Our next pick in the 2017 PopCult Gift Guide is a DVD (you can also find a CD of the music, but you’ll want to watch all the fun), called “Gastank,” featuring Rick Wakeman and a horde of Britain’s finest rock musicians, jamming to their heart’s content. This is the perfect gift for the classic rock lover on your holiday shopping list.
Gastank was a television show that aired between 1982–1983 on Channel 4 in the UK. Hosted by Rick Wakeman and Tony Ashton the show featured a mix of interviews with 1970s musicians and impromptu performances where the guest artist would join Rick and his house band in playing re-arranged versions of their classic songs, or entirely new pieces created for the show.
The format is very informal with the setting likened to a bar where Wakeman would interview the guest over a drink or two followed by their performance in front of a small studio audience sitting in groups at tables. Wakeman would frequently cite the show as an opportunity for musicians from different bands to get the opportunity to work together. During its run, the show featured guests as diverse as:- Rick Parfitt, Ian Paice, Steve Hackett, Maggie Bell, Roy Wood, Andy Fairweather Low, John Entwistle, Godley and Creme, Suzy Quatro, Donovan, The Strawbs, Eric Burdon, Chris Farlowe, Frankie Millar, Phil Lynott, Alvin Lee, and many others.
Released earlier this year for the first time on DVD, all of the episodes of Gastank are available for the first time in the United States ever, and also for the first time since they were initially aired in the UK. Rick Wakeman explains in the liner notes, “For many years, many of you have been asking us to release this material from the show I presented with Tony Ashton back in the early 80’s. Gastank was an opportunity for iconic musicians from different bands to get the opportunity to perform live together. I hope it brings back memories and for those not around when the programmes went out, enjoy some unique performances.”
The show is a blast, with musicians having fun, talking shop and playing the music they love. The easiest way to order it is through Amazon, where the price tends to fluctuate, but is always a bargain for two DVD’s packed full of every episode of the show.