Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman is planning a final year of solo concerts that will begin with a short run of U.S. dates this spring. Best known for his several tenures with the band Yes, Wakeman kicks things off March 19th at in Ridgefield, Conn., and will play eight U.S. shows before moving on to South America during April.
He's planning to return to North America for a second leg of shows later in the year. During the tour Wakeman will premiere a new piece titled “Yessonata,” a 30-minute instrumental work that weaves together themes and melodies from his recordings with Yes. We asked Wakeman what fans can expect from the upcoming shows: “I do actually listen to what people say at shows and I always try to think about, if I'm going to a show what do I want to hear? And the things I get requested for are a lot, at least one David Bowie track I played on, a Cat Stevens track I played on, a Yes track or two I played on, some of my own stuff, and I throw in a few surprises on top of that. So to some extent the show tends to almost pick itself.” :30 OC…almost pick itself
In a statement announcing the tour, Wakeman said that: “I always planned to stop touring by my 77th birthday—for those of you who wish to send me a card, it’s May 18th!—but there is so much to fit in before then that I'm having to make plans now and so my final one-man shows will have to cease by that date. I have thoroughly enjoyed performing the various one-man shows, but it’s time to call it a day. I intend to throw in the best of what I have done in the past, plus a few new surprises on the way, and possibly even the odd guest joining me on the odd occasion.”
He continued, “The plan is not to perform at the same venue twice throughout this period, so whatever venue you are hopefully thinking of coming to, it will be the last performance there – and I am taking this opportunity of thanking everyone and anyone who has supported me over the last 53 years!”
Wakeman was with Yes from 1971-74, 1976-80, 1990-92, 1995-97 and 2002-04. He was also part of the spin-off groups Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and Anderson Rabin Wakeman.
Wakeman's most recent album, A Gallery of the Imagination, came out during 2023.
Wakeman's initial tour dates include:
March 19 — Ridgefield Playhouse (Ridgefield, CT)
March 20 — Wellmont Theatre (Montclair, NJ)
March 22 — Paramount Theater (Huntington, NY)
March 23 — Scottish Rite Auditorium (Collingswood, NJ)
March 24 — Tupelo Music Hall (Derry, NH)
March 26 — The Vogel @ Count Basie Center for the Arts (Red Bank, NJ)
March 27 — The Barns (Vienna, Va.)
March 29 —Egg – Hart Theatre (Albany, NY)