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Ex-Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman says he gets to share "unbelievable, reasonably true" stories on new solo tour

Written by on September 23, 2019

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Courtesy of Chipster PRFormer Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman launched his first North American solo trek in 13 years on Saturday. The 70-year-old virtuoso’s Grumpy Old Rock Star Tour features Wakeman playing solo piano versions of Yes classics, material from his own albums, and well-known songs by other artists to which he contributed, such as David Bowie‘s “Space Oddity” and Cat Stevens‘ “Morning Has Broken.”

In addition, Wakeman mixes in some comedy, something he’s well known for in his U.K. homeland. As he explains to ABC Radio, he tells “stories that are quite unbelievable, but some of them are reasonably true, about some of the ridiculous things that have happened to me or people I know during my 70-odd years” intermingled between the songs.

Rick says he finds it interesting to present his songs as solo piano pieces because “all of the music that I write, and 90 percent of the music I’ve been involved with, has all started on the piano. So it’s a bit like going back and saying, ‘Well, this is how it was done.'”

Wakeman says one of the big pluses of playing solo for him as that he doesn’t have to adhere to a set list.

“[S]ometimes things happen on a show that triggers your mind off to something that may have happened nearby or something else, so you’ll change the story,” he notes. “You’ll throw in another story, and that might lead you to play a piece that you weren’t actually thinking of playing before.”

Rick tells ABC Radio that one of the humorous anecdotes he tells at his shows involves an incident where he “was arrested and end[ed] up on a stranger’s lavatory with a policeman outside with his handcuffs.”

Here are the upcoming dates on Wakeman’s North American tour:

9/23 — Boston, MA, The Wilbur
9/24 — Huntington, NY, The Paramount
9/25 — Alexandria, VA, The Birchmere
9/27 — Quebec City, QC, Canada, Palais Montcalm
9/28 — Montreal, QC, Canada, Olympia Theatre
9/29 — Toronto, ON, Canada, Danforth Music Hall
10/2 — Harrisburg, PA, Whitaker Center
10/4 — St. Charles, IL, Arcada Theatre
10/6 — St. Louis, MO, The Sheldon Concert Hall
10/8 — Allentown, PA, Miller Symphony Hall
10/10 — Englewood, NJ, Bergen Performing Arts Center
10/11 — Collingswood, NJ, Scottish Rite Auditorium
10/13 — Ridgefield, CT, Ridgefield Playhouse
10/16 — Seattle, WA, The Triple Door
10/17 — Portland, OR, Revolution Hall
10/19 — San Francisco, CA, Castro Theatre
10/20 — San Juan Capistrano, CA, Coach House
10/22 — Los Angeles, CA, Theatre at Ace Hotel
10/25 — Atlanta, GA, City Winery
10/26 — Clearwater, FL, Capitol Theatre
10/27 — Orlando, FL, The Plaza Live

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