Isn’t it great when Rick Wakeman comes over to your house, sits down at the piano and while playing, amuses you with interesting anecdotes about his music, life and career? What? This hasn’t happened for you? I swear this is the reaction I get when I watch Rick’s DVD, The Other Side of Rick Wakeman. It feels like Rick, his piano, and an intimate group of friends. His funny and disarming manner wins you over as his amusing repartee appears impromptu and off the cuff. With his coffee and robe-like garment it seems like he spent the night and this is the next morning.
What about the musicality of his performance? Rick captures several moments from his career beautifully on the piano, impelling at least this viewer to seek out more solo material from him in the future. “The Henry Suite,” prefaced by an amusing story about the four wives of Mr. Wakeman, is gorgeously represented here. So much so I’ll now have to obtain Six Wives of Henry the XIII, which I haven’t heard since the its release.
Rick also performs songs from Cat Stevens, The Strawbs, David Bowie, The Beatles, and his signature band, Yes. His amusing tale about the differing roles of the members of Yes must be heard. He introduces us to some of the chords that were lost in the development of the classic “And You and I.” They are quite beautiful and it opens your perception of what any song could be like if different choices are made in the beginning stages. Like the movie “Sliding Doors,” small diverging paths make for dramatic differences in the future.
At one point, he does musical improvisation. Like a comedy performer collecting improvisational bits from the audience (and at times in this DVD he is quite the comic), he asks for a different chord from several random members of the crowd. He then proceeds to play a delightful piece composed from those chords that segues into one of his most exquisite works, “After the Ball.” Be sure to give a listen to the extra audio track. It’s absolutely lovely.
This DVD opened my mind to “The Other Side of Rick Wakeman” and I can see myself exploring his vast catalog further. I think I might even catch a show if he ever comes to my part of town, but until then, I can always pop in this DVD when I want to invite Rick over to my living room again
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on January 8th , 2007