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Rick Wakeman - Rick Wakeman And The English Rock Ensemble: Live in Buenos Aires (DVD) CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 21 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars I'm a Wakeman fan. Thanks to common sense I'm not obsessed with the man and don't feel compeled to buy all things Wakeman-related. The man is a monster composer, player and showman but really lost his quality control in the first half of the (damned decade!) 80's. But live shows are another thing and even with a disastrous discography an artist can make a good show, so imagine what a man with three consecutive masterpieces can do.

The place is beautiful and the audience is avid for prog pomp and circumstance. All artists of retiring age and/or with bank accounts on the red know that a trip to South America is a non-risk gamble. Even if some distances are now shorter than before we didn't receive all the time the musicians we love so we are very enthusiatic when they came.

The tracks selected are of course based on his three major works and, apart the intrusion of "The visit" and "Buried alive" (from "Phantom power" and "Return to the centre of the earth" respectivelly), is well-constructed and distributed along the show. I like the inclusion of the short 1984 suite although something from "Criminal Record" would be good too.

In other reviews someone said the guitarist is "no Steve Howe" and thank God he is not because Wakeman' s solo stuff simply did not match in style with his Yes contributions. So, sir reviewer, IMO the axeman does a good job as the rest of the band does too. Lee Pomeroy is a solid bass player, Fernandez is an old pal (keeping with Rick in his highs and lows and we know how many lows his career has from 1984 - the album - onwards) and little boy Adam helps Daddy to construct stunnig solos without being busy with his lef hand. The weak spot of this version of the English Rock Ensemble is the singer. He doesnt ruin the show but his voice is passionless (without mentioning his ridiculous hips-shaking during the songs) and unremarkable. Miss you, Mr. Holt (he came back after this).

From a performance point of view the show flows quite nicely. I prefer the original Merlin arrangement, without vocals and beggining with horns and soft piano but nothing is perfect during the Kali Yuga. Hate with all my strenght the non-vintage key sounds on old stuff but although I believe it would not cost a fortune to have at least a Hammond there, the palette chose by Rick was good. There was a MiniMoog on the corner to make our hearts happy. All ye keyboard players of the world, gimme back my Tron, Hammond, Moog and the whole family!

All in all even the pathetic Wilson vocals in Starship Trooper can't ruin this show. This was released as a low budget DVD here in Brazil (and the production wasn't much expensive either as we can see and hear from some weird camera shots and the problems with the vocals in the beginning of "Lancelot and the Black Night"). Here and there the keyboard sound could be higher as noted by another reviewer but nothing that can't take your pleasure from watching this wonderful and uncompromising concert. As long as I can't afford the Wakeman box of 5 DVDs on Voiceprint (the boy likes Wakeman but must be feed) this concert is an excellent adition to my music collection. 4 stars.

moodyxadi | 4/5 |


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