Gravity Stands for the Keyboard Wizard

Yes Keyboard Player Rick Wakeman performs his “Live Portraits” at Lincoln Cathedral.

The name “Rick Wakeman” causes discerning keyboard music lovers to wax lyrical. For several decades the 69-year-old Briton has not only shaped the keyboard sound of prog rock legends, Yes, but has also created some pioneering music as a solo artist. His extensive solo discography comprises an extraordinary 90(!) albums and encompasses classic rock/pop, synthesiser compositions, orchestral recordings and film music. In 2017 Wakeman released his album, “Portraits”, composed entirely on a Steinway grand piano. After a largely successful tour, the tireless pianist decided to perform “Portraits” live once more in front of an audience and release the concert on CD and DVD.

Gravity for the Steinway grand piano

On 7 March 2018, Rick Wakeman, his long-serving recording engineer Erik Jordan, Ian M. Barfoot from Tech-Serv Audio Consultants (also Rick Wakeman’s FOH engineer), and piano maker Andrew Giller recorded the live session at the legendary Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln, UK. In addition to a fine selection of microphones, Barfoot also brought ten Gravity MS 4322 HDB microphone stands to the Gothic cathedral to capture the sound of Rick’s beloved Giller Steinway grand from all sides without compromising the maestro’s artistic performance area.

Everything perfectly placed

“A live concert in a church which was painstakingly recorded, filmed and released on DVD – this was a special job in a special location, where everything had to work perfectly,” says Barfoot, who provided the front-end equipment for the concert. “We chose the MS 4322 HDB from Gravity, because the entire stand construction is extremely rugged and stable – not just the stand legs, as is the case with many other models. We were using a variety of extremely expensive microphones. So nothing could shake, resonate or slip – especially not in front of a live audience.”

An elegant look for an intimate session
“The Gravity stands have a cool, slimline and modern appearance. Since they were constantly in the camera image, of course we ensured that they were always spotless…”, adds Jordan with a smile. An unusual task for a technician, but it was worth it. “Live Portraits” is one of Rick Wakeman’s most intimate and personal works. “Although at the beginning of March the cathedral was not the warmest environment for a concert, I can’t imagine that anyone would have wanted to miss this unique experience”, says Andy Brailsford from the British music magazine “Rocktopia”.

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