October 12, 2019

Rick Wakeman Charms the Cathedral Crowd

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Rick Wakeman at Scottish Rite Auditorium 10/11/2019 Rick Wakeman at Scottish Rite Auditorium 10/11/2019

The “Grumpy Old Rock Star Tour” found its way to the Scottish Rite Cathedral on October 11, 2019. Rick was anything but grumpy. And the sold-out crowd loved every second of it.

When I spoke to him (see Podcasts) he told me that his show was a combination of piano playing and silly stories. He was more than well equipped to do both.

Many people do not know just how funny this man, who is very serious about his music, can be. Those who were in the audience last night who didn’t know prior to the show quickly found out. From the time Rick walked on stage (almost on time) he had the audience totally captivated with his unusual show.

The concert was a mixture of very funny standup comedy and sit-down superb piano playing. While I don’t want to spoil things for anyone who may see the tour later by telling you the stories, I will tell you generally what he said. Much of the humor centered around himself and his family. Stories about his grandfather’s 93rd birthday surprise, his trip to the dentist and his being stiffed on an historic studio session were particularly amusing.

In addition to being funny, he told great inside stories about his father’s being so responsible for his love of music, how much impact his great friend David Bowie had on his career, how the big hit song by Cat Stevens “Morning has Broken” was put together in the studio and being taught at the Royal College of Music in London.

His piano playing was equal to any concert hall pianist. Even though he left college to seek his chances in a career in Rock music, he did the college proud with his arrangements and playing. Before each piece he told a story and or background on the music he was about to play.

The music ranged from compositions from his many solo album efforts, to songs he played a part in recording, to songs that he just wanted to play a different arrangement than the original. He didn’t shy away from playing Yes songs. He remains very proud of having been a member of the band.

One of the real highlights of the entire night was his renditions of The Beatles “Help” and “Eleanor Rigby”. That combo of songs earned him a standing ovation. Second only to that were some parts of THE WIVES OF HENRY THE EIGHTH and THE MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF KING ARTHUR AND THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE. You very easily could feel as though you were at the piano recital of anyone of the giants of the Classical piano world.

There was only one thing that could have made my experience better. If only someone had removed some subhuman person who was seated directly behind me. I’m not sure if he was on some mind-altering drug, drunk or just plain ignorant. He kept humming (in the wrong key) along with the songs. Then halfway through the concert he wanted me to join him in clapping out of context. I ignored him. You can’t reason with stupidity.

Once the set portion of the show was over, Rick came back out and did a long encore. Not before he poked fun at the whole concept of doing encores. He found the whole practice rather silly. We all know that he is in the wings waiting for the encore. Certainly, everyone in the crowd expected him to do one, so why all the pretense?

That was just how loose and funny the whole night was. As I left the Scottish Rite Cathedral, I could hear those who had attended give their own reviews. I didn’t hear anyone voice negative comment. They all enjoyed it as much ad I did.

Rick Wakeman Concert 3

Rick Wakeman Concert 4

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