Rick Wakeman In Concert as seen by Jon Hinchliffe

Pictures from Rick and the Band on the "Out There" tour are here

Pictures from Rick and the Band in Rotherham are here

Pictures from Rick’s "last one-man" show in Braintree are here

Pictures of Rick and the group at the Daphne Du Maurier Festival, Fowey are
here

Pictures from Rick’s Charity Performance on the Isle Of Wight are here

Pictures from the band performance in Marlborough Aug 2000 are here

Pictures from the An Evening With Rick Wakeman Tour are here

Pictures from The Half Century Church Tour are here

I have commented on quite a few Rick Wakeman albums in my time. See here


The Gospels at Rochester Cathedral Friday 24th July
1992



Ian Lavender (“Pike” from Dad’s Army) is on the Left with White
Hair. Ramon Ramedios is behind the post in the Black Jacket and Bow tie. Then
it is of Course Rick. David Paton is on Bass (in front of the Keyboard) and
Tony Fernadez on Drums. The Choir belonged to the Cathedral.



Nov 22nd 1992 Leisure World, Colchester – The Wakeman
With Wakeman Tour.



Seeing this reminds me how long it’s been since Rick used Lighting
and Dry Ice at a gig in the UK. I guess it was the No Expense Spared Tour



Poor Old Wop (Tony Fernadez) was well hidden wasn’t he?



The No Expense Spared Tour December 1993 Leisure World, Colchester



The First Time I plucked up the courage to have a photo taken
with Rick. He started the long process of signing all my CD’s, LP’s Book and
Videos.



Leisure World, Colchester on 17th May 1996 – The
Wot’s On TV Tonight tour.



I suspect Rick was finally finishing signing all my collection.
Except of course the recent stuff.



The Piano Tour Halstead Baptist Church, Essex On Friday December
13th 1996



Rick was telling a Joke about Never getting Real Candels and
the Church Staff brought him some out. I have a feeling he was Surprised the
staff certainly spent some time hiding them from him. But of course it could
have been a good bit of acting.



During the Encore



Sunday 3rd May 1997 – The 25th Anniversary
Concert Of the English Chamber Choir and Preimer of a New Piece of Work called
“Noah”



The Strings section was The English Players. The Cathedral was
Southwark Cathedral in London



The Never ending task of meeting the fans. This time Graham
Johnson from the Wakeman Discussion list is on the Left.



Ronnie Scots Birmingham on 22 and 23 July 1997 – Rick looking
very casual Stage clothes wise



Doing the Dual during Merlin



Not a clear shot but on the tables in the audience.



Doom Joins on Guitar during Starship Trooper



Ricks Keyboard Set up. The Chords are written out for Lost in
Time, Vienna (I think), Etna, Starship Trooper



This time I was far more interested in talking to Chrissy than
Rick.

Rick Wakeman – Out There Tour – 2003

Rick Wakeman – Spa Pavilion Felixstowe – 21 April
2003

We arrived with plenty of time at what used to be my local venue. The first
thing that struck me as I walked in were the blue lights lighting up the stage.
They were a good colour and they were nicely positioned with some atmospheric
smoke already on.

The next thing was the size of Rick’s rig now. It is more like the set up on
the last tour with Ashley Holt in 1990. A Semi-Circle of Four sets of keyboards.
Two keyboards on Rick’s right. Rick’s main moog was perched before the next
set. This had a camera/projector watching it throughout the show. A Gem and
a Roland keyboard were on the 2nd stand. Two korgs on the third. Another Moog
was positioned in between the 3rd and 4th stands and there were two more keyboards
on Rick’s left.

Ashley Holt had a small space in front of Rick and he had a music stand so
he tended to sing looking towards the left of the stage. Tony’s drums were on
the left with Lee Pomeroy on bass just in front of him. There were two more
keyboards at the back on the right including the Piano set-up with "Candles".
In front of these were Ant’s Glynne’s two Marshall amps.

Just before the show started there was a stiff no Damian warning! Something
like "Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, the vocalist
originally contracted to sing with the band on this tour will, with immediate
effect, no longer be performing with Rick and the New English Ensemble." They
then announced Ashley would sing instead and gave his credentials.

The PA then played the Overture from Return To The Centre Of The Earth as has
happened on previous tours. The back of the stage had spinning spirals projected
on it.

As the overture finished Rick came on stage on a long black and gold long coat.
His hair is now getting quite long again. I still find it surprising that he
is clean shaven although I am sure he has been like this sometime now. I guess
I have just been trained expect a bearded Rick for so many years.

I have to say I was really touched to see Ant back on stage again. Given how
UK doctors had written him off with his cancer and he had his last piece of
brain surgery in March it was amazing to see him embarking on such a long tour.
He played well and really enjoyed the night so I wish him all the best.

A 20+ minute version of "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth" was the first
song of the night. The intro seemed a bit long to me and Rick seemed a bit lost
in the mix so I am not sure if there was a slight glitch somewhere. Anyway it
was great to have Ashley back on the vocals. I really like Damian as a person
and as a singer but I have always felt that his voice is not best suited to
Rick’s work. He is much better singing his own solo stuff and on Arjen Lucassen’s
Ayreon and Star One projects.  Maria is very much a Damian fan and she
was really gutted when he walked out on the tour and she wasn’t sure she was
that bothered about seeing Ashley again but even she admitted that he suited
the songs much better.

When Ashley came on both Maria and I thought he looked thinner and healthier
than when we saw him in Braintree with Rick.

With the lights coming on at the start of the show some red lights were used
and these seemed to point right at us in the 2nd row making it hard to see stage.
Luckily we either got over it or they were not used that much later in the show.

There was a full lighting rig with Varilites too. This tour is apparently put
on by a company with Jim Davidson (A UK Comic) as Chairman so it is to him we
have to thank for allowing Rick to tour with a full production.

As mentioned before when Rick soloed on his right moog the projector was stitched
to show what he was playing. Being on the 2nd row I was a bit to low to get
the full effect of this but I am sure it was fascinating to watch for people
that could see it.

When Ashley was not singing he played tambourines.

