Rick's trip down memory lane
Rick Wakeman's Grumpy Old Picture Show, Friday 9 November, 7pm By Susannah Robirosa Those of us turning up to see Rick Wakeman at the Ipswich Regent last night expecting to see him in a long glittery cape with flowing blonde hair, playing virtuoso instrumentals on banks of keyboards, were not disappointed.
Rick Wakeman's Grumpy Old Picture Show,
Friday 9 November, 7pm
By Susannah Robirosa
Those of us turning up to see Rick Wakeman at the Ipswich Regent last night expecting to see him in a long glittery cape with flowing blonde hair, playing virtuoso instrumentals on banks of keyboards, were not disappointed.
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Although we thought we were going to be until the second to last piece he played - and I guess the hair doesn't really flow anymore.
Still, his rendition of the classic Yes track - and rock classic - Starship Trooper, with other musicians playing with him on a big screen behind, was certainly a highlight.
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It was the culmination of Wakeman's Grumpy Old Picture Show, in which he takes a one-man trip down memory lane, telling amusing anecdotes of his life, illustrated with “very rare” (and rather cheesy) mock footage, laced with bawdy jokes, and accompanied by Wakeman playing compositions on grand piano, keyboard and synthesizer from all periods in his long and varied musical career.
So he began with the very first piece he performed as a boy, Monkey on a Stick, under the inspirational teaching of Mrs Symes, went on to play a duet with him on the screen, followed this with Eleanor Rigby in the style of Prokofiev, and accompanied his 25-year-old daughter Jemma (on screen) singing Amazing Grace with the English Chamber Choir.
Merlin the Magician (from an early solo albumn The Myths and Legends of King Arthur) was played between piano and keyboard (with a bit of help on pedal from a member of the audience to enable a smooth transition between instruments), while another highlight was Gordon Giltrap's on-screen accompaniment on acoustic and electric guitar to another Wakeman composition for piano and keyboard.
Amazing, what technology can do nowadays. And Wakeman duly paid tribute to his technicians who have put in months of solid work to pull the show off.
The Grumpy Old Picture Show felt a bit too much like Wakeman paying tribute to himself, and didn't manage to fill the venue, but it was nonetheless an enjoyable evening and just goes to show that old rock stars never die - they just get sweet and soppier.