New Album and Tour

Is there life on Mars? There is certainly musical life on Earth now that Rick Wakeman has defied the gravity of the Covid situation, by releasing a brand new album and even planning a full scale tour.

The Wizard of the Keyboards once took us on a journey deep into the ‘Centre of the Earth’. He now launches us into outer space with ‘The Red Planet’ a progressive rock instrumental album (released as a limited edition in red vinyl LP, CD and digital formats August 28, 2020).

Wakeman has spent the past three years composing the work that reflects his long held fascination with the planet Mars and space exploration. Sitting at home at the piano he conceived ideas for the new music that fans have long been urging him to record. It was during a 2019 ‘Grumpy Old Rock Star’ tour of America that he was besieged with requests to revive the kind of keyboard rich rock music he does so well.

The space themed album will certainly please the many real life astronauts he counts among his friends and will further enhance his long standing association with NASA. It follows the cosmic connections set by previous releases, notably ‘No Earthly Connection,’ ‘2000AD into the Future’ and ‘Out There.’ It’s a trend that conceivably began back in the Seventies when he famously backed David Bowie on his iconic recording of ‘Life On Mars?’

Since then Rick has studied the photographs taken by the NASA rovers ‘Spirit’ and ‘Opportunity’ that landed on Mars in 2002, awaiting the moment when Bowie’s suppositions might be proved right. All the key elements of the album were in place by the end of 2019 and recording sessions began in February through March 2020.

Modern technology was vital to the production process during the Lock Down era. Rick recorded all the keyboard tracks first with engineer and co-producer Erik Jordan. He then joined forces with Dave Colquhoun (guitars), Lee Pomeroy (bass) and Ash Soan (drums) who provided extra ingredients recorded in their own personal space. Wakeman left the musicians to create what they thought would be the most appropriate material.

Once various parts were complete they were assembled in the studio and mixed by Erik Jordan and Toby Wood. The final result proved highly satisfactory. Proclaims Rick: “It has achieved everything I set out to achieve plus so much more.”

Although there are no plans yet for Rick and the English Rock Ensemble to perform ‘The Red Planet’ ‘live,’ Mr. Wakeman will be appearing in his own 17 date solo tour ‘The Even Grumpier Old Christmas Show’ when he promises ‘An evening of music, laughter and Grumpiness, featuring songs from Yes, David Bowie and The Beatles’.

It opens at London’s Cadogan Hall on Friday, November 27th, 2020 and closes at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Monday 21st December, 2020. For full dates visit this link. See also, our review of ‘The Red Planet’ elsewhere on this website.