During Journey Ant’s guitar was not very loud but it seemed to get better during
the night.

It was great to see there was lots of in band humour going on despite the loss
of Adam and Damian. There were lots of smiles between Rick, Ashley and Lee and
then a bit later Ant and Ashley talking and laughing.

I am pretty certain Rick used all his keyboards during Journey. He started
on his Left. Moved to the right pair and did "Hall of the Mountain King"
on the Front left side.

"The Realisation" and "The Spaceman" from "No Earthly
Connection" where next up. Prior to doing this Rick mentioned they didn’t
remember much about recording the album. They were in a studio next to a vineyard
and after 7 weeks they had drunk so much wine the vineyard started sending them
wine with their own special label on it.

I need to hear this piece again as there seemed a lot of reworking going on
in this one. For instance Ant seemed to play a completely new guitar solo. I
couldn’t follow it at all. It seemed highly unmelodic to my ears but perhaps
I need more time to get accustomed to what I was hearing. That is one thing
I find with Ant’s guitar. He can be quite crunching and I guess Steve Via "modern"
to my ears.

Ashley seemed to have two volumes loud and louder! Even on a quiet section
he still seemed to be belting it out. He was actually left at normal volume
in the mix when the rest of the band were quieter perhaps he would normally
be turned down a bit.

Catherine Parr was next and this was pretty much a standard recent live performance
of this. Rick had to make some big leaps around kit on this one and again used
nearly all his keyboards again. At one point Rick seemed to solo with his left
hand on the moog. Unfortunately the keyboard was too quiet to hear. I will have
to try and watch out for it again tonight. (Lucky Me!)

The first half ended on "Out There". Erik Jorden was on the spare
keyboard. Lee Pomeroy turned on his bass’s flashing lights. They seemed to be
screening footage from the DVD on the back of the stage but again I struggled
to see this.

This version of "Out There" was completely instrumental. Rick mainly
tripleted on most of the lead vocal areas but Ant took over lead vocal on his
guitar for quiet section.

I have to say that by the point I was wondering about the crowd. It was not
as big as it could be which is a shame. I did get a poster pack but I am in
an area without a local date as such so my efforts were limited. I am also rather
shy so it took me all my courage to even ask about putting a poster in the local
Virgin. It didn’t help they didn’t have any obvious place to put it. But the
manager did take one and it got easier for me. I hope this promotion worked
better in other towns.

Back to the crowd not only was the place perhaps only 2/3rd full but the crowd
seemed dazed or engrossed. I couldn’t decide. They certainly seemed quiet. Although
they applauded as usual there seemed to be no atmosphere. I was also amazed
at the end when no one seemed to wait for Rick’s autograph. Perhaps I was in
the wrong place.

There was a 20 min interval and then Tony started off the 2nd half. This time
his opening drums were for White Rock. Yippee. I have to say it seemed a little
sluggish compared to how I remember it and didn’t seem to have the impact I
expected for it. The back projection was of the "White Rock" official
Olympic film, which was nice. It was the Toboggan section for those that don’t
know.

White Rock went into "Searching For Gold" for a couple of phrases.
Ant and Lee then left and were shortly followed by Rick. That left Tony doing
his Drum solo. I thought that was strange timing for a drum solo really and
it was quite long. Maria is more into drums than me but I haven’t remembered
to ask what she thought yet. Tony had three DDrums in his kit as well as normal
acoustic ones.

The lighting for the solo was very good unless you hate strobes!

This again merged into the next song, which was King Arthur. Something was
really tickling the band in this one. Ashley seemed to have a problem with his
mic at one point but I couldn’t decide if he was just putting it on for the
bands amusement.

"Dance Of A Thousand Lights" was next with nice lighting. They used
white lights on a mirror ball and Purple light on Rick over on his pretend Piano.
They also had various projections going on.

I think "Cathedral of Sound" was next although my notes are poor at this point.
Rick had introduced this using Ashley’s mic and he attempted to really tighten
the Mic for his tall height. When Ashley returned he struggled to undo it or
at least that was the gag they decided to perform.

Erik was back on Choir for this one and Ashley sang it. Again I have to say
this sounded more suitable for his voice than it does for Damian’s on the CD.
It sounded very No Earthly Connection. Having said this Ashley was not perfect
on the song. Actually as he got to end of the lyrics he was pretending to shoot
his lyric sheet and giving Rick "you B******" looks.

At one point Ashley conducted Erik on the Choir, which creased up Rick. Then
at another he went into boxer mode because the beat felt a bit like the Rocky
theme tune.

There was a full band intro by Rick at this point. Ashley had actually done
one a bit earlier but it wasn’t as comprehensive.

To end the set they did "Merlin The Magician" with Ashley on the vocals that
were never on the original. Rick did a Keytar solo and went into the crowd as
usual. He sat behind one bloke and he didn’t even turn round to see. I just
don’t understand some audiences. Rick picked a lady to go on stage and for once
it was one that didn’t seem to be too worried. Unfortunately Rick didn’t get
the Keytar into Piano mode at the right point so he had to run into his main
kit and find the quickest Piano sound he could get.

The encore was "Starship Trooper" with Ashley on vocals. During the
first "Time Can Remember" section he seemed to lose it completely
and Lee started helping him out. On later ones I wondered if he had it correct
but for once the vocal mix was too quiet. Ashley certainly took the section
at a deeper pitch than normal.

Lee took a solo at the start of Wurm. I then noticed Erik and Stuart Stanway
had joined in. Ashley was again highly playful during the Wurm section. When
Ant was out in the crowd doing his bit Ashley decide to pretend to play one
of his other guitars. Then once Ant was back he pretended to play Rick’s other
moog.

The show ended with the end of "Out There" being played on CD. It might be
a different track and I have it down wrong.

Overall an excellent night and the best production I have seen with Rick. I
think Damian has kind of shot himself in the foot by walking out on the tour,
as the show is probably better with Ashley. Having said this I know Ashley is
not everyone’s cup of tea and he does occasionally miss notes. He does have
a lot of power though and I think this is what Rick’s songs need. I don’t think
he will ever replace Jon Anderson in Yes though if Startship Trooper is anything
to go by.

