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Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace (DVD) CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.84 | 58 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars Six wives is one of my favourite records of all time. A near perfect keyboard-fest that was both inspired and inspirational. The timeless sounds, the pomp, the audacity. It felt like it belonged to Fragile and Close To The Edge era of Yes-greatness. It still cannot be faulted.

So why then, does this visually stunning DVD, featuring my favourite keyboard album of all time fall so flat for me? Unfortunately it's the very same things that have had me exiled from the court of King Rick for the last twenty years.

His bloody sounds.

Rick is a musical anomaly. A gifted writer and a peerless player who seems to have no taste whatsoever. This gorgeous album, with every song doing exactly a it should is stretched, mercilessly, as if on a rack in Henry's own Tower of London. I have no qualm with extended solos, but some of these are so drab and uninspired... it's hard to believe the same man did them.

Firstly, no Mellotron. A vital component to the sonic landscape of the original LP is entirely gone. Largely negated perhaps by the large choir and orchestra, but just not necessary. I watched the Melbourne 1975 DVD of Journey and saw a true keyboard master with tasteful sounds. Damn that silicon chip.

The next thing is the soloing on horrible modern keyboard patches. When you have a minimoog next to you, this is unforgivable. The extended V-synth solo in Catherine Howard is utterly horrid, goes nowhere and sounds like a cheap techno preset. Replacing or layering the pianos with fantasy pads like a cheap 1980's casio is blasphemous. Jane Seymour comes the closest to replicating the original's atmosphere but still the organs just sound a little too cheesy and digital.

The guitarist's Iommi like shred in the lamentable overture (5 minutes of arpeggios with no direction) is bile-inducing, the new compositions stick out against the old (I don't care what he says, Defender Of The faith is not an old arrangement- it smacks of modern Wakeman, devoid of the melodic and inspirational music that made him my hero in the 1970's.

It's the same reason I hated Retro 2. The arrangements have gone to pot. Shame, as it's a visual tour-de-force.

theinvisibleman | 2/5 |


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