Rick Wakeman's Caped Crusade takes aim at tour accommodation

An illustration of Rick Wakeman outside a grotty toilet in his pants

When you’re on the road, where you stay boils down to one simple thing: money. Your accommodation is directly proportionate to your status and income.

First in the pecking order is the band that have been at the top of their game for some time. They play stadiums and are all multimillionaires so they’ll stay in five-star luxury hotels, usually in suites that cost in the region of £5,000 a night. They like the best of everything, and why not? Upon arrival, their bags will be taken to their individual suites and they won’t have to lift a finger except to wash themselves, although there’s usually a member of the opposite sex available to do this as well.

Next down the ladder is the relatively successful touring band. They’ve had some hit records over the years and have managed to hang onto a few bob, so will travel in relative comfort. They’ll stay in deluxe en-suite rooms at fancy four-star hotels, and will almost certainly have someone carrying their bags to these rooms. They may also have help washing themselves.

A little further down the ladder is the band on their way down. They’ve probably experienced four- and five-star hotels in their heyday, but life ain’t so good now, which means they’re stuck with the budget travel taverns. They’ll have to carry their own bags and will definitely have to wash themselves. They hate this turn of events and will constantly moan to their manager about how things used to be. His stock answer will be: “You used to be successful and now you’re not.”

However, this accommodation category is also shared by the band on their way up, and they’re just thrilled at the prospect of clean bed linen and their own bathroom! They don’t mind carrying their own bags and will even wash each other. Things are looking up for them and it’s a giant step up from the two levels they’ve climbed to get here.

The first is the one-star B&B. These are for bands who are really struggling, but still trying to retain some dignity. There’s always a steep, narrow staircase to their tiny rooms, and the bed linen is often damp, or at least it is in Port Talbot. There will be one bathroom in the entire building, which they’ll have to share with all the other guests, and their drummer, which makes for a very depressing tour.

At the very bottom of the ladder is the band who have little or no money and whose future is bleak. They’ll wash in public toilets and in the early hours of the morning can often be heard muttering, “It’s fucking cold in this van!”

Rick Wakeman's Caped Crusades