I feel very disappointed that the crowd in Felixstowe wasn’t what it could
be. I wonder if all the one-man shows have had an effect. Certainly there have
been bigger audiences there for Rick. I also wonder if playing Colchester tonight
is a bad move. We often joke about bad routing of tours but it does make sure
audiences don’t overlap. I have a spare ticket for tonight as Maria’s daughter
originally wanted to go but has changed her mind. I tried giving it to a friend’s
dad at the gig last night but he doesn’t feel he can get out for another night
on the trot. If tours crisscross the country and come back to an area at least
people have a bit more time to save for a ticket and are not quite such a burden
on resources such as babysitters.

Rick Wakeman – Leisure World, Colchester – 22 Apr 2003

I didn’t make notes for this one and I didn’t get round to writing up while
I could still remember. The main things I remember are the intro lighting sequence
didn’t work for the Return Overture and there were a couple of other lighting
problems during the night. I of course was able to see which jokes were pre-planned
for each gig and which were genuine. Tonight Ashley "pretended" to
play Ant’s guitar but didn’t go into Rick’s keyboard area. He had more room
on stage tonight so he tended to give Lee a bit more company.

In the 2nd half Rick appeared in a cape. He didn’t do this the first night.

This was the first time one of our children had gone to a gig with us. Liam
really enjoyed the show and is trying to talk us into taking him again. He was
too shy to go and talk to Rick so Rick kindly went and talked to Liam. Tony
Fernandez joined in and they had a chat about Football. Actually Rick was discussing
football after the gig the night before at Felixstowe too. He is clearly still
mad on it.

Leisure World was not full to capacity. The was a lot of space on the side
but I have to say it was probably as full as I have seen it for any Rick gig
and they were a much more responsive audience.

Rick Wakeman – Cliffs Pavilion Southend On Sea – 19
May 2003

This was my third date of the tour and we were really looking forward to it.
We weren’t to be disappointed this was the best show we had seen for several
reasons. It was a good omen, when the pre-show announcement about Damian being
replaced by Ashley was made, the crowd actually cheered.

I could be wrong but Ant’s hair seemed longer than at the last gig. Rick’s
looked a bit lank.

Rick wore different stage clothes tonight. He wore shimmery gold cape and white
under suite for the first half tonight. This certainly goes down well with old
fans of Rick. Growing his hair and wearing capes seems to be showing Rick is
trying to play to the audience. Sadly I believe the audiences won’t be enough
for the tour to break even. This is really disappointing but then the posters
were not over strong on pushing the fact it was Rick and a band. I guess fans
not liking a one man show might have not bothered this time. It amazes me the
number people asking the merchandise stand what band Rick used to play with.
I checked why the person next to me was at the gig. He apparently tends to go
to most 60’s gig. I am not sure what made him go to Rick but he knew he was
funny. At the end of the first half I asked how it was for him and he commented
"he doesn’t do short pieces does he?!" but he did seem to think it
OK.

The camera on the keyboard was on a wider setting tonight so both of Rick’s
main keyboards when on the moog could be seen well. The screen seemed higher
up above the band tonight so I was able to see the projections better than on
the previous nights.

Sometimes the projections were lost slightly in the lighting. Also I noticed
on "Starship Trooper" they had a really poor slowing down of the screen rate
switched on making it a little pointless watching it.

I couldn’t decide tonight if there was some new lighting. There were some half
circle lighting effects on the on background which seemed new to me.

Rick was still in good spirits. He really started having fun in No Earthly
Connection.

I get the impression Lee is one of the catalysts for the fun making on stage.
He always seems to be happy, smiling and looking for an opportunity to interact
with the others.

Tony seemed to throw in an extra few drum beats on his d-drums during No Earthly
Connection and this had Rick really laughing.

Another thing I noticed this time was Ashley was the one controlling the end
of the song. In the past everyone seems to have taken their cue from Rick.

During "Catherine Parr" Rick seemed to adjust the sound on his Rick’s Left
hand keyboard via the Moog on his left. Is it likely that the Moog would be
controlling the sound of another keyboard too?

An example of Lee looking for fun was during this song he went up to Rick’s
rig and seemed to egg him on for his solo run’s. Rick was finding it amusing.
Lee was also the screen as well as the Rick in person.

Actually I noticed during this that video frame rate was not keeping up with
Rick’s fingers. I don’t think it was a special effect just that it wasn’t the
normal rate we are used to watching.

I hadn’t noticed before but Ant is a bit of a face puller when soloing so he
clearly feels what he is playing.

During "Out There" I got the impression we were seeing new animations.
I guess it is possible I just didn’t remember them all but I had noticed the
clips were being repeated a lot at previous gigs.

Ashley is now singing on "Out There" but he is not taking the same
vocal lines. He has had to adjust it to suit his style and range more. Rick
still seemed to enjoy it though and was visibly singing along.

I also got the impression there were more sound effects being playing during
this song now. To be honest I am a little baffled at the choice of "Out
There" as a closer for the set. I guess I am just not keen on the song.
I think I preferred it instrumental to with vocals on CD or live.

For the 2nd half Rick returned in a black suit under the cape he wore in the
2nd half at Colchester.

In "White Rock" I noticed Rick was watching the film projection as he played.
I haven’t noticed him take any notice of it before. This venue was by far the
best for seeing the projections so perhaps Rick had watched it before but it
wasn’t noticeable. Given Rick plays music while visualising images I wonder
if watching the film would be a help or hindrance to his playing.

With exception of the two new songs Ashley is now singing to the audience rather
than Lee and the music stand.

Ashley now sounds pretty good throughout "Cathedral Of The Sky".  This song
got a really good crowd reaction too!

During Rick’s walkabout with the keytar Rick grabbed a drink while soloing
away. The lady he chose as a keyboard stand tonight also got the hang of it
straight off and this seemed to give Rick more time to solo and show off.

To my amazement Rick got a half audience standing ovation at the end of the
main set. It is amazing how audiences in different areas react differently.

