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Rick Wakeman - Swedish Television Special 1980 CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

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erik neuteboom
4 stars


Rick Wakeman is my 'vintage keyboard hero' since I witnessed the 'caped crusader' in the Yessongs movie on a huge screen in a small youth-centre in my hometown in The Hague around 1976. So when I discovered this new DVD (released in 2008) in a record shop in Amsterdam, I got very excited, also because of the stunning tracklist including 'classic'' tracks like Catherine Parr and Anne Boleyn and medleys of the No Earthly Connection, King Arthur and Journey To The Centre Of The Earth albums. A friend told me that this 1980-tour was the last time Rick Wakeman used a wide range of vintage keyboards, soon he started to play on a huge array of (in my opinion) "boring digital Korg keyboards" because of his endorsement with that Japanese company.

During the concert Rick Wakeman is surrounded by 3 piles of keyboards, ranging from two Minimoogs and a Polymoog to a Prophet 5 synthesizer, a Hammond organ and a Yamaha electric piano. Although the camera work is at some moments a bit sloppy, we can enjoy many good close up images featuring the virtuosic Rick Wakeman on his two Minimoogs (mindblowing flights on Anne Boleyn, King Arthur Medley and Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, especially the fat, Grieg-inspired runs in the final part, goose bumps) and the Polymoog (imagine the synthesizer sound on Wonderous Stories). To me this synthesizer extravaganza belongs to the best keyboard moments in progrock history, how exciting! Also his sparkling play on the pianos is awesome and even the guitar - and bass player got some room, Tony Fernadez does very well on drums, Ashley Holt pleases me with his distinctive, a bit raw voice but in general this DVD is a perfect way to watch Rick Wakeman in full splendor, a big hand for him and his unsurpassed Moog synthesizers!


Report this review (#180789)
Posted Monday, August 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Rock 300" was a televised three hour rock concert celebrating the 300 years jubilee of the Swedish city of Karlskrona in 1980. Sharing the bill were four bands: one Danish band, two of Sweden's biggest mainstream acts, and, oddly enough, RICK WAKEMAN & THE ENGLISH ROCK ENSEMBLE.

Starting the evening is WAKEMAN with his guys, which for some reason are called THE RICK WAKEMAN BAND. Being that the later acts were of mainstream fame, one could think that most of the audience was there to see them, but RICK seems to have quite a few fans in the crowd. Of course, Swedish audiences are generally modest and bad at clapping their hands, but the booing when the presentator announce there are no time for encores shows what the people thought of RICK.

Being a Prog fan and a former citizen of Karlskrona, this DVD is essential for me and so far this year's best buy. I must confess that I'm not a huge WAKEMAN fan, but that only means this serves as a good intro.

All tracks are good, especially the early songs from RICKS first albums gets an interesting reworking with the synth technology of the late 70s/early 80s. In fact, they don't do any songs from his then later albums, the newest track being "No Earthly Connection" from 76. At the end of "Anne Boleyn" they insert a nice birthday song to the city, although it's misspelled as "Happy Birthday Karls Krona" (It should be Karlskrona). The last medley "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" may seem a bit stretched but is actually only 17 minutes long. Overall the DVD is no more than an hour long and the music keep me on my toes all the time with sudden and interesting turns. RICK really is the keyboard wizard!

This offering also includes a regular audio CD. A nice bonus to play in your car for example, or, as I did, listening to while writing this review.

As said, this one is essential if you're from Karlskrona (or once lived there, like me), interesting enough if you're a Swede or like RICK WAKEMAN, and neither is it a bad buy for anyone else.

Report this review (#182528)
Posted Monday, September 15, 2008 | Review Permalink

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