February 5, 2023

Rock star Rick Wakeman talks about his travels, including why he loves Buenos Aires

‘After seeing a tango show in Buenos Aires you’ll never want to watch it on Strictly again’: Rock star Rick Wakeman talks travel, including why he loves the Argentinian capital

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Rick Wakeman checks in to our travel Q&A

Rock star Rick Wakeman checks in to our travel Q & A.

He talks about his first package holiday (to Majorca), why he loves Buenos Aires, how he used to ‘drink planes dry’ with bandmates, and more…

EARLIEST HOLIDAY MEMORY?

Staying in a B&B in Exmouth with my family in the summer of 1957. We’d go to a cafe by the sea and depending on the weather, I’d have a soft drink or a cup of hot Bovril.

FIRST TRIP ABROAD?

A package holiday in Majorca in 1966. It cost £42, but when I got there I discovered that my hotel wasn’t finished so I had to stay somewhere else — classic Carry On stuff.

HOW HAS TOURING CHANGED SINCE THE EARLY DAYS?

When I first joined the folk group, Strawbs, and we were doing acoustic shows, we toured in an old Morris Minor, putting our instruments on the roof rack. It’s different now.

TOURING HIGH POINT?

Playing a solo show in Rio in the 1970s. I didn’t realise my solo albums had topped the Brazilian charts so fans were lining the streets. I got such a warm welcome.

TOURING LOW POINT?

I was booked to perform at a venue in the middle of Australia, but someone mixed up the dates. I was told I’d only get paid if I did a gig, so I ended up playing to a handful of employees.

FAVOURITE FOREIGN CITY?

Buenos Aires, a wonderful city if you love music and football. After seeing a tango show there, you’ll never want to watch it on Strictly again.

EVER FALLEN FOUL OF THE LAW ON YOUR TRAVELS?

I was stopped by customs in New York after flying in from Barbados with a hard shell suitcase to join [1970s rock band] Yes on a U.S. tour. They thought I’d stuffed drugs into a panel of the case so they took me aside and sawed it into quarters — then told me I was free to go.

Rick describes Buenos Aires (above) as a 'wonderful city if you love music and football' - and recommends watching a tango show there

Rick describes Buenos Aires (above) as a 'wonderful city if you love music and football' - and recommends watching a tango show there

Rick describes Buenos Aires (above) as a ‘wonderful city if you love music and football’ – and recommends watching a tango show there

TRIP MUST HAVE?/CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT?

A book of Sudoku puzzles — I’m addicted to that darned game.

TOP TRAVEL TIP?

I always take an overnight flight home from the U.S. so I can get a few hours’ sleep. In the old days, my band and I would drink a plane dry, but I turned teetotal in 1985. I wouldn’t be around today if I hadn’t quit the bottle.

WHERE NEXT?

Tenerife with my wife next year.

DREAM DESTINATION?

I’d love to play a concert in Iceland.

  • Rick’s Grumpy Christmas Stocking Tour is on now. See rwcc.com.

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