News of the World … of Prog

Big Big Train’s announcement of the Passengers Club and North American tour dates were just the tip of the iceberg this week!  In other progressive rock-related news:

King Crimson and The Zappa Band (the latter an authorized project of Frank Zappa’s estate, featuring alumni from his 1980s bands) will tour the USA and Canada in June & July.  One tour date (at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts) in Virginia has been announced for June 30th; others will be announced soon.

The three-part Emerson Lake & Palmer epic “Karn Evil 9” is being developed as a science-fiction movie, to start production later this year.  ELP managers Stewart Young & Bruce Pilato will serve as producers, along with Carl Palmer and Radar Pictures (developers of the Jumanji and Riddick franchises).

Plenty of great album releases are on the way as well, including:

Tiger Moth Tales’ live CD/DVD A Visit to Zoetermeer, out on February 21 and available to pre-order on Bandcamp;

John Holden’s Rise and Fall, the follow-up to 2018’s well received Capture Light, out on February 29;

Fernando Perdomo’s Out to Sea 3: The Stormout on March 6;

Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble’s The Red Planetout in April.

Time, it would seem, for the world of prog rock to awaken from its long winter’s nap!

— Rick Krueger

 

 

Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman – Live at Ravinia – 9/7/18

Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman (plus Lee Pomeroy and Louis Molino III),  Live at Ravinia, Highland Park, Illinois, September 7, 2018

Setlist:
Cinema
Hold On
I’ve Seen All Good People
Changes
And You and I
Rhythm of Love
Perpetual Change
Lift Me Up
I Am Waiting
Heart of the Sunrise
Awaken
Owner of a Lonely Heart (with a portion of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love)

Encore
Roundabout

Summer 2018 has been the summer of Yes. With two versions of the band touring the United States, fans have been treated to a double helping of fantastic music. I saw the official Yes in Grand Rapids a few months ago (see my review here). Seeing Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman was a great way to compare the two groups while getting to see a few progressive rock legends.

I had never seen Jon Anderson or Rick Wakeman (or Trevor Rabin, for that matter) live before this show. I’ve watched old live footage, but it isn’t the same. Jon Anderson is over 70, yet he sounds absolutely fantastic – maybe better than he did a decade ago. He didn’t miss any notes, and he looked like he was having the time of his life. Rick Wakeman hasn’t slowed down at all, and watching him play his eight or nine keyboards was a blast.

Continue reading “Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman – Live at Ravinia – 9/7/18”

The Sun Will Dance In Its Twilight Hour (2018)

Wilson and Wakeman!

No, it’s not Steven Wilson and Rick Wakeman.

It’s Damian and Adam!

I’m still listening to Damian’s last Headspace album, All That You Fear is Gone (2016), because it’s so good.

But now here’s a disc of dazzling new material since Weir Keeper’s Tale (2016):

Damian and Adam will release their second full-length album on February 16th.

The album, containing 10 brand new songs, will feature Damian on vocals and acoustic guitar and Adam on piano, vocals and acoustic guitar. It also features guest musicians Andy Dunlop (Travis) on guitar, Ash Soan (Adele, Robbie Williams) on drums, Tony Woollard (Damian Wilson) on cello and Hayley Sanderson (Strictly Come Dancing) on backing vocals.
The album will be available as digipak CD and as digital download on all major platforms on February 16th. A vinyl edition will be released on March 16th.

Adam Wakeman

Best known as the keyboard player with Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, Adam Wakeman has also released nine albums with father Rick Wakeman as well as releasing four solo albums.

As a classically- trained pianist, his albums cross many genres and styles from classical, to rock. He co- wrote the 2010 platinum selling album Scream with Ozzy Osbourne and has also toured extensively with Travis, Annie Lennox, Will Young, Slash, 10CC and many more. The most recent Black Sabbath The End world tour saw over 81 shows in 30 countries around the world, playing to over 1.5 million people.

Damian Wilson

Damian Wilson is a songwriter and vocalist who has appeared on over 70 separate album releases.

Damian is widely known in the progressive rock genre, for bands and projects such as Headspace, Threshold, Ayreon and Rick Wakeman’s English Rock Ensemble. As a solo artist he has released 5 solo albums, a DVD and a retrospective compilation album. He is currently promoting his latest solo album Built for Fighting

Damian has also worked with Guy Fletcher, Maiden United, After Forever, Mostly Autumn and Praying Mantis. He played the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables on their UK National Tour.

