Avalon Theatre - Easton, MD 24 October 2003 by Amy Rule

I started playing the piano when I was 5 years old, and eventually went on to accompany my high school chorus; music was my primary means of retaining sanity in my young life, and the source of what little social life I had back then. Sadly, my talent doesn't even come close to a master like Rick, but it has made me greatly appreciate the wonders he can create. I had the chance to see him with Yes about 10 years ago, but when my husband found out about this tour a month or so ago I couldn't believe the opportunity. I'm not sure what some of the other venues he's playing are like, but the Avalon Theater in Easton MD is a very beautiful old theater that has been restored and seats only a few hundred. There is NO bad seat in the house. And earlier this week, my amazing husband noticed that while the seating was general admission, they were selling a few reserved seats for a mere $10 more, so he got us front row on the balcony.

After a harrowing trip – Easton is on Maryland's Eastern Shore , and there was an accident or something blocking the only bridge across the Chesapeake Bay , so we got there JUST in time and thank goodness for those reserved seats! – we settled in for one of the most amazing evenings of entertainment I have seen. The Avalon is so small, it almost felt like Rick was sitting in my own living room, playing MY piano, and telling us his stories! As a pianist myself, I loved being up on the balcony so I could look down and watch his amazing hands flying across the keys. He had the grand piano on the left side of the stage, and two keyboard racks shaped into a V on the right. At one point while playing the keyboards, his right hand was on the left side of the V and his left on the right! My only regret was that I hadn't noticed that photography WAS allowed here and we hadn't brought our brand new digital camera – THAT would have been an amazing photo to take! (And many people did.)

Unlike many musicians who should not be allowed near a microphone, Rick is a natural storyteller, and the mixture of music and stories found that perfect balance. He is very intelligent, funny and just naturally at ease in this role; I just wish we could see some of his British TV stuff over here. Given the reputation of many “rock stars” as arrogant SOB's, it is such a delight to find out that someone you respect as a musician is actually someone you could really like as a person as well.

I couldn't stick around afterwards to say hello because we had a long drive home and a wedding to attend the next day, but let me say now what I would have said then – “Thanks Rick for a wonderful evening, and please – come visit any time!”