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Review: Yet Another Evening With Rick Wakeman, Hall One, Sage Gateshead

Rick Wakeman showed he is a seasoned performer with a night of music and storytelling at Sage Gateshead

Niall Fennessy Photography Rick Wakeman
Rick Wakeman

Opening the concert were The Cadbury Sisters. Strong on vocal harmony, they performed delicate and gentle songs with guitar accompaniment. Their polished performance went down well and hopefully they will return to the North East in the near future to play a longer set.

I have known Rick Wakeman’s music since the 1970s when he was a prog-rock god.

In recent years he has carved out a parallel career on television as a grumpy old man but also on Countdown and Watchdog.

Back in the 1970s he earned the nickname the Caped Crusader and performed on stage surrounded by banks of keyboards.

On this occasion he had shunned the keyboards and colourful cape for a Steinway D grand piano and a three-piece suit, made to fit his expanded girth.

Yet Another Evening With Rick Wakeman started as a one-man show at the Edinburgh Festival.

It involves Rick sharing amusing anecdotes and playing the piano.

He started with the first piece of music that he performed live, aged five - an eight-second tune called See A Monkey On A Stick.

Over the evening he played music from his own back catalogue as a solo artist and from his days with Yes.

Highlights included music he created with other musicians. Of particular note was the Cat Stevens hit Morning Has Broken, and David Bowie’s Life On Mars.

I have seen Rick Wakeman many times and he has always been a great storyteller, fitting the anecdotes in around his music.

This time they were a substantial part of the concert, although they seemed to have been chosen to amuse rather than to provide an autobiographical account of his life and career in music.

Wakeman the pianist is impressive, and as a raconteur he is a natural. He had us all in stitches, making for a really enjoyable night.

Martin Ellis

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