In my notes I have it written down that for the encore Rick was back to his
first cape. As it has taken me a week to finish writing this review and I am
completely blank on weather this was the case or not. I am certainly surprised
to read it.

Lee didn’t turn on the flashing lights on his base tonight. I wonder why?

Ashley was also a lot better on Starship Trooper tonight. In fact he didn’t
have his music stand on stage at all for the encore.

There was a new feature for Wurm. Ash is now bought a guitar case on stage
from this he gets a blow up guitar. While Ant is out in the audience Ash is
really having fun on stage.

When Ant came back Ash went into Rick’s rig again but the time Rick was prepared
for him. He had collected a blow up hammer from behind his kit at the start
of Wurm. As he soloed perfectly he was bashing Ashley on the head with it.

During Ant’s Wurm solo I got the impression it sounded a lot like Trevor Rabin’s
arrangement on a 90125 Yes show that was shown on the BBC.

The band got a full standing ovation for this song. It was really nice to be
in such an appreciative audience.

After the show we hung around as usual. Rick was longer than normal coming
out and one lady got quiet snappy with Mike Holden on merchandising because
he said Rick normally comes out after about "ten minutes and it was now 16minutes!"

I grabbed a word with Ant and he said how he was really enjoying the tour and
he felt like a had found the real Ant again after the traumas of last year.
I was really pleased to hear it.

Rick Wakeman – Fernham Hall, Fareham – 29 May 2003

I am not sure what my write up of this one will be like as I have seen a 2nd
gig since then. We were not booked to see any more Rick shows but Liam had really
enjoyed the show he had seen. With it being half term there was no reason why
my daughters could not come either. They had fancied it before I booked Liam
to see a show with us but their mum had booked them tickets for Westlife and
S Club for their birthday’s and things didn’t work out.

We originally eyed up Peterbough as the gig to go to as an extra but at Southend
Mike had mentioned the tour would be filmed at Fareham. We thought therefore
it might be nice for the children to see a gig that would later be released.
Unfortunately the venue was switched but never mind.

Fernham Hall is a nice little theatre and had sold pretty well. It had some
flat seating and some tiered seating. People tended to go for the tiers so the
side seats at the front were empty and we got third row seats on the right hand
side. Our view was slightly restricted but I got a different perspective on
the show which was nice.

Something looked different about Ant’s hair tonight so I wondered if he had
had a haircut. I guess I will have to wait for my photos to return.

Mike Holden was sounding extremely tired on the merchandise stall tonight.
You could certainly tell it was the end of a long tour. Malcolm didn’t seem
too unhappy but we didn’t really bother anyone tonight.

We meet up with Marc Harry and his family which was nice and then the children
were desperate to get to their seats so we went in and waited.

Ashley came on stage in a lively Hawaiian shirt tonight. And Rick’s hair was
in better shape again.

From our position on the right we could see Rick playing his right hand moog
from the front as well as on the screen. This was really nice it also allowed
me to see Rick changing the settings throughout the songs.

At the start of the show we didn’t seem to be able to hear Ant too well. We
were in front of PA which meant we were getting a sound full of Rick, some drum
and vocals but I noticed Ant asking for more on stage too. His amp’s should
normally have swamped us being on the right anyway.

During Journey it was good to see Rick still enjoys the lyrics as much as ever.

I was pleased to see my daughters were really engrossed in the show from the
off.

In "No Earthly Connection" the band seem to have got in the habit of playing
"Statues" when the music is supposed to stop. They were certainly doing it earlier
in the tour and it is still present. I got the impression Rick started his solo
on a different keyboard tonight. Normally in NEC it is the back right one
but this time it was the front left one and then to the back right one. I of
course could just have failed to notice this every other time.

Tony didn’t do the extra drumming in the quiet sections of NEC tonight

Again Ashley was in charge of signalling the start of the last note and the
end of it.

I got the impression there were some extra cymbals in Rick adlib bit of Catherine
Parr.

It was amazing watching Rick’s fingers as he builds up on moog and I was also
surprised at how much sound adjustment Rick does to the Moog.

I have seen "Catherine Parr" many times since I first saw Rick in 1985 and
this is probably the first tour where I have really enjoyed it. All of a sudden
it has just registered with me. It might help that Maria and I enjoy the fast
bit near the start and end of it but I am appreciating Tony and everything about
it a lot more.

For the start of "Out There" Ash went to the back with Rick to watch
the video footage. Rick is definitely watching the video and playing to it on
"Out There". I don’t know if he needs to pick up on some signals in order to
keep in time etc

Lee had his Bass lights turned back on tonight.

It was a good size crowd but I have to say they seemed a bit lethargic again.
I wonder if it is an age thing. I suspect I am still at the lower end of the
majority of the crowd. There are a few youngsters about and one or two children
but the majority of people still seem older than me.

At the end of the first half my youngest Abbie who is 10 wanted to know why
it was "called Rick Wakeman when he doesn’t even sing!" When she saw him after
the show I told her to ask him but I ended up doing it for her. I was curious
to see if he would have an off the cuff remark for her but it was a pretty much
straight forward answer of he didn’t think he should call the band "fat
man from" and I forget where. He then got on to joking about how Ashley
is the "Former Fat Man of Pop" now that he has lost some weight.

Rick’s capes were as per Southend although I doubt he changed in the encore.
I need my photos back again but I have only just sent them off.

He remained  in his white suit all night tonight though.

The Projector here was lower than Southend again. The main way I could tell
was that it was hard to see the lower keyboard freeze frames on White Rock.
They were easy to see at Southend.

I was curious to see what my daughters would make of Tony’s 10 Minute drum
solo. They liked the lights but did find it a bit boring. Maria loved it still
and Liam has wanted to play drums since we first saw Rick.

Having said the crowd were quiet they did seem to react well to the drum solo.

In "Arthur" there was some interest off stage on right. When I asked Ant later
he said the people on the sound desk had been wearing hats and giving scores
at various points during the show.

Being on the right I couldn’t see too much of "Dance of a 1000 lights" but
there was a mirror ball tonight so the lights were nice to watch again.

