Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson
It finally happened. Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman are bringing their duo show to the United States for an abbreviated tour this fall, which kicks off at 8:00 p.m. Oct. 19, in all of all places…Milwaukee. The northern Lights Theater At Potawatomi Casino is playing host to a program that stateside fans of the former Yes frontman and keyboardist have presented to U.K. audiences in 2006, and last year, coinciding with the release fo their CD, “The Living Tree.”
Milwaukee is a special place to Jon Anderson, having played a show at the Milwaukee Zoo, two summers ago. “I loved it! It was a wonderful time, with the trains going by, the animals, and waving to the people at the side of the stage. There was only one place to start this tour, and why not,” said Anderson, during a recent phone conversation. “It’s very difficult playing with Rick, as I’d mentioned before, because he tells so many stories that it’s hard to play from laughing so much.”
The performance itself is expected to run over two hours, judging form the previous U.K. setlists, and includes some a healthy plateful of songs from “The Living Tree,” along with more familiar selections associated with the two friends.
The main issue with Wakeman’s participation was his well-known aversion to touring. Although he still tours through Europe and the U.K. on short jaunts, a full-fledged undertaking seemed out of the question. That topic was addressed, along with what he’s been up to lately, during a recent email exchange. An edited transcription follows:
What is your favorite color, and why?
GREEN…I THINK IT IS THE CLEVEREST OF ALL NATURE’S COLORS…I LOVE LOOKING AT THE COUNTRYSIDE, WHICH OF COURSE IS PREDOMINANTLY GREEN, AND THERE MUST BE A THOUSAND DIFFERENT SHADES. BRILLIANT! .
If you could be a tree, what kind would you be, and why?
A WILLOW TREE…I HAVE A 100-FOOT WILLOW TREE IN MY GARDEN, AND IT IS MAGNIFICENT. IT IS TRULY ALIVE. I’D LOVE TO BE A WILLOW TREE BY THE WATER’S EDGE, I COULD WATCH THE WORLD FLOAT BY, CONVERSE WITH WATER CREATURES AND LAND CREATURES TOO…AND GROW FOREVER! (Not surprisingly, Anderson also chose the Willow, citing, “I love the way the branches caress the water of the river floating by.”)
You are known for an aversion to touring, what changed your mind about this fall tour?
TO BE HONEST, THERE IS NO OTHER WAY FOR JON AND I TO WORK TOGETHER IN AMERICA !! AND SO THAT WAS SIMPLE TO ANSWER. I LOVE WORKING AND PLAYING WITH JON, AND SO IT WILL BE FUN AND ENJOYABLE. IT’S NOT THE TOURING I DISLIKE, IT’S THE TRAVELING AND LIVING OUT OF A SUITCASE. I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF THAT! THAT’S WHY I DO A LOT OF ONE-OFF SHOWS, OR AT MOST, HALF A DOZEN IN ANOTHER COUNTRY..
Jon and you have done two short tours together in the last few years. What is it about the duo combination which piques your creative tendencies?
IF I COULD BOTTLE IT I WOULD! IT’S AN UNDERSTANDING AND A TELEPATHY THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO US BOTH AS A GIFT AND I’D LIKE TO THINK WE ARE UTILIZING IT WELL .
The recent CD, “The Living Tree,” is a very quiet and beautiful suite of songs, and in some ways, reflective of spiritual and Christian values. Did that act as a foundation for the music?
BOTH JON AND I ARE VERY SPIRITUAL. WE COME AT IT FROM DIFFERENT ANGLES, BUT WITH THE SAME BELIEFS IN AN ULTIMATE POWER AND FORCE .I JUST HAPPEN TO CALL HIM “GOD” BECAUSE OF MY CHRISTIAN VALUES. I ACTUALLY THINK THAT ALL THOSE WHO BELIEVE, ACTUALLY WORSHIP THE SAME GOD…WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT. HE JUST HAS DIFFERENT NAMES. I THINK SPIRITUALITY IS A WONDERFUL THING TO COME OUT IN MUSIC. IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU ARE FORCING BELIEF ONTO PEOPLE, JUST DREAMS, ASPIRATIONS AND FEELINGS.
When the tour is completed, what projects are in the hopper for you?
I AM OFF TO SOUTH AMERICA FOR 8 CONCERTS WITH PIANO AND ORCHESTRA, THEN BACK TO THE U.K. FOR THREE XMAS SHOWS. THEN, IN THE NEW YEAR, I START FILMING FOR TWO NEW MAINSTREAM TELEVISION SERIES AND ALSO HAVE TO PRODUCE TWO ALBUMS FOR OTHER ARTISTS…A NEW BOOK OUT TO GO, IT’S CALLED “RICK WAKEMAN’S GRUMPY OL;D ROCKSTAR RANTS.” THEN I HAVE TO WORK ON GETTING PREPARED FOR A BIG OUTDOOR PERFORMANCE OF JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. ADD, IN A FEW PIANO SOLO SHOWS, AND THE REGULAR RADIO SHOWS I DO, AND WE’RE GETTING CLOSE TO XMAS 2012. I JUST LOVE THE DIVERSITY IN MY LIFE, IT’S WONDERFUL .
You are a natural storyteller, could you please supply a short anecdote about last year’s"Tree” tour?
NOT WITHOUT GETTING MYSELF INTO A LOT OF TROUBLE!
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Anderson And Wakeman Start Tour In Milwaukee
CD: The Living Tree Record Label: Gonzo Records
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