Carefree Theatre - W. Palm Beach, FL 18 October 2003 by Leo

When I first heard that Rick Wakeman was coming to South Florida I was excited and intrigued. But, I must admit, after I learned that Rick was doing a one man music/comedy show, I was puzzled, and not sure if I would attend. So, I said to myself, “Self, how bad could it be - we're talking about a keyboard genius”.

Luckily, I listened to my own reasoning, or I would have missed the best show of the year.

As soon as Rick played the first of thousands of notes to come over the next two hours, I knew that I was in for a great evening of keyboard virtuosity. What I did NOT know, was that I was also going to be thoroughly entertained in between songs by Rick's humorous wit and charm. The stories of his life, particularly the ones pertaining to his far reaching career, (still waiting on the check from Cat Stevens?), were far from a distraction (In spite of the malfunctioning microphones..."Can I throw this one!!"). In fact, they were so cleverly interwoven with the music, that the show was definitely enhanced by them, AND they provided many moments of hilarity. I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone, but the intoxicated tour stop in Seattle comes to mind.

And then there was the music. And oh what music it was. Rick's expertise and ingenuity in his craft were evident throughout the night. From his opening "warm-up" (fingers flying across the grand piano's keys), to Rick's "very first song he learned" (8 seconds), through some magic Yes moments (more later), to some reworked pieces of Rick's better known solo material (Journey, Six Wives), to a sweet sounding rendition of Beatle's tunes (closing the night with "Help" & "Eleanor Rigby") the whole evening was filled with musical magic. Rick jokingly teased the audience by commenting on the audience's desire to hear Yes music ("I decided not to play any of that"), but then acquiesced with "Wondrous Stories" and, after a brief intermission, "And You and I". If you closed your eyes, you could almost hear Jon singing through Rick's keyboard. ("Hearing, hearing your wondrous stories"). Then you realize it was Rick playing both parts!! It was a tremendous moment in musical time that truly reached out and touched the audience. No B.S....It was THAT good.

Congratulations to Rick & his crew for putting together this show and having the foresight (and cahonas) to bring it to the States. I look forward to the next time around (with or without your band mates).

Don't mistake this for a Yes concert, but if you want to enjoy a memorable musical & comical evening with Rick Wakeman, to quote an infamous Seattle music critic...