Former Yes star Rick Wakeman announces retirement from solo touring

Former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman has announced his upcoming solo tour will be his last.

The British prog rock musician, 76, said he will end his lengthy one-man shows in order to concentrate on composing, recording and collaborating.

He said in a statement: “I always planned to stop touring by my 77th birthday – for those of you who wish to send me a card, it’s 18th May! – but there is so much to fit in before then that I’m having to make plans now and so my final one-man shows will have to cease by that date.

National Cat Awards – London
Rick Wakeman (John Stillwell/PA)

“I have thoroughly enjoyed performing the various one-man shows, but it’s time to call it a day.

“I intend to throw in the best of what I have done in the past, plus a few new surprises on the way, and possibly even the odd guest joining me on the odd occasion.

“The plan is not to perform at the same venue twice throughout this period, so whatever venue you are hopefully thinking of coming to, it will be the last performance there – and I am taking this opportunity of thanking everyone and anyone who has supported me over the last 53 years!”

Wakeman, who is due to kick off a set of UK shows in Glasgow on February 15, said his final solo tour of the US and South America will feature the premiere of a brand new piece of music called Yessonata.

The 30-minute instrumental work will feature Yes themes and melodies, woven into sonata form.

The final solo tour, billed as “an evening of Yes music and other favourites”, will begin on March 19 in Ridgefield, Connecticut. It will end in Curitiba, Brazil on April 15.

Wakeman was a member of prog rock band Yes across five tenures between 1971 and 2004 and has also released more than 90 solo albums spanning a range of genres.