Specialist police officers, trained in advanced Progressive Rock techniques, have now entered the stalls and upper circle of London’s Royal Albert Hall as the Rick Wakeman standoff enters its fifth day but shows no sign of being resolved any time soon.
The be-caped keyboard maestro has been on-stage now for over 110 hours playing his solo segment in the last concert of Yes’s world tour which took to the iconic venue’s stage at 8.00pm on Saturday evening.
Speaking from Barbados where he is currently on holiday following the conclusion of the run of one hundred and twenty shows, Yes lead vocalist Jon Anderson said: ‘Wow! He’s still on-stage? Really? That’s pretty far-out and cosmic. SHARP! DISTANCE! Woooooh! But you know for Rick it isn’t really surprising. Brevity’s not his thing. He once did this at The Budokan in the 70s. Although my memory’s a bit hazy if you know what I mean? Nudge-nudge wink-wink, eh? eh? In the end he kept playing for over a month I think.’
The officer heading up the police operation, Commander Bill Thomas, himself a spinet and harpsichord enthusiast, told BBC 6 Music: ‘This really is a worry because we’ve managed to get a picture of his set list by flying a drone over the stage and as far as we can see he’s only about a tenth of the way through the damn thing.’
‘There are another 30 albums he’s got to play and then the inevitable variations on those alone. We’ve also been tipped off he’s likely to start on modern adaptations of the entire catalogues of at least forty classical composers. The whole thing looks set to run until Christmas unless we intervene. At one stage we cut the power but as he’s got a Steinway Grand as an integral part of his stage-rig and of course the Albert Hall’s own organ is at his disposal he was simply able to just carry on.’
It’s understood a marksman armed with a rifle and several tranquilizer darts was placed on standby but now has had to be stood down, after lawyers for Wakeman cited that to ‘take their client out’ would be a violation of his human rights.’
For now things seem to have reached a delicate impasse. ‘The situation remains fluid and potentially volatile but we will continue with our attempts to arrive at a peaceful and safe resolution,’ Commander Thompson was quick to stress.
more updates as we get them