Rick Wakeman Newcastle City Hall 4th May 1976

Rick Wakeman Newcastle City Hall 4th May 1976
ricktix76Rick Wakeman left Yes in 1974 to follow a solo career. He had already produced his first three solo albums “Piano Vibrations” (1971), “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” (1973) and “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” (1974) while he was still a member of Yes. On leaving Yes he continued to record epic prog / orchestral pieces, releasing “The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table” in 1975. Rick was also building a reputation for spectacular concerts. In fact “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” was recorded at the Royal Festival Hall, London with full orchestra and choir and topped the UK album charts, becoming a multi-million dollar seller within weeks. In 1975 Wakeman then went on to perform “The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table” on ice at Wembley Empire Pool. He the recorded the soundtrack for the Ken Russell film “Lisztomania” which starred Roger Daltrey as Franz Liszt, and also featured Paul Nicholas, Ringo Starr and, briefly, Wakeman himself as the god Thor. rickprog76I remember going to see the movie at my local cinema at the time. It was crazy, mad piece telling the story of Liszt as the first, flamboyant, pop star, and was very much of its time.
In 1976 Rick Wakeman released the album “No Earthly Connection” and went out of a full UK tour to promote it. The album and the tour featured “Rick Wakeman and the English Rock Ensemble”. The album packaging included “a piece of silver foil which you were supposed to roll up and stand over the centre of the front or back cover. If you then looked into it you would see the distorted pictures of Rick brought back into proportion. I think there might have been a tiny graphic indicating this on the corner of the inner sleeve.” (from Recollection site). According to my programme from the concert the English Rock ensemble were vocalist Ashley Holt (aka Poldo), Roger Newell (bass and vocals; aka Budgie), John Dunsterville (guitars and vocals; aka Dusty), Tony Fernandez (drums and percussion; aka Woppo), Martin Shields (brass and vocals; aka Fartin’ Martin 🙂 ….typical Rick Wakeman humour ), and Reg Brooks (brass and vocals; aka Steptoe).rickpic76
Thanks to Mitch for the photo which he took at this concert, and which shows Rick Wakeman resplendent in his cape (this was the ’70s). The tour programme was a spoof football programme, with a tankard on the cover, illustrating Wakeman’s extra-mural interests of the time. It tells me that “tonight’s programme will be taken form some of the following pieces: Catherine Parr, The Spaceman, The Battle, Lancelot & The Black Night, The Journey, The Recollection, Catherine Howard, Arthur, Listz’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 13, The Forest, Merlin the Magician, Anne Boleyn, The Warning, The Prisoner, The Realisation. Aaah, the joys of the ’70s, and progrock excess 🙂

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