Rick Wakeman in NZ after 37 years
Sat, 06 Oct 2012 6:27p.m.
By Alex Bourn
Rick Wakeman is a name not all of you may know, but it's likely you will have heard his music. He is one of the world's most renowned keyboardists and he's here in New Zealand to play three sold-out shows.
Rick Wakeman is the man behind some of rock and roll's most famous piano instrumentals.
The legendary British keyboardist wanted to play the piano as early as four years old and at 12 he bought his first electric keyboard.
“Nowadays, you buy a keyboard, even a cheap one for your kids, it can probably do 5000, 6000 sounds, do 100 different things,” says Wakeman. “Press a button it'll play. You can go on holiday, come back and it'll still be playing. But back then, it took two weeks to get a sound out of it.”
Wakeman eventually found his sound, and in 1969 he got his greatest opportunity – to play for David Bowie on the famed album Space Oddity.
“He said, ‘play the piano parts exactly what you want to do’. He said, ‘I’m not going to tell you. You do want you want to do’, which was just wonderful and I learned a lot from him. I do the same with the musicians in my band now.”
Wakeman went on play for big names such as Black Sabbath, Elton John and Cat Stevens, as well as being lead keyboardist in the band Yes.
But it's his solo albums of thematic compositions, like Journey to the Centre of the Earth, which have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.
“My father took me to see and played me Peter and the Wolf, and I just thought it was absolutely wonderful. Here's a story being told to music. And I just thought, ‘How wonderful is that?’ And that stayed with me forever.”
Wakeman was last in New Zealand 37 years ago.
“I know it’s terrifying. It’s because no one has invited me back, simple as that. People have this misapprehension that because you don’t go somewhere, it’s because you don’t want to go there. It's not that. You have to be invited.”
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7/10/2012 5:08:15 p.m.
Lynne Phillips wrote:
The Wellington evening last night was just beautiful. Just a joy to listen to his music and stories. Amazing talent. Awesome.
7/10/2012 7:09:05 a.m.
Charles Eggen wrote:
I was introduced to 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII' in 1980. Three years ago it became available on DVD and I had to have it. I think the LP or its CD equiv. has the best recorded sound, but it is nice to watch a concert even if he is no longer quite up to his performance ability of the '70s.
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