Rick recognised as not so grumpy these days!

Not so grumpy Rick back on tour
Not so grumpy Rick back on tour

Not so curmudgeonly

Rick Wakeman has announced that he will finally be able to undertake the follow-up to his 2019’s Grumpy Old Christmas sell-out tour.

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Postponed from December 2020 due to last year’s lockdown, it is appropriately called The Not Quite As Grumpy As Last Xmas Tour and will see Rick performing in some of the cities he didn’t manage to visit in 2019, writes Martin Hutchinson..

Audiences can expect two hours of glorious music spanning not only his own solo compositions and work he recorded with YES, but also classics from David Bowie and The Beatles and festive songs, all interspersed with hilarious anecdotes from his lengthy career.

However, in a departure from his last tour, as well as playing a grand piano, Rick will also be bringing along a couple of electronic keyboards to add variety and texture to his set.

Rock's keyboard wizard

The enigmatic Rick Wakeman back on tour

Both as a member of Yes and as a solo artist, Rick Wakeman is known across the world for his virtuosity, creative flair and wicked sense of humour. A true rock legend, with over 50 million albums sold in five decades, his music continues to reach new generations of fans.

Rick's rhetoric

Catching up with Rick at his Norfolk home, Rick talked of the tour and how he coped with lockdown.

“I’ve tried for the last two years to be positive, but it’s not easy for someone like me.” He begins.

“I look at targets, like having music ready for a tour; when that’s taken away I find it hard to keep motivated. I’ve actually had seven tours cancelled due to the pandemic and even my recent US tour has had to be cut into two halves.”

“It’s all been very frustrating as you can’t get those years back when you get older. If I was thirty-something I could say, ‘Oh I’ll do that in a couple of years’, but now I’m in my seventies, it’s more difficult.”

“I’ve also been working on a new album and we’re about halfway through doing that.”Speaking of the US tour, Rick has just toured the US.

“It was brilliant. I can’t tell you how great it was to walk out in front of an audience again.”There were still restrictions in place though."

Great organisation

Rick said: “Yes, it was very well organised and there were very strict rules.

“We only stayed in four hotels the whole time we were there, this meant that contact with others was lessened but there was a lot more travelling.

“All the audiences had to wear a mask and there was no backstage access for anyone.

“In that respect it was strange looking at a sea of masks – but all the audiences were great. It seems to have been forever.

“I think I was still at school when I last toured [he laughs]. There’s a bit of variation this time by using the electronic keyboards to add a little extra. We trialled it in America and it went well.”

The Not Quite As Grumpy As Last Xmas remaining tour shows follow Basingstoke, Leicester, Bexhill, High Wycombe, Dorking, Cambridge, Birmingham, and London gigs:

December dates ...

Saturday 11 Southampton Central Hall

Tuesday 14 Southend Palace Theatre

Wednesday 15 Manchester Bridgewater Hall

Thursday 16 Gateshead The Sage

Friday 17 Middlesbrough Town Hall

Saturday 18 Edinburgh Queen’s Hall

Monday 20 Bradford St George’s Hall

Tuesday 21 Hull City Hall