Rick Wakeman interviews Mistheria on Vivaldi’s 2016 Album of the Year @VivaldiMetal

The Vivaldi Metal Project is arguably the Album of the Year for 2016.

Part of that argument involves adopting an historical perspective. To that end, here’s an extract from the interview that on January 2015 (at Blue Train’s studio, Venice) Mistheria gave to Sir RICK WAKEMAN.

Rick wants to test his theory that Vivaldi was the first rock star, and that the Four Seasons was the first concept album. The Croatian musician Mistheria, who is behind the Vivaldi Metal Project, confirms Rick’s thesis.

Rick Wakeman on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

Antonio Vivaldi’s the Four Seasons is the most popular piece of classical music of all time. There have been over 1000 different recordings , selling tens of millions of copies.   It’s become so ubiquitous – in lifts, as phone ring tones or on call-centre answering machines – that it has been denounced as Muzak for the middle classes.

Rick Wakeman – platinum-selling prog rock keyboardist and television Grumpy Old Man – thinks the critics are wrong. He believes that the Four Seasons was so far ahead of its time that it was actually the first ever concept album – and that Vivaldi was the world’s first rock superstar.

But how could a sickly 18th century priest create the prototype for Rick’s very modern genre? And why did Vivaldi and the Four Seasons disappear into obscurity for more than 200 years after his death ?

Rick turns detective to solve the mystery: his journey takes him to Venice – in the 18th century the most debauched city on the planet – where he encounters some of those who have devoted their lives to studying and worshipping Vivaldi … and uncovers the whiff of a very modern rock star sex scandal which may have contributed to Vivaldi’s downfall.

Rick talks to Scottish virtuoso Nicola Benedetti and genre-hopping British composer Max Richter. In Venice he tracks down a Vivaldi super fan who relocated from France to pay homage every day; he meets Vivaldi scholar Susan Orlando and author Dr Virgilio Boccardi who writes about The Red Priest. And he learns about the composer’s involvement with Pieta, an institute for abandoned children to whom he taught music, from former Wimbledon photographer turned Venetian Micky White.

But the investigation also leads Rick to unexpected places and people.  He meets fellow prog rocker Mike Rutherford from Genesis and debates whose band Vivaldi would join; and he encounters the Croatian arranger and keyboard player whose multi-national assembly of musicians is turning the Four Seasons into heavy metal.

Along the way Rick also discovers the only existing original score for the Four Seasons – in just about the last place anyone would have thought to find it ….

Directed/Produced by Linda Brusasco/Tim Tate

Watch the whole documentary online if you can.

Concert Review: Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman (ARW) Saturday, November 12, 2016 at the Majestic Theater, San Antonio, Texas.

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ARW

 

With the first step into the Majestic Theater in San Antonio one crosses the threshold into a magical space, like entering a ride at a theme park.  The original 1920s tiled floors direct your paces into the main theater with beautifully sculpted dark wood lining the walls, railings, ceilings, and staircases.  Ornate chandeliers illuminate the space and the main theater is adorned in its entirety with an elaborate stucco relief which includes birds and vases and spiraling banisters. It’s a sight to behold.  My fondest concert memories are from this incredible place.

Something about the Majestic’s dramatic architectural collage made it the perfect setting for the music of Yes performed nearly fifty years after the band’s creation.  That it would be performed by the band’s founding member—arguably the soul of Yes—Jon Anderson, along with his concertmaster, ringmaster, and erstwhile musical genius Rick Wakeman, and guitarist/composer extraordinaire Trevor Rabin, made it a concert for the ages.

Opening with the track that began the joining of Rabin to Yes, the band rolled in with the rocking instrumental “Cinema” from 90125: Rabin in a slim-fit coat and slacks looking like he might have stepped off of the photo shoot from the Beatle’s Sergeant Pepper’s album, and Wakeman dramatically strolling onto the stage in his iconic cape and tennis shoes and settling in behind his mission control deck of nine keyboards.  This served as the band’s intro, much in the same way that Stravisky’s Firebird Suite had in past concerts.  The stage is set, the band are playing…

Continue reading “Concert Review: Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman (ARW) Saturday, November 12, 2016 at the Majestic Theater, San Antonio, Texas.”

