Rick Wakeman - "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" (Classic Pictures 95 min.)

Now here's a great chance to see a whole Wakeman show from the classic and most memorable period of his career as a solo artist. This concert from early 1975 in Melbourne, Australia was among the last ones on the tour for "Journey to the Centre of the Earth". In addition to the whole "Journey..." we also get performances of "Catherine Parr", "Catherine Howard" and "Anne Boleyn" from "The Six Wives of Henry VIII". Wakeman was also kind enough to give the audience some teasers from the then forthcoming "The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table" in form of "Guinevere" and "Merlin the Magician". Wakeman still had his classic look here, with the white cape and the long blonde hair included. His playing is of course flawless through the whole concert, although I personally think that some of the moog solos during "Journey..." don't have the same emotion and intensity as those on the album from 1974. The Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra and Chamber Choir does a decent job, the same goes for the band and the two singers Ashley Holt and Gary Pickford Hopkins. Terry Taplin narrates the story in a similar style to what David Hemmings did on the album. The moog solos on "Anne Boleyn" is in my opinion one of the highlights here. Even the members of the orchestra seem to just stare in awe at Wakeman during this part! However, the most hilarious moment is when the blow-up dinosaurs appears on stage during "The Battle" from "Journey...". Wakeman also takes his time to talk to the audience in between some of the tracks, and proves that he don't take himself or what he's doing as seriously as many people may think. My only complaint is about the pointless reprise of "The Forest" at the very end of the show. Why Wakeman thought it was necessary to play the same track twice at the concert is beyond me.

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