Jordan who some of you will now be saying "I know that name, now where did I see that name?
Well, we'll put you out of your misery. Check out the Return To The Centre of the Earth cover and also the Preludes to a Century cover and you'll see his name listed as assistant engineer. Erik has great experience in mixing and is also a fine musician so is ideal to temporarily step into the big man's shoes . Rick first met Erik at the now defunct CTS studios at Wembley and they became firm friends and with Rick's favourite studios being demolished to make way for a new car park for the new Wembley stadium, Erik seemed to be the perfect choice as he no longer had a studio to go to!
The show will apparently only be one hour long and will be a mixture of Rick's stuff, (probably taken from the one man show), and tracks,(suitably adapted), from Stella Bianca. Size of venues is unknown, as is the starting place, rehearsal place and anything else for that matter! .... so everything is normal as far as the Italian trip goes!
Rick is going over to Italy during the third week of June in order to do some final promotion. (This normally means a couple of televisions and about twenty wonderful pizzas)! Rick loves going to Italy and is actually very much looking forward to the tour as if it is successful, it could well lead to the possibility of doing some more concerts later in the year or Next year .... maybe even with a band!
The only downside of all of this is that as Rick put on two stone during the UK tour, mainly due to midnight eating, the Italian tour is not going to help matters. He is well aware that after his recent hospitalisation that he has to watch his weight so Italy could not be the happiest time when he visits all his favourite restaurants there!
There is also a very good chance that South America could finally happen, WITH A FULL BAND! This has been provisionally set for the middle of September. Some countries are already semi-confirmed, although a few more dates would be needed in order to make it really financially viable.
Rick really hopes this will happen as it would be the launch of yet another new set of musicians around him, well almost all new anyway. Many of you will be aware that Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith is now a "semi pop star" in his own right with Craig David and has now joined Craig full time and no longer works with anyone else. We all wish Fraser the success he thoroughly deserves and hope that he makes enough money to do something about his hair cut and hair colour!
Adam has been put in charge of getting the new line-up together which will definitely include a new drummer, a new bass player and a new guitarist. It is hoped that Chrissie Hammond will be available for any concert performances, but as many of you will be aware, since having a great deal of critical success and acclaim in the hit show Smokey Joe's Cafe, she is now starring in Cats in the West End and so only has limited "holiday" periods when she can do other things. So there could well be a new singer on board as well.
Rick actually hates change, but often it can be for the better. Let's hope that this proves to be the case with the new line up.
There was a possible tour of Japan also waiting in the wings, but this seems very unlikely at the moment now that the year seems to be pretty well full. It may be possible to "slip" Japan in for very early next year. Rick hopes so very much as he loves going out there. This would be very much a band show as none of us think that the Japanese would understand any of his anecdotes on the one man show!
There is one other live performance that is worthy of note and that is of Rick's upcoming performance at the Hearts On Fire festival at Glastonbury. Although ostensibly a Christian event, none of the performers have been asked to perform music in that genre. Rick has been asked to bring his band along and perform for just 40 minutes with the music being that of from his no-Christian albums. This obviously opens the door for tracks like Catherine Parr and Starship Trooper which is nearly all the 40 minutes used up already!
Other acts involved include Rick's great friend Paul Field, (who toured the churches with Rick on three past tours), and the star of the show, Cliff Richard who is closing the event.
This all takes place on the 15th of July and promises to be a tremendous event, not least the fact that it will be a rare opportunity to see Rick performing with a band, which incidentally is likely to include Adam and Chrissie plus the new rhythm section mentioned earlier.
For all you girls out there, Nina will also be doing one of her "Beauty From Within" evenings during the festival, probably on the 19th of July, so another rare opportunity arises to get any Blonde on Blonde singles signed that you might have lying around!
Preludes To A Century seems to have been really well received and subsequently President records have held back the release of Chronicles of Man, probably to the end of the summer. Rick had intended to perform on the Isle of Man at the newly restored Castle Rushen Abbey in June to launch the album, but this has also been put back, possibly to the end of the summer in order to coincide with the release of the album. Some of. you may recall that Rick produced a book of hymns with a great friend of his, Howard Prior, just over a year ago. This was produced for a company called Kevin Mayhew in Suffolk and has been pretty well received since it's release.
Kevin himself attended one of Rick's shows on the church tour and loved The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended, which Rick closed the evening with and asked Rick if he could produce an album of hymns all done in a similar style.
Rick chose sixteen in all, which include The Day Thou Gavest as well as Morning Has Broken. No release date has been given as yet, but it is unlikely that the CD will be available in normal record outlets so as soon as we know where it is likely to be sold we will let you know. We can tell you that Rick is so pleased with the outcome that he is going to record one in a similar vein of Christmas carols and hymns during the month of June for Christmas release on the Music Fusion label (with the Hope logo), which will be available through normal outlets sometime in late November.