YesYears: Twenty-Five Years Later

Remember YesYears?  It was one of the first really nice box sets to come out, back in the day when the only nice box set was that Bruce Springsteen one that had come out in the late 1980s?

yesyears
YesYears–a Nice Fiction that Every Member of Yes Loved One Another, Beginning to Present

YesYears came out on August 6, 1991.  Union had come out at the very end of April that same year.  Unless you were really connected to the internet (not that easy in 1991), Yes fans just had to guess as to what was going on that summer with the band.  Was Yes really an eight-person band?  And, how long would that last?  YesYears seemed to present the eight as living in harmony with one another.  After all, while the four discs did not include anything from Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe, it did list them as a part of the really nice fold-out sleeve, tracing every aspect of Yes history from “The Warriors” to Yes incarnation #9.

Whether real or not, the packaging of YesYears certainly makes a coherent narrative of the band and everyone of its members from Alpha to. . . well, certainly not Omega!  Yes was alive!  Or, so it seemed.

At the time that YesYears came out, I was very poor (a second-year graduate student) and still listening to cassette tapes.  Despite the expense of the YesYears box set, I purchased the four-cassette package.  And, yes, it made a deep cut in my savings account.  Those were years when I would skimp on lunch (usually not even eating one) to spend the money on music or books.

Yes+Yes+Years+350639bAnd as far as I remember, I never regretted having bought that box set.  Sadly, though, the cassettes that came with it were not of the best quality, and I wore my copies out rather quickly.

Jump forward two decades.  Today, in the mail, all the way from an Ebay seller in New Jersey, arrived a mint condition 4-cd box set of YesYears.

Wow, it is a thing of beauty.

I know that many of the songs that had not been readily available in 1991–such as Abilene, Vevey, Run with the Fox–are now very easily available.  Still, the 1991 box set is really, really gorgeous.  I actually paid less for this mint condition version (including postage) than I did for the cassette version 25 years ago.

Just as in 1991, I have no regrets.  The sun is out, my kids are laughing somewhere in the house, and I’m listening to disk three of YesYears.

Still amazingly beautiful. . . even a full quarter century later.

Rick Wakeman Live, April 24, 2014: A Review

by Dave Smith
wakeman 40th
Rick Wakeman. Journey To The Centre Of The Earth.  Newcastle City Hall. 24th April 2014
***
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth has been played live in the UK on three occasions. Once at Crystal Palace and twice at the Festival Hall London. It was here that the recording was made that went on to sell 15,000,000 copies. So tonight was the fourth time it had been played and the first time in it’s newly extended version due to Rick finding the old manuscript with the music that had been left off the original recording.

There was an air of expectancy from the mainly older looking crowd gathered to pay homage. The stage looked amazing with Ricks’ keyboard bank taking centre stage. The organ pipes at the back looked down on the seating for the orchestra and choir and a large chair was positioned for the narrator.

At 8.00pm prompt, Rick casually walked onto the stage dressed in a two piece suit. The audience responded and seemed to put him at ease. The was a Roland Piano set up at the front of stage and Rick went on to tell us who had influenced and encouraged him in the early days. These included Cat Stevens and David Bowie, so we got renditions of Morning Has Broken and Life on Mars. After forty minutes of humour and music, Rick left the stage and soon after the orchestra and choir started to filter on. Then the lights dimmed and on came Rick in white t shirt and trousers and the most magnificent silver sequin cape. Thus began our Journey.

The sound was crystal clear and the playing was impeccable. The strings and the brass shone through and the choir added an extra texture. They played the whole thing straight through. You could hear a pin drop during the quiet bits as the audience seemed transfixed. But as the build up to Hall of the Mountain King and the final closing notes approached the crowd were ready to jump to their feet to show their appreciation of such an outstanding piece of music.

Rick was overwhelmed by the support. I think he wasn’t too sure how the reaction was going to be, but he needn’t have been worried

For an encore they played some music from Return to the Centre of the Earth and then the final Hall section again, this time with rick out front duelling with the guitar player with Rick playing his over the shoulder synth guitar.

Another standing ovation then he was gone. A wonderful evening of nostalgia and superb music. If you are in two minds as to whether to get a ticket for the remaining shows… I say see it while you can. You won’t be disappointed.

 

[Dave is a great Englishman from Durham.  He’s also a member of the progressive rock band, Salander.  We’re very proud to have him write for progarchy–ed.]