Rick Wakeman

Live at Hammersmith

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Taking excerpts from The Myths and Legends of King Arthur, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and Journey to the Center of the Earth, this live hour of keyboard work from London's Hammersmith Odeon is a short but pleasant array of Wakeman's progressive style. Consisting of four tracks, the longest and most entertaining being a 22-minute version entitled "Journey," this "in concert" album is one of his better attempts at playing to an audience. Wisely choosing his most popular keyboard excursions, the tracks here showcase Wakeman's ability to concoct energy in a live atmosphere, but also demonstrates his piano playing finesse. Wakeman's band helps him along quite nicely, especially vocalists Rick Fern and Gordon Neville, and the tight drumming of Tony Fernandez on the "Three Wives" medley. Like most of Wakeman's live albums, his improvised synth work builds musical suspense even when the tracks are familiar.

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