A Wigan musician will appear on stage with members of one of his favourite bands in front of thousands of fans tonight after landing a dream gig.
Guitarist and singer Rik Jones, from Newtown, will play at Liverpool’s Echo Arena at a spectacular star-studded night celebrating the music of The Jam.
Rik secured his spot on the bill after going to an exhibition about the iconic Mod band in Liverpool and meeting the show’s curator Nicky Weller.
As he is visually impaired he asked why there were no audio descriptions and she immediately offered to show him around the exhibition personally if he returned.
The two got talking about The Jam and their music and soon after a whirlwind turn of events ended with an email asking if the 26-year-old would like to perform on stage on a bill featuring ex-members of the group as well as Badly Drawn Boy, The Farm and Mani from the Stone Roses.
Rik’s mum Jayne Jones said: “Rik spent a couple of hours talking to Nicky and she said he knew more about The Jam than she did.
Rik’s taken it all in his stride but he’s so excited and thrilled to be playingJayne Jones
“We then went to see Bruce Foxton play and an event where The Jam’s drummer Rick Buckle was doing a question and answer session, and then on Friday Rick was in his music room recording one of the songs.
“He asked if I thought he should send it to Nicky and she rang back to ask if he wanted to perform at the Echo Arena.
“Rik’s taken it all in his stride but he’s so excited and thrilled to be playing. Nicky really has been amazing with him.”
The show in Liverpool marks the end of the exhibition About The Young Idea dedicated to Paul Weller and his bandmates which is on at The Cunard Building until this weekend.
The line-up is topped by Weller’s backing band The Songbook Collective, which features Steve Cradock from Ocean Colour Scene.
Rik travelled to the legendary Cavern Club yesterday to meet The Jam bassist Bruce Foxton and rehearse exactly what he will play to the packed arena tonight.
Jayne says it is going to be an extremely special night for the family as Rik is not the only person in their household who adores The Jam’s music.
She said: “My husband Chris is a massive fan. We’ve even got a registration plate ending in JAM for our car.
“We were all going to the show anyway but now Rik will be performing on stage rather than just watching.
“I haven’t eaten or slept since Nicky rang and offered him the gig. We’re just so proud and happy.”
Rik has become a familiar face on the Wigan music scene performing for the past decade at many of the town’s open mic nights, pubs and other music venues.
He recently enjoyed a support slot at The Old Courts but the Echo Arena gig will be by far his biggest to date.
Rik has also just finished recording an album in his home studio.