There are no other recordings planned for this year. Rick still has a load of unfinished tracks sitting in the studio, but until the finances are available to finish them off, they will remain incomplete.
This is proving very frustrating. Keith and Rick are still very committed to the project and all the basic music has been composed for the album. Both Keith and Rick are in total agreement as to how it should be recorded along with any touring, but for whatever reason the "temporary management", (which is now considerably less than temporary as far as Rick is concerned), just don't seem to have got on with the job of securing the necessary deals in order for things to progress. With Keith's blessing, Rick has attempted to open some doors via other possible interested parties and hopes to have something to report by the next newsletter.
Music Fusion now has distribution for some of it's product in Italy and negotiations are well under way as regards distribution in France and Holland. Whilst everything is still in early stages of discussion, by the next newsletter we hope to be able to report that product is now available in these territories.
An interesting development is also taking place as regards Sattva Arts in Germany, who also distribute some of Rick's product in Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Portugal as well as Germany.
At the moment they license Aspirant Sunrise, Aspirant Sunset, Aspirant Sunshadows, Classical Connection and Classical Connection II amongst other titles. This license runs out in a few weeks and they would like to release the two new trilogies that Rick recently released, (Art In Music and The Natural World Trilogy on Music Fusion, but with different sounds playing the same melodies that they feel would be more suited to their market place. They then enquired about the possibility of Rick completely re-recording the same music with totally new sounds.
Rick explained to them that this was simply not cost effective for him to don this and so an idea was devised whereas Rick created new midifiles of the original recordings which would be sent to America for further conversion to the format that suited Sattva Arts, who would then put the sounds they particularly wanted combined with Rick's playing .
If you understand any of the previous paragraph, then carry on! If not, we're sorry!
If Sattva feel that the end result works, then they will license the product for five years and also extend the license on the music they already have for a further five years. We should know the results of this pretty unique experiment in the next week or so. Initial results will be posted on the website and a full report will appear in the next newsletter.
Sattva also intend to change the names of the two trilogies and may well mix and match the tracks although the titles of each of the individual pieces will remain the same.
As many of you are aware, Adam is getting married on August 2nd to the lovely Terri. In true "hippie" style, they have chosen Cornwall for the actual ceremony with a celebrity golf tournament taking place the day before!
Manchester City made it the Premier League!
We know this has nothing to do with any of Rick's touring or recording, but the crew will vouch that he certainly is in a better mood on tour when they win and possibly even plays better as well. Sad, isn't it!
Still on the subject of football, Rick was a guest of The Works, (a large company that handles the European Champion's League), at the Champion's League Final in Paris in May. It was a bit of a struggle for Rick to go as you can imagine, but he somehow managed to fit it in! He reckons they invited him so he could get used to the atmosphere in preparation for Man City's appearance there next year.
The proposed Arthur concert for August in Wales with full orchestra and choir and band and actors and special effects and everything else imaginable .... has been postponed . (Now there's a surprise)!
In fairness, there was just not enough time to pull it all together and the organisers are seriously looking at next year and dates are already being bandied about as possibilities, so it does look like it will happen, which really would be something.
There is also a possibility of Rick performing with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic sometime next year. What he will play has yet to be decided, but rest assured it will be something new and also something completely off the wall!
Rick has done a fair amount of personal appearances over the last few months and has quite a bit coming up as well.
Some of his appearances on the panel of Through The Keyhole have already be shown although we reckon there are still about three to go.
We are still awaiting a transmission date for the celebrity special of Masterchef that he recorded earlier this year. (although, it is likely to be on August Bank Holiday Weekend)
He will be recording a further seven Countdowns on July 10th which should be due for transmission around late September, just in time for the UK tour!
Rick was one of the judges, along with Noddy Holder, for the British Stand Up Comedy Awards in London and had a thoroughly enjoyable time laughing his way through some very good acts .... and some not so very good ones!
Some of you "late birds" may also have caught Rick over two days of Music Live on BBC television and radio.
On the Sunday morning (the 28th of May), he appeared on Broadcasting House on Radio 4, followed by a four hour stint from 11pm until 3.30am the following morning on BBC2 with his great friend Phil Jupitus. That evening he also met up with Trevor Horn and guess what they discussed over coffee for a couple of hours? I bet some of you YES fanatics would have given your right arms to have been a fly on the wall during that meeting!
On the Monday evening, (from 5pm until 9pm), Rick was a guest of John Inverdale as he hosted Music Live on BBC 1. Rick is a great fan of John Inverdale's and rounded off a very enjoyable two days at the Beeb.
All in all it was great fun and in conclusion we are sure that the whole world will be thankful that Rick was not asked to sing on the grand climax of A Perfect Day!
.... and on that note, we'll close this newsletter!
Text scanned, OCRd and checked by Jon Hinchliffe