The Legend: Live In Concert 2000

Rick Wakeman

Classic Pictures, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


There is an excellent chance that Rick Wakeman, the musician responsible for today's review subject, will be reading this. So, if our regular readers don't mind too much, I'd like to direct this review to Mr. Wakeman himself...

Rick - I can call you Rick, right? - I have to be critical right at the outset when talking about The Legend: Live In Concert 2000. This show - which was recorded at Sheperton Studios before a small but passionate audience - has one major flaw that I wish could be addressed...

It's far, far too short.

In a span of 90 minutes, you lock the listener in with your warm and enchanting melodies as well as your good natured humor, making it feel like those who are watching this concert have a front-row seat. Even if someone isn't as familiar with your discography (including myself - though I'm working on it), you take numbers like "Birdman Of Alcatraz" and "Children Of Chernobyl" and make them sound like they're old friends dropping by to relive good times in the past.

One might wonder how you're able to pull all of this off in a solo performance, backed only by your bank of synthesizers. But you pull it off, Rick, even to the point where you take a brief medley of Yes songs - "And You And I" and "Wonderous Stories" - and perform them in such a way that one doesn't even notice that the familiar vocals of Jon Anderson or the distinct bass style of Chris Squire are nowhere to be heard. The point is, it works, and it works well.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Even the old tracks from your discography - namely, the three selections you play from The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - sound as fresh today as they did when they were first recorded back in the '70s. Once, I thought I'd miss hearing the original instrumentation, especially on songs like "Catherine Of Aragon," but you adapt modern technology well to fit these pieces. (The live performance of "Jane Seymour" is absolutely breathtaking - though I am curious, is the sampled organ you're playing the one from St. Giles?)

Even music that you didn't write comes alive on The Legend. You respectfully take on The Beatles ("Help / Eleanor Rigby"), playfully tackle children's songs ("The Nursery Rhyme Concerto") and lovingly close the show with a Debussy classic ("Clare De Lune"), and it is as natural a fit to your music as ham is to eggs.

While this DVD comes with a bonus CD featuring all the audio tracks from this show (plus one bonus song, "Merlin The Magician"), it's theDVD that has to be experienced. Just watching you become enraptured in these songs, as well as your lightning-fast reflexes on the keyboards, seals the deal for me. (Besides, the CD removes all the audience's applause, as well as your stories.)

Ah, those stories - complaint number two. I realize this was a musical performance, Rick - but I could have sat through an entire DVD filled with the stories you have to tell. (Note to die-hard Wakeman fans: Yes, I know that disc eight of Treasure Chest has nothing but these stories. I just don't have about $150 to part with to order this set.) At times serious, often humorous, they're as intregal a part of this show as the music itself.

Frankly, Rick, this could have been a two DVD set or more, and I still don't think I would have my fill of either the music or the stories. I guess I should be happy with what I have - namely, a concert that lives up to its title. Anyone who has ever been a fan of your music or Yes's should absolutely not miss this disc.

2002 Christopher Thelen and "The Daily Vault". All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2002 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Classic Pictures, and is used for informational purposes only.