It was about this time in the gig we started thinking seriously about weather
we could make Peterbourgh the next night. We may never see another UK Rick show
to this standard and the children had heard us wondering about it in the interval
and said they wanted to go again. We just had to worry about the cost and a
babysitter for Becky again. We did try to interest her the next morning but
no she still didn’t want to go despite the glowing reviews from the others.

I really do prefer Ashley singing on "Cathedral of the sky". He really does
a good job on it.

At the start of "Wurm" not only did Rick leave his area to sneak the blow up
hammer in but he went to the piano keyboard and wrapped up Stuart Stanway in
his Cape while playing it.

It was a cracking end of show again and a handful of people did stand up to
give the band an ovation.

Rick Wakeman – The Cresset, Peterborough – 30 May
2003

Well I wait a well over a year to take my daughters to a gig and then I take
them twice in two nights. Poor bank balance!

I can’t remember if I have mentioned this before but and I can’t confirm it
from tonight’s gig but I have seen Lee has a Moog box on the floor and I am
pretty sure it is a set of Bass Pedals.

For this gig we managed to get Row 5 seats on the flat section and this time
on the left. I could not believe how badly these seats were filled again. The
children had no trouble seeing and the view was perfect. The place did seem
fairly full though. To my amazement at the end of the show Wayne came up and
said "Hello".  I was convinced he was avoiding going to any gig I was going
to go to. We have had numerous oppertunies to meet over the years but never
made it. It was good to see he is a real person and not just an e-mail response
🙂

The main thing I noticed from this distance was how much clearer and nicer
the Varilites were. I assume it was the distance and not a change of set up.
They were set to multi beam patterns and really effective.

Tonight’s show was being videoed but I don’t know how good it will be as I
could only spot two camera’s. I didn’t look hard though.

The Cressent is a larger theatre than Fareham and has good facilities in an
out of town location. I will have to remember it for future use.

During "Journey" the keyboard playing projections were a little lost in the
lights. I wonder if the lights needed to be brighter for the filming?

Again the band were playing musical statues in NEC. Rick and Lee were also
bouncing and bopping around together earlier than normal.

I was disappointed to find I still could not see what the sounddesk were doing
that was providing such amusement on stage.

For the first time on the tour I could see Tony behind drum kit. That made
a nice change and I could see how much interaction with the others he gets too.

Throughout the first half I was mucking about playing Abbie’s leg as a keyboard
etc. She loved this and even when I stopped she continued to play the keyboards
on her leg herself. I tried to get Zoe to join in but she wouldn’t have any
of it. I guess at 12 it was not good for her street credibility. I still felt
the fun we were having really made the 2nd night special for me. My dad has
never paid much attention to any music let alone music I would like so it is
a really strange concept to my that my children could enjoy something I love
so much with me.

Rick seemed to be throwing extra moog notes in "Catherine Parr" tonight. I
thought through out the show he seemed to be trying to outplay himself and make
the songs extra special.

I wasn’t quite sure about Ashley’s vocals on "Out There" but perhaps I still
need time to adjust to the new arrangement.

In "White Rock" I was convinced it was a normally a White strobe that was used
as the band came back on for the last minute. Tonight however Multi-coloured
strobe.

During "Starship Trooper" I thought Rick seemed annoyed about something early
on. My impression was that he thought he fluffed something but I didn’t spot
it. Then it seemed like they replayed a section or got something wrong somewhere.
It will be interesting to see if "Starship" gets included in the DVD and a shame
if not.

The night was again excellent and I was really glad to have made an extra show
and to have taken the children to it. They really loved it and have talked about
the experience a lot. After the show they wanted things signed again. Rick had
promised Zoe a new pen the night before because he had used her’s for signing.
Little did he know she would say she was going the next night though. As it
happened he didn’t give her a pen but he remembered his promise and apologised
to her.

There has been a cameraman at all the aftershow signings. I have no idea why
he needed so much material. Anyway Liam was desperate to be filmed and deliberately
trying to walk into shots etc not realising how bad it looked. However the cameraman
noticed when I asked Tony to give Liam a tip on how to start as a drummer and
Liam was then videoed having a lesson and being given some of Tony’s sticks
(signed of course).

I think the camera man comment to us that people wouldn’t believe we were in
different locations because we had been to so many after session signings. That
gave Maria chance to mention how desperately Liam wanted to make the DVD. He
then suggested that Zoe, Abbie and Liam do a little sketch. Liam had to
say "I want to play Drums like Tony Fernandez". Abbie "I want
to play keyboards like Rick Wakeman" and Zoe "I want to get drunk
like Ash". They had several takes at it. It will be interesting to see
if they do manage to make the DVD at all.

Regardless they were all buzzing about it and chuffed to bits.

I was also amused when Ant gave Abbie a kiss goodbye. The look on her face
was a picture. She really looked starstuck. What a shame I didn’t get it on
film.

I would hate to think this was the last time we saw the band playing together
but if it was it was great to have managed so many dates and to have taken the
children along and for them to have enjoyed it.

Zoe and Abbie have even taken a Rick Wakeman video home to watch. I am stunned.
Having said that I showed them a clip from Melbourne 1975 and they thought it
dreadful and really laughed when they saw Rick and especially Ashley. They much
preferred the current band DVD.

ick Wakeman and Mario Fasciano – Black Knights At The Court Of Ferdinand IV

E Vuje’ (And You) – This is almost Ocean City’s Rhythm. Rick is using his 80’s
moog substitute and a fair bit in this track. The backing in quiet parts is
like "The meeting" from AWBH I think. Again the sound I can’t name
but used only on these albums and therefore I feel Italian sounding

Favola (Fable) – Guitar and keys on this. Usually for Rick it is regular Hard
Rock Guitar. It is quiet a mellow track at times with Rick using Breath sounds.
Percussion and bass sound programmed to me. So nice little breaks in this. Might
be my favourite. I don’t think there was any Base on Stella.

