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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Rick Wakeman review – swept up by sheer, ludicrous ambition

Rick Wakeman performs Journey to the Centre of the Earth Manchester
Caped crusader … Rick Wakeman and singer perform Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Photograph: DFL/Splash/Corbis
"We used to have farting dinosaurs," begins Rick Wakeman, reeling off tales of prog-era silliness and inflatable stage props that released wind at inopportune moments. "So you'd be playing this beautifully gentle musical section and then … parp!"
  1. Rick Wakeman
  2. Journey to the Centre of the Earth
  3. Royal Albert Hall,
  4. London
  5. SW7 2AP
  1. Until 30 April
  2. Box office: 
    020-7589 8212
  3. Venue website
We've become accustomed to the former prog-rock caped crusader in this reinvented role as raconteur and TV's Grumpy Old Man. However, this tour returns him to his original habitat: hair flowing behind a mindboggling array of keyboards, and being cheered to the rafters when he walks on in a flowing, diamond-encrusted number that makes him look like a glam-rock archbishop.
For the first time in 40 years, Wakeman is touring Journey to the Centre of the Earth, the 15m-selling concept album variously viewed as a genre-busting landmark or the epitome of prog pretension. However, he explains that he'd wanted to set a story to music – in this case Jules Verne's famous novel – since being taken to see Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf when he was eight.
Otherwise it's prog excess all areas, as Wakeman's 100mph twiddling fingers share the stage with a narrator, two singers, a rock band, choir and orchestra. Hearing a 1974 prog opus live in 2014 is a curious experience. Musical bravery happily coexists with epic folly. There are sonorous narratives, beautifully ethereal passages, classical crescendos and hard-rock noodling, not to mention important-sounding brassy bits that sound like something from the court of Henry VIII.

Live At The Empire Pool
CD - £9.99

Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 1981
DVD/CD - £9.99

Live in Lincoln Cathedral
2CD - £7.99

Live At The Maltings
DVD/CD - £9.99

Video Vaults
6DVD box - £85.00

The Burning 
CD - £9.99

Cirque Surreal 
CD - £7.99

CD - £9.99

CD - £9.99

Cost Of Living 
CD - £9.99

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