Former YES member Rick Wakeman to host the “Even Grumpier Old Rock Star” tour in Ridgefield

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From actor and bestselling author to acclaimed studio musician and veteran touring actor, Rick Wakeman, 72, has done it all.

However, despite being kept busy during the pandemic, and even releasing a new album, Wakeman said he missed tours.

“It’s like a sportsman. They can train until they have a blue face. They can put hourly into practice but it’s not like playing a game. When you go out to play a game, it’s a whole different thing, ”Wakeman said. “This is where you get a fit game. Because you haven’t played concerts, you’re not in good shape.

The former YES keyboardist, who has been a studio musician on over 2,000 albums since the late 1960s, is looking to get in shape when he hits the road again with his “The Even Grumpier Old Rock Star Tour” , which lands at Ridgefield Playhouse on October 30.

A sequel to 2019’s “The Grumpy Old Rock Star Tour”, Wakeman thinks the tour’s name is light in the midst of a period of uncertainty.

“I think everyone has had a tough few years and it continues in some ways. The title is not meant to make people miserable, ”Wakeman said. “It’s to make them smile. ”

Wakeman joked that he wanted to call the now canceled tour four times “The even more, incredibly crankier than he could have been before he got more cranky in the first place Tour,” but his agent told him it would be “too much to put on the bill.

Wakeman is gearing up for his first tour in two years with pop-up club shows in London, but he expects an emotional comeback when he starts selling out again.


“I think it’s going to be pretty emotional,” Wakeman said. “It really occurred to me that we are all the same whether you are on stage or in the audience. You are there for the same purpose.

Having worked with artists like Elton John, David Bowie and Black Sabbath, Wakeman’s upcoming 24-city tour will build on all aspects of his nearly six-decade musical career.

It will also be Wakeman’s first tour since the release of his 2020 album, “The Red Planet”.

Inspired by his fascination with space, Wakeman has designed a “21st century prog album” that aims to transport listeners to the surface of Mars. Progressive rock, also known as progressive rock, became popular in the 1960s and 1970s. It is characterized by the fusion of symphonic rock and other genres.

“It’s such a good idea to write music,” Wakeman said, thinking to himself when he first pitched the idea for the album. “I had as many books as I could and read about it.”

Wakeman’s involvement with the Starmus Festival was a catalyst to heavily explore space themes on his latest album, even having conversations with people like Queen’s Brian May, Stephen Hawking, astronomer Garik Israelian and the NASA.

Wakeman printed pictures of Mars and covered his piano with it as he recorded music that he “associated with what I watched.”

The progressive rock icon brought in a number of musicians to realize his vision for a Mars-inspired album based on words David Bowie once said to him.

“When you start to make your own albums, always make sure you choose musicians who understand what you are looking for. You can pick the best musicians in the world, but if they don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish, you won’t get what you’re trying to do. Wakeman said Bowie had already advised him.

After mixing the album, Wakeman said he told his engineer Erik Jordan: “I really hope people like it, but if they don’t, at least I can hold my head up and say” that’s exactly what I wanted it to be. ‘”

While progressive rock isn’t quite on the stratospheric level that YES reached in the ’70s when Wakeman joined the band, he believes progressive rock still has a place in modern music.

“It’s there for people to find out. In many ways, [this] it’s what the early ’70s and late’ 60s looked like. A lot of it is word of mouth, ”Wakeman said. “I would often say that there is a little bit of prog in almost every piece of music you hear on the radio. You very rarely hear the intro, verse, chorus, verse, solo, chorus and fade anymore. The format has disappeared and I think prog rock should have some credit for it. “

Rick Wakeman will present “The Even Grumpier Old Rock Star Tour” at Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield on Saturday, October 30 at 8 pm. Find out more.


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