Umberto II – That sound is bugging be what is it? It’s very staccato on long
notes. An instrumental I like it a lot today. I think I was less keen on it
reviewed in Isolation

Umbe’ (Humbert?) – Ah no this was Track of the Week and I wished it was the
other track as this is just plain’ and less interesting

Tommaso Aniello (A revolution leader in Naples) – Again a very nice track.
Drums sound programmed but I don’t care. Lots of atmosphere in the backing instruments
and original hence my mental link to Robinson Crusoue being stuck on a foreign
island (The book I was reading when this disk was new)

Fradiavolo (Fra’diavolo was a bandit) – This has a very lively start and again
is a great track.

Farfarie – A speedy Instrumental. Lots of Bass. Excellent

‘O Bilanco (The Balance) – This is a quiet track with lots of atmospherics
from Rick.

When Rick first talked about more work with Mario it was for bonus tracks on
a reissue on Black Knight. Both disks are short by today’s standards and would
fit a disk. They are very similar in many ways but the instrumentation shows
their era well.

After I had digested Stella I went back to Knight and was disappointed. Today
I am edging the other way because Knight was a band product. I am only edging
though because Stella is an excellent Rick Showcase.’ I think that is why I
was disappointed by Black Knight it doesn’t give me such a buzz. Stella is probably
my favourite release by him since No Expense spared I loved it from the first
play of the first song. I like his recent stuff but not as much as the late
80’s/early 90’s releases. I think this is perhaps more Melodic whereas some
of the rock instrumentals lately seem disjointed or colder emotionally. They
are interesting and fast and whatever but I can’t quite get into them.

Rick Wakeman and Mario Fasciano – Stella Bianco

Stella Bianco(White Star) – This has a medieval beat to it. Rick solos on Moog
type sounds a couple of times. These is as a sound I don’t know how to described
perhaps bells or guitar done on keyboard

A quatte mane (At Four Hands) – My favourite track for some reason. It uses
the Wakeman with Wakeman sound. Has a speaking part from Rick. Ah yes it’s because
the solo breaks are very long and the verses jolly.

‘O Core (The Heart) – The is guitar in this one. I can’t see who by. Again
extensive Rick solos. Again 90’s in style. Adam did the arrangements (Rick was
ill) for the album. I wonder what his contribution is on the end result.

Ariel – Sometimes Mario sounds like a drum machine but surely he isn’t. There
is a slowing down at the end so I don’t know.

Aria di te (Air of you) – This is a piano acoustic guitar piece and very soft.
Doesn’t do a great amount but is pleasant enough

Romance Napoli – This is very much in the mode of Children of Chernobyl from
No Expense spared. A very nice instrumental it still has the Black Knight feel
to it with the keyboard sound I can’t put a finger on.

Sologoccia (Only Drop) – Start reminds me of something from Softsword. Back
into extended Rick solo. it has to be said I can’t relate to the English version
of the lyrics

Carcere ‘e San Francisco (San Francisco’s Prison) – This is really Ocean City
from Time Machine. It has new Neapolitan verses and a lady (Aza) singing the
Ocean city chorus in English. I thought the backing track was probably the same
but perhaps "Black knight"ed a little. I just compared them though
and I think the backing is the same or slightly remixed or the keyboard voices
slightly changed. I can’t figure out Marios role on this. I always thought Ocean
city was my favourite on time machine and very in keeping with Black Knight.
I think I might prefer having two vocalists though. Actually Custards last stand
is my favourite on Time Machine. After all it has two of my heroes on it and
Roy Wood’s voice fits.

Rick Wakeman – Return To The Centre Of The Earth

We have had lots of initial impression but no one has really given a view after
a lot of listens. So I will give mine to start us off (I hope). I was going
to do a full review but since I don’t normally do a track by track review when
I get a new Rick album I think it would be unfair this time.

I get the impression this is a good album but not a great one. I think it is
likely to end up in my top 20 Wakeman album.’ But only around there. I spent
some time listening to King Arthur, I can hear you (Both favourites) and Themes
(a good but more middling album) last night because I was struggling to hear
why the album is not getting me like it should. I think I now know. Rick’s involvement
in the album is more of a musical director and writer than a player. It is almost
like he has made guest appearances on his own album. On Arthur you are aware
that Rick is about on the album all the way through. On return it seem to be
the orchestra more than Rick I can hear. If he is playing through out he is
too low in the mix or he is using Orchestral sounding settings. On a normal
Rick album you normally are aware of Ricks playing through out. On this one
it is little patches. It does not make the album bad but it does not make it
a great album for me either.

I suspect the orchestration is different from the type used on Arthur. On that
I felt the was a lot to listen to the further you listened in. I think this
time the orchestra is playing more in unison. I think Rick does a good job with
the Orchestra throughout but it seems slightly different.

I played the Narration tracks on there own and they work really well (Mind
you I did notice my main two cd players work differently. One gives the first
1/2 beat of the next track (in a couple of places) before moving to the next
narration). There is a line in 17b that really annoys me "for inexplicable
reasons beyond their understanding" seems to me to trying to sound clever
while saying the same thing twice. I am surprised it got through to the album.
Perhaps my poor English abilities are showing me up here, I don’t know.

The musical accompaniment to the narration really works well. Although I am
still naturally view them as interruptions to the real meat of the album. I
guess because I am more inclined to faster or more active tracks.

I had a look at all the CD shops in town yesterday and Rick was on display
in the chart section of them all. Perhaps except Virgin. I could not see where
there stuff was and it was to busy to take my scooter to far inside. Since I
pay 12 pounds maximum for any full price album I was horrified at the price
they are selling the album for. I would have thought chart albums would be cheaper
but it was still 14ukp in the cheapest shop I noticed. I must have seen a good
30 copies of the album available so people in Ipswich should not have trouble
getting it and EMI have done a good job of selling it in.

So how is it going with other people that have played it a lot?

Rick Wakeman – Aspirant Sunset

These discs were one of my last choices. I tend to prefer hard rock and Moog
solos. But these discs have had a bigger place in my collection than I expected.
I have to confess Sunrise somehow grabs my attention as being a favourite but
someone already has a review on the Rick Wakeman
site for that so I am writting this one. I think I then prefer Sunset but to
be honest they are all pretty similar to me. Go on why not give one a go. They
provide a great atmosphere for massaging your partner too.

