Rick Wakeman Still Bewildered by ‘Close to the Edge’
Released in 1972, the LP was the British band's fifth and remains a classic work in the prog genre. In a recent interview with The Mercury News, the keyboardist – a member of Yes during five separate stints – was asked to settle fan discussions by naming the band's greatest work. He chose Close to the Edge without hesitation.
“It’s almost 50 years old, and I don’t know technically how the hell we made that album,” Wakeman said. “We did things that really we shouldn’t be able to do, technically. I think it was the last album made … where technology was way behind what musicians wanted to do. Certainly with us. So to me, it’s a very very special album. And I think it was during the period of time when the band was at one of its peaks; everyone was playing really well.”
In the same interview, he was asked about merging his comedic abilities and musical talent for his Even Grumpier Old Rock Star Tour. “I love to laugh, I have a lot of comedy friends,” he replied. “I think music and laughter go brilliantly together. If you are laughing, you can’t be angry, and that’s the lovely thing about laughter. And music is my life. I can’t imagine life without music; so to have a mixture of the two, music predominantly, but then having the laughter side as well … it can’t get better than that, can it?”
Wakeman offered a preview of what to expect at the shows. "It’s basically me telling anecdotal stories about my life, some of which actually are true, intermingled with pieces of music that I’ve been involved with over the years including my own stuff, David Bowie, Cat Stevens, some Beatles stuff," he said. "It’s just good fun. I like to think of it as squeezing everybody into my front room and we just had a meal, and I’m just sitting at the piano telling stories, that’s really what it is. ... I don’t sing because I like the audience to stay!"