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Rick Wakeman - Rick Wakeman's Grumpy Old Picture Show CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

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3 stars This tour was a bit a of a music/comedy hybrid. Wakeman filled the gaps between each song with more of his amusing anecdotes and rock ramblings, complete with accompanying images. The song selection is a nice blend of significant solo-career tracks, new arrangements, and some purely "fun" inclusions (namely, the 5-note 'See a monkey on a stick', which was the first short tune Rick learnt as a young boy). Having said this, there are moments of duller music which perhaps can only be appreciated with a full familarilty with many of Wakeman's solo outputs. Anything which borders on being indulgent or boring is nicely outweighed though by the intertwined comedy.

Highlights include McCartney's 'Eleanor Rigby' in the style of Prokofiev, which makes for very interesting listening, the 'Six Wives Medley' OF COURSE, and 'Merlin The Magician', which, having not bought the 'Myths and Legends...' album, I was surprised to like first time around. The duel with his latest collaborator Gordon Giltrapp, is also very nice to listen to and watch (Gordon plays with Rick from a pre-recorded video, where three versions of him and his guitar appear on screen playing different parts, along with Rick's piano). 'Starship Trooper' shows potential but is just no match for Yes. But my absolute favourite part is when Wakeman pretends to phone a curry house and order a Tikka Masala mid-song....

So, if you're a fan of solo Wakeman and you like his detailed comedic tales of the music industry as well, then you can do no wrong in buying this fairly recent dvd. Nothing special or particularly original here, but nothing outrightly bad either.

Report this review (#283305)
Posted Monday, May 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rick Wakeman proves that in addition to being a skilful keyboardist he has the talent to be a funny stand up comedian of a very British way. This show of his, as it indeed is, is more of an entertaining nature than a spectacular musical experience. Wakeman also deviates from the typical live setting in that he is the only musician on stage, and rest of the band is featured on a big screen, of course previously recorded. He also has many tracks of himself playing the piano, such as in Judas Iscariot, which is cool and obscure at the same time. Songs that feature his daughter on vocals (An Angel Spoke to Me and Amazing Grace) work much better, and they are both beautiful. Other highlights for me are the ending Six Wives medley, calm new ageish track Sea Horses and rarely heard Birdman of Alcatraz. Rick has some fine moments of interacting with the audience, like when he makes them produce the various bird sounds ('lovely', as they should be) featured on a short part of Birdman. Starship Trooper is also a nice addition to the set, even though it suffers a bit from the band arrangement. Unfortunately there are many weaker songs such as The Jig that feel boring and add nothing in particular to the set. The humor of the cutscenes works most of the time, aside from some maybe too embarrassing moments. Well, at least the man definitely isn't afraid to make fun of himself.
Report this review (#919749)
Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2013 | Review Permalink

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