Rick Wakeman – Two Sides Of Yes

This disc has slipped out without a mention from Rick or his website. The first
I heard of it was on a Classic Rock Legends Catalogue. It is now also making
advertising in main Magazines. Wondrous Stories normally seem to be ahead of
the rest with their adverts and it is currently on their back page. I guess
advertising will follow elsewhere which will make a nice change for a Rick album.

So what is the disc? Well it is a bit of an oddball really. In 1993 Rick released
‘Greatest Hits’ on which he reworked himself and 7 Yes tracks. Rick hit financial
trouble in the late 1990’s and I believe he had to sell the rights to all his
work prior to about 1997. So Greatest Hits went to a new label. Now it seems
Classic Rock Legends own the rights to the disc or at least 3 of the tracks.
This disc contains 7 tracks and four recently recorded Piano versions ‘Your
Move’, ‘Long Distance’, ‘Close To The Edge’, and ‘The Meeting’, which alternate
with ‘Wondrous Stories’, ‘Don’t Kill The Whale’ and ‘Roundabout’ from ‘Greatest
Hits’. Rick in 1993 was working with Tony Fernandez on Drums and Alan Thompson
on Bass.

I have to confess over the years I haven’t played ‘Greatest Hits’ too much
as in 1993 Rick discovered a setting whereby if he holds a note for a while
it changes tone or pitch at the end. I thought it OK on the ‘Wakeman with Wakeman’
album but I got really fed up with it when he used it again on ‘Greatest Hits’.
I do play the Wakeman plays Wakeman half of the disc from time to time but I
almost never play the Wakeman plays Yes disc as to be honest I found the versions
over long and repetitive.

I am not good at listening to albums where I hear a mix of old and new so I
will review the ‘Greatest Hits’ tracks first.

‘Wondrous Stories’ – When I first heard this version I was disappointed that
the part Rick played on the Yes version is missing to my ears. Rick was the
star of the Yes track to me so I particularly wanted to hear his part. Never
mind though, I am now used to this version and think it is one of the better
arrangements. There is some nice probably fretless bass work from Alan on this.
I am not 100% certain Tony Fernandez actually plays on all Yes tracks. It sounds
like computer drums to me but then Tony can sound like clockwork live to. I
think it is just his style. Rick starts with a flute like voice for the vocal
line. There is also a sound I recognise from ‘Children of Chernobyl’ used in
the Chorus. As I say there is no attempt at Rick’s Chorus lines on this version.
For the 2nd version Rick switches to the voice, which changes at the end. It
is then back to the flute like lead. The backing arrangements are quite complex
but I find myself listening to the lead alone and with the drums it feels a
cheap arrangement. I like the next voice Rick uses then it is back to a milder
version of the sound I am not keen on to finish.

‘Don’t Kill The Whale’ is straight in with "the" voice. Then onto
a pipes type one for the chorus. I like the style of Rick’s playing just not
the settings. Alan is slightly less noticeable on this track. Rick basically
swaps voices back and forth in a kind of dual. At four minutes this track is
quite variable and about the right length for me.

‘Roundabout’ is sadly the track I liked least. The original Yes version is
fine but at 13 minutes with Rick almost alone I find this goes on too long.
The intro is fine and then we get a moog type sound on the main line and some
nice extra voices in the chorus. At the 3 minute mark we have already started
the third set of Moog. We do then get a break and I am certain Tony is really
playing on this track. This section is rather good actually. Alan is just basic
bass playing on this I think. By 7mins we have got to organ type break and I
am now thinking my memory has been way to hard on this song. This is probably
the best of the three tracks on this album. It is a lot less repetitive than
the other tracks and Rick is ad-libbing and having fun. Towards 10mins he starts
with "the voice" again. Then 10.45 it is back to the moog from the
start.

Ok so that’s the bits I am less keen on over and done with. I have been a bit
harsh on them with my memory but I still don’t particularly want to listen to
them again and I find it extremely annoying that we go for acoustic Piano tracks
to old familiar tracks with drums that either are computerised or very close
to it. I have a feeling Rick had Tony using an Electric kit back in those days
too.

Now to the new Piano tracks and the reason I ordered the disc: –

Your Move is 7 and half minutes long. It’s clever of them not to call it "I’ve
Seen All Good People" as I really hate that one live. In the opening few
bars I couldn’t recognise the song but once I do I still enjoy it. Not everyone
likes Rick on Piano alone but this is where his excellence really shows. There
seems to be so many extra notes or Rickism thrown in. The arrangements seem
so much better developed than the’ 93 ones. I can’t decide if the ‘Seen Good
People’ section is in this version or not. The last three minutes seems almost
new to me. They have certainly been changed well even if I recognise a few of
the lines vaguely. I really like this track. Mmm that’s annoying I can no longer
claim to hate "I’ve Seen All Good people" just Yes’ version of it
😉

‘Long Distance Runaround’ is again about 7 minutes and is very busy for a one
person piano performance. Rick’s left hand starts with a good bass line. I see
the sleeve notes say some of these songs are Piano Duets. This must be one of
them. I have never heard Rick attempt a Piano Duet before. This works really
well. I would like to hear a lot more.

Close To The Edge is also done in 7 and 1/2 minutes. I think this is the most
fascinating piece to hear. Close To The Edge with Yes was 18 mins plus and seems
a daunting task to convert down to just one or two pianos. Rick has done it
beautifully though. It starts off very classically sounding. It’s not until
100secs in I know for sure the part Rick is in. I recognise phrases before but
not the whole section.

The Meeting has appeared in a Piano arrangement on a Rick CD before. Rick performed
it live at Costa Mesa, California and it was subsequently released as ‘The Piano
album’. That version was only short though as Rick chose to combine it with
‘And You And I’. On this CD we get a four minute version. Again it is a great
piece beautifully performed but it is less essential for fans with most of Rick’s
catalogue.

