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Review: Rick Wakeman, Ipswich Corn Exchange, October 26 2018

PUBLISHED: 23:26 26 October 2018 | UPDATED: 23:26 26 October 2018

Rick Wakeman brought his latest tour to Ipswich Corn Exchange Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Rick Wakeman brought his latest tour to Ipswich Corn Exchange Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

As the closing refrains of a medley of nursery rhymes performed in the style of composers like Mozart and Debussy ring out across Ipswich Corn Exchange for the final encore, the reminder is stark that these shows are unique.

That inimitable mixture of dry humour and blinding talent came from prog rock virtuoso Rick Wakeman, back in Ipswich for his latest heady mix of moving piano numbers interspersed with loose anecdotes.

Off the back of latest album Piano Odyssey, Rick gives a career-highlights mix with classic Yes tracks (And You And I), overblown early ‘70s prog solo numbers (Jane Seymour) and a healthy smattering of classic covers, all re-imagined for piano.

From his own material, a majestic coming together of The Last Battle and Merlin the Magician – both from his Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table record is a particular highlight, before poignant and respectful covers of the late David Bowie’s Space Oddity and Life on Mars – both tunes a young Rick played piano on as a session performer.

His dexterity, speed and emotion all come to the fore throughout the two-hour-plus show, which coupled with his dry wit have gained him national treasure status.

If this is the latest in the odyssey of all things piano, then where the journey heads next will be equally as fascinating.

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