Image © Ventura Distribution 2002
Image © Ventura Distribution 2002
Image © Ventura Distribution 2002

Rick Wakeman

DVD Reviews

Review and HTML © Scott Bassin and Russ Elliot 2002
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click on images to visit Rick Wakeman's website
Last updated: 16 October 2002

2002 has been a very busy year for Rick Wakeman back touring with Yes and releasing three classic shows on DVD. All three DVDs are reviewed below.

Journey To The Centre of The Earth was recorded on Febuary 4, 1975 in Melbourne, Australia. This 95-minute concert features the Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra and the Melbourne Chamber Choir along with Rick’s English Rock Ensemble and Terry Taplin handling the narration.

The concert features a full performance of "Journey To The Centre of The Earth" as well as "Merlin" and "Guinevere" from the King Arthur album. Also included are "Catherine Parr," "Catherine Howard" and "Anne Boleyn" from Rick’s classic Six Wives of Henry VIII album.

Fans of progressive rock will really enjoy this concert which captures Rick back in his heyday with his bank of keyboards including his trademark minimoog synths as well as the famous mellotron and cape.

The audio and video quality of this concert film are amazing. Shot back in 1975, viewers may have been expecting the quality to not be that great. This is not the case as Classic Pictures have meticulously remastered the audio in 5.1 Dolby Digital and cleaned up the picture which is now sharp and clear. A bonus audio only CD of the show is also included.

Next up is The Legend: Live In Concert 2000. This two-hour show was filmed at Marlborough College in England. The show features Rick solo and is absolutely brilliant in every respect. Rick covers the old classics with brand new arrangements. Highlights include "Jane Seymour", "Catherine Howard/Catherine of Aragon" and "Guinevere/Lancelot and The Black Knight."

Rick also plays a medley of nursery rhymes in various classical styles entitled "The Nursery Rhyme Concerto" as well as a medley from "Journey To The Centre of The Earth" and his 1999 follow up "Return To The Centre of The Earth" which is among the high points of the show.

In between songs Rick tells some of the funniest stories imaginable including the infamous Seattle Story. This show is a real treat for any fan of great music and amusing stories. Beautifully filmed the cameras follow Rick around from keyboard to keyboard and provide excellent close-ups of Rick’s solos--a treat for live concert films. Sound and picture quality is outstanding. A Dolby Digital 5.1 mix allows the keyboards to really sparkle.

Also included are six audio only studio tracks as well as a photo gallery and a very amusing year by year biography. A bonus audio only CD of the show is also included.

Last up is Live In Buenos Aires 2001 filmed at The Grand Rex Theatre. Rick is accompanied by The English Rock Ensemble which include his son Adam on keyboards, Tony Fernandez on drums, Ant Glynne on guitar, Lee Pomery on bass and Damian Wilson handling lead vocals.

This 110-minute show features an electrifying set of Rick’s classics. Highlights include "Lancelot and The Black Knight," "Catherine Howard/Catherine of Aragon," "1984" and a father-son keyboard duel during "Merlin." The show allows Rick to really let loose and he is not afraid to let others in the band shine as well. Picture and sound are pristine as well and audio is captured in Dolby Digital. A bonus CD The Official Bootleg is also included. This show was recorded at Ronnie Scotts in England, 1997.

All three DVDs are highly recommended as they each feature different highlights from Rick’s diversified career and are sure to provide hours of enjoyment.

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