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Wakeman; Rick; And The English Rock Ensemble: Out Of The Blue

Even though he may in more recent times be better known to some as a "Grumpy Old Man", co-host in the UK of Channel 4's Countdown, or compère of evenings of stand-up comedy, the very fact that between the years of 2000 and 2004, Rick Wakeman put his name on the front of (at least (after all who can know for sure!?)) fourteen albums, proves he's never turned his back on the thing that made his name: music.

So the not exactly apt, Out Of The Blue, originally saw the light of day in 2001 and finds the on-off and ever evolving English Rock Ensemble backing Wakeman as he romps through a selection of his best known moments in the Argentinian Teatro Coliseo. The band at the time was made up of the excellent bassist Lee Pomeroy (It Bites), guitarist Ant Glynne, drummer Tony Fernandez and Threshold singer Damian Wilson. The none too inconsiderable keyboard talents of Wakeman himself being backed by his similarly skilled son, Adam (Ozzy Osbourne Band/Black Sabbath).

Many of the usual suspects turn up, with excerpts from Journey To The Centre Of Earth alongside "Jane Seymour" and "Catherine Parr", while "The Maker", "The Spaceman" and "The Reaper" are pulled from the "Music Reincarnate" section of Earthly Connection alongside "The Prisoner". Wilson is a fantastic foil for Wakeman's overtly theatrical creations and his clear tones do all of the singers whose parts he recreates justice. For proof sample "Buried Alive", from the underrated Return To The Centre Of The Earth, where Wilson takes Ozzy Osbourne's vocal lines and adds his own interesting twists.

The crowd are enthusiastic and loud, yet as with many live releases, a lot of the energy they create oozes into the ether through each of the tracks annoyingly being faded out at their conclusions. Even with the liner notes bold (and impressive, given the standard displayed right across the album) claim that no rerecording, or overdubs were used on this show, a little imaginative editing could have at least alluded to what witnessing the show itself was like.

As is to be expected, it is a Yes piece which closes the album out, "Starship Trooper" revealed in all its (here, additionally keyboard focused) glory. Maybe an odd choice given that Wakeman wasn't in the band when it was recorded, but it's a classic nonetheless, so who's complaining? Certainly not the crowd on the night.

Rick Wakeman's solo output may be hugely inconsistent, but ever if there was a way to showcase it, then it's with a live album which selects the best of his work and presents it through superb performances by great musicians. On that basis Out Of The Blue is both an excellent snapshot of what Rick Wakeman at his best is all about and a good introduction to those who have maybe been frightened off by the sheer volume of what the man has produced during his on-off love affair with Yes.

Track Listing
1. Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
2. Buried Alive
3. Jane Seymour
4. No Earthly Connection/The Prisoner
5. Catherine Parr
6. The Visit
7. Return Of The Phantom/Starship Trooper/Wurm

Added: July 31st 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Out Of The Blue at Cherry Red
Hits: 1693
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Wakeman; Rick; And The English Rock Ensemble: Out Of The Blue
Posted by on 2023-09-25 01:58:59
My Score:

@basket random Whether through his extensive discography or captivating live performances, he continues to showcase his passion for music and his dedication to entertaining audiences.

Wakeman; Rick; And The English Rock Ensemble: Out Of The Blue
Posted by I like this on 2023-07-17 16:49:46
My Score:

I used to try to read books in the original language because it conveys the true essence that the author wanted to convey. But recently I found out that I can also ask to translate texts I don't understand for me. It was a very good decision and I always use it.

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