This disc is supposed to be the first of a new series releases. I hope that
means by Rick. As can be seen from my comments above I have very mixed feelings
about this disc. Given the marketing I know Classic Rock Legends will give it,
I wish it had been all new material. The piano only stuff is stunning and deserves
a couple of extra tracks and a full release on it’s on. To me the 93 arrangements
and the drums especially are just not up to the same standard. They are too
simple and Rick’s fingers aren’t flying as much. I am worried that fans won’t
buy this because they have the 93 album. If they don’t it might then put Classic
Rock Legends off Rick. I hope not, he needs a break and this is Rick’s best
opportunity since ‘Return To The Centre Of The Earth’. Classic Rock Legends
are a great label who are out to promote good music and have the money to do
so. If Rick can produce the goods I am sure he will do really well with them.
Hopefully the average buyer will like the 93 stuff more than me and the album
will work for them, fingers crossed. I am baffled that Rick made no comment
on this new album in his Christmas newsletter. He mentions a ‘Classical Variations’
album, which is in the same style and annoyingly is out at the same time.

Rick Wakeman – Themes

I am bored so I thought I would do the review even though I am not completely
sure what I think yet.

Fanfare – This is a track very much in the Wakeman with Wakeman mould. It is
OK but nothing special to me so far.

Bassolla – This is rather an inverted song to me. It has a bouncy Bassey keyboard
riff up front. This is rather repetitive. In the background are the higher and
more changeable parts. I quite like this one but I am not sure if I will get
bored of it.

Nothing Left to Say – This is a nice Piano Piece

Latin Cycle – This as the title suggests has a latin feel to it and could easily
be from Gole to my ears.

Ambient Loop – I guess the title sort of describe this one. It is not like
the Ambient stuff as it has more pace. It is a very nice track.

Without Love – This is undoubtedly my favourite track on the album. Rick said
in 1983 on his GasTank TV Series that he writes from Emotion. I think this helps
show it. Despite not being a great Lyricist Rick has written quite a few love
songs and in general I think they are pretty good. Frazer Thorneycroft-Smith
is the singer on this track which caught me out for the first few plays as I
was expecting Chrissie Hammond and it is sung the way she would do it. In fact
Chrissie is in the background. I don’t know why Rick Wanted to use Frazer as
like Adam I don’t think he is a very good singer. But the vocals and Ricks Melody
line really work well for me on this.

Section Seven – I guess this track is like something of Cirque Surreal. The
guitar is much more conventional though. The sound Rick is using is Similar
to that on Light up the Sky I think. The track is OK.

Hall of Fame – This one has an orchestrated feel to it that reminds me of Curved
Air’s Exsultate Jubilate. The is a lot of atmosphere stuff at the start of the
song which is not music to me as such. I would like to see a whole album tackled
in this style.

On Our Way – Mmm I suspect this is the Song Rick may have planned to use for
the Intro of Linkers Golden boots. It is very Pop like, I guess in a similar
way to Light up the Sky was but Rick does very little of interest on this and
I am not that keen on the lyrics which are sung by Chrissie.

Forever And Ever – An atmospheric start with Frazer on guitar progresses into
a JiggaJig sounding Keyboard from Rick and then to piano.

Freefall – I need to listen to this one more. I think it might will grow on
me but at present I am convinced there is a problem with the mix or the recording.
There is about three minutes of instrumental before the vocals by Chrissie start.
But the vocals are the problem. The are either too far back in the Mix or they
are recorded badly. They certainly lack clarity and it is as though they are
a demo or something. This is most’ disappointing.

As I say I think the track overall is quite good but I have not really started
enjoying it yet because of this perceived problem.

Overall I don’t think it is an outstanding album but I suspect I will be placing
it in the Top 30 Wakeman albums along with the likes of Tribute.

I look forward to hearing others views on Freefall.

Gole and Hero – Soundtracks By Rick Wakeman

I have just spent the Last two days watching German Language Versions of Gole
and The Hero.

It was interesting to see that Gole has a few bits of Extra Music. I think
mainly because they were not long enough. Or my Memory is it’s usual bad self
and I am wrong.

The Gole World Cup ie 82 appears to have been about Fouls. The 86 one Hero
about Maradona. The Music for Gole seemed Latin flavoured but was on decent
keyboards (wasn’t Matt or Eduardo?) whereas the Hero seemed to be more Ryhmn/Pucussion
orientated and I guess more fitting as soundtrack music since I kept forgetting
to listen to it. It seemed less remarkable certainly. I can see why it was not
an album (to my knowledge).

Curiously the film ended on what must be a definite attempt by Rick at a Pop
single. A song called "Special Kind of Hero" sung by Stephanie Lawrence
(who is she?) There was lots of echo on her voice and I guess on first listen
it was OK. Somewhat in the Ill of Moonlight Shadow given my limited knowledge
of Female singers/music. Was it ever released?

I did not think much of Gole when i got it on tape some year back. Perhaps
because the B’side was Rhapsodies. Anyway I have played it more this year and
I find it to be quite good now

The Making Of Surreal State Circus – Rick Wakman – Video

My copy of this video came today and I guess it was much as I had expected
it to be hence the reason for having delayed buying it for so long.

It is a kind of homemade production. Certainly not normal Tv Standards. And
the sounds include from Rick are of very poor quality. I mean in the recording
not performance. I think most of them must have been live performances recorded
atmospherically from the Circus PA.

It was quite boring for the first 20 minutes or so but then there was more
talk from Rick and the Circus was taking shape and you could see what was going
on.

I am not sure of the Purpose of Making the video. I guess it was as a Souvenir
of the Event. I wish it had been a recording of the whole circus performance.

There was some excepts of Music that I did not seem to recognise so my memory
is faulty or it was not all included on the CD. If that was the case it would
definitely have been good to see the whole performance on Video.

I had been tempted to go and see the circus but I don’t think my family circumstances
at the time permitted it. I would definitely go now.

Do I recommend the video? It was certainly interesting to watch. I think I
would recommend you get it only when you have money to burn and have all other
Rick Videos. I guess I would put it on a par to videos of Listomania and She.

It was also interesting that there was no sign of Chrissy Hammond at the circus
which makes me wonder why Rick used her on the CD.’