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Oliver Wakeman - Coming To Town - Live In Katowice (DVD) CD (album) cover


Oliver Wakeman


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3.36 | 4 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Mother's Ruin live

This live concert was recorded and filmed in Poland in October 2007 and features Oliver Wakeman and his band. The set list relies heavily on Oliver's most recent Mother's Ruin album with no less than eight out of nine songs from that album being performed here. But we also get five songs from Oliver's collaborations with Clive Nolan with four of them from Jabberwocky and one from Hound Of The Baskerville. Perhaps surprisingly, we get nothing at all from the all instrumental album Oliver did with Steve Howe called 3 Ages Of Magic which in my opinion is his best effort. But maybe is would be hard to perform those pieces without Howe. Anyway, what we get here is appealing and I think that this DVD is a great way to get acquainted with both Mother's Ruin and Jabberwocky. Indeed, I think that the songs here sound invigorated and improved compared to their original studio versions. Jabberwocky suffered from having different vocalists on different tracks making it a bit incoherent and also some distracting narration by Oliver's famous father (who is a great narrator, but as with all narration on musical albums I tend to get tired of it after the first listen).

The set is varied, alternating between rockers, ballads and instrumentals to great effect. The band is good with drums, bass, guitars and vocals by Dave Wagstaffe, Paul Brown, David Mark Pearce and Paul Manzi respectively. Needless to say, the keyboards are all handled by Oliver himself. For those who are new to Oliver's music it should be pointed out that he has picked up more than a few tricks form his father, but has also developed a personal style from Rick's teachings. The music itself, however, is more melodic Hard Rock than classic Wakeman-esque Symphonic Prog. Though, this is keyboard driven melodic Hard Rock with progressive touches. Oliver thanks his family, Steve Howe, Karl Groom (of Threshold and Shadowland), "the Starcastle guys", Bob Catley (of Magnum) and Clive Nolan among others in the liner notes. These names certainly give some indication about his inspiration. Guitarist David Mark Pearce thanks Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio and others. It is funny that he actually even looks a lot like Yngwie Malmsteen hair, clothes and all!

This is a good live performance captured in high sonic and visual quality. This DVD proves not only that Oliver is a great keyboard player but also that he has gathered a very competent band around him to perform some fine material. It will probably not appeal to all Prog fans, but for those who are interested in Oliver's career this is a fine addition to your collection.

As a bonus feature there is an interview with Oliver.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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