The Truants Legends Music Dinner took place on April 12th 2017.
In the court of… Rick Wakeman
“Rick Wakeman is one of rock music’s most instantly recognisable figures, with his flowing blonde locks and, if you have ever seen him on stage, more often than not resplendent in a flamboyant cape. He has worked with some of the most famous names in rock music: David Bowie, Cat Stevens, Black Sabbath and Elton John to name a few.
As you will find out, Rick is one of the finest raconteurs there is in show business. He regularly brings the house down at the annual Progressive Music Awards with his tongue-in-cheek but good natured repartee as a guest presenter.
He is a timely reminder of a time when our rock stars both had something to say and knew how to say it. If he’s only half as funny on the night as he is when I’ve worked with him at the Prog Awards, I can guarantee you’re in for a terrific evening.”
Foreword by Jerry Ewing– Rick’s Biographer, Editor of Prog Rock magazine, and compere for the evening
An Evening with by Alex Milas
It’s not every day that you get to sup in the presence of a legend, but that’s exactly what happened on April 12th when Truants and friends gathered in a packed-out basement of the Sanctum to hang out with Prog magazine editor Jerry Ewing. His friend Rick also came along, who – as guests enjoyed a delicious three-course meal – held the room’s attention with highly detailed accounts of disappointing curries and their consequences, drunken confrontations with the law, and at least one or two pearls of marital wisdom that could only come from someone who’s been married four times. The music got a look in, too.
In all seriousness, to have Grumpy Old Rick join us in such intimate circumstances was more than a thing of privilege, and it’s about so much more than his discography, which firmly place him in the pantheon of the most successful and prolific recording artists of all time, and this is after rewriting the rules of music with Yes. It’s the fact that for a man so successful, so well-known, and so beloved there simply isn’t a shred of ego about him as he recounted tales of years and albums and curries gone by – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a story about explosive gastrointestinal distress over a meal? Of course this is, after all, a man who famously said that in order to break the rules of music you first have to know them, and suffice it to say a similar philosophy exists in his approach to after-dinner speaking, and more power to him.
For an evening, and under the expert guidance of Jerry, who’s also Rick’s biographer and a veteran Heavy Metal Truant to boot, he regaled us with stories so complex and hilarious that there is no doubt that his has been a life well lived. From his earliest days of learning to play at his parents’ encouragement to the challenges and joys of being a bit longer in the tooth, it was an experience peppered with sidesplitting laughter and the kind of profundity you’d expect from a true musical master who is nothing less than an architect of our musical age.
To top it off, he brought his keyboard and treated us to a command performance normally reserved for far, far more cavernous spaces – a classically informed rendition of the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby, and a heartstring-tugging version of Bowie’s Life On Mars that brought the stunning depth and compositional intricacies of what seems to be a simple song into beautiful, elegant relief. Be it from the laughter or the deeply moving sentiments there were few dry eyes in the house as the evening progressed, and a swiftly executed auction undertaken by Tom Baigrie brought even more funds to our chosen charities and ended a very special and unforgettable night.