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Rick Wakeman - Made In Cuba (DVD) CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

4.02 | 14 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Wakeman the magician

The live performance presented here is admittedly not one of perfection, but it is, however, a presentation of perfect band chemistry, great passion for music and immense instrumental skills of all involved. These things count for more than mechanical perfection in my book. The picture quality is great, the sound quality is great, the set list is fantastic, the band brilliant and the performance is simply amazing! Both the audience and the band are having a great time here and that feeling spreads to the viewer/listener at home.

With many timeless classics performed, often in new and interesting arrangements, this live concert video should appeal both to beginners and to hard core fans. Rick's very best albums are all represented with cuts from The Six Wives Of Henry VIII, The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur, No Earthly Connection and Out There all making the set list. Plus, an excellent, condensed, new version of Journey To the Centre Of The Earth, that easily surpasses its original recording in my opinion! The sometimes annoying narration in the original version is here removed and more space is left for instrumental workouts. Yes is also represented with an exhilarating version of Starship Trooper, incorporating snippets of Heart Of The Sunrise!

The vocalist here is none other than Ashley Holt, the original vocalist on such albums as Journey To Centre Of The Earth, King Arthur and No Earthly Connection and many others. He has still got an excellent set of pipes! The rest of the band are amazing and all members do extended solos. Rick is a very 'democratic' leader of the band here and he does not need to be at the centre of attention all the time. This creates a strong band feeling and the musical atmosphere benefits greatly from this. The bass guitar solos from Lee Pomeroy are especielly brilliant and new drummer Ashley Soan does a great performance despite being recruited only a short time before this concert. The guitarist is hardly a Steve Howe, but there are a few passages when he truly shines.

The imperfections I mentioned at the start of this review occurs mainly when Rick's Moog synthesiser runs amok and goes out of tune here and there. There are also a few minor mistakes in the performance, most notably by the old guys, namely Rick himself and vocalist Ashley Holt. Holt did not have the chance to rehearse the material on which he was not the original vocalist. But these small mistakes do no ruin my overall impression of the show as a vey good one. For the most part they get it right completely and all band members have their moments of utter brilliance. Despite not being perfect, Made In Cuba is still the best Rick Wakeman concert film I have (and as far as I know I have them all)!

If all you know from Rick Wakeman is his early albums, this DVD will surprise you as it rocks harder than you probably can imagine! It brings together some of Rick's very best songs and presents them in a new fresh way, the conclusion can only be that this DVD is both an excellent place to start if you want to discover Wakeman's solo career and an essential purchase for his most devoted fans. However, as I have mentioned there are some mistakes and technical problems. Therefore, I cannot give the highest rating. There is a live album called Out Of The Blue that is even better than this as it doesn't suffer from such imperfections.

As a bonus, there is an insightful interview with Rick that adds great value as well with very interesting and sympathetic views on the relation between politics and music among other things.

Highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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