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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

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Symphonic Team
3 stars A royal concert!

As something of a Rick Wakeman fanatic, I own most of his concert videos. Some of his most recent, and also best, include The Legend Live In Concert 2000 (featuring his one man show), Live In Buenos Aires (from 2001, with full band) and Made In Cuba (from 2005, with full band). Now, The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace has arrived and I must say that it fits very nicely into the family of the previously released videos. As indicated by the title, this is a performance of Rick's classic 1973 album Six Wives Of Henry VIII in its entirety and this is a very big performance. There is a narrator, a percussionist, a full orchestra, a choir and a full Rock band!

The core of Rick's band, which is, as usual, called The English Rock Ensemble, is pretty much the same as it was on previous releases; drummer Tony Fernandez is back again and Dave Colquhoun once again plays electric guitars. A new addition is bass player Jonathan Noyce who previously has played with Jethro Tull since the mid 90's, I think. There is also an extra guitarist, who plays acoustic guitars, and Rick's son Adam helps out on extra keyboards. Of course, Rick himself plays an extensive array of different keyboards including a real church organ on Jane Seymour! Needless to say, this is a very massive performance. It is absolutely over-the-top and bombastic, but it is done with humour and charm preventing it from being too overblown and pretentious.

In addition to the six tracks of the original album, there are also three new songs written in the style of the original album, one of which represents King Henry himself and was, according to Rick in the bonus interview, intended to be included on the original album but could not be because of the time restrictions for vinyl records. These new songs fit in very well. The original songs are also expanded a bit with new sections making them possibly even better than they ever were! Rick's performance is flawless and everything works out for the best. No other Wakeman concert I've seen is as near-perfect as the present one. The packaging is also very nice and it comes with a very informative 25 page booklet.

On the negative side, I do think that the narration, even though it is very good and interesting the first couple of times, will tend to get boring after repeated listens. There is a CD version of this concert without the narration that is preferable for that reason. Also, personally I prefer the smaller band performances of Made In Cuba and Live In Buenos Aires DVDs. Those smaller venue performances have a bit more Rock power and they are more "cozy" as the audience gets much closer to the band.

Still, this is a very nice release that will please many Prog fans.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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