Whitaker Center - Harrisburg, PA 13 June 2006 by Catherine Graham

Rick Conquers Harrisburg, Pa.

Let's see - $35.00 for the ticket, about $40.00 total for gas and a solid 3 3/4 hour one way drive to Harrisburg (195 miles), all to see Rick Wakeman - hmmm, was it worth it?

Oh yes, and I'd do it again and again (and I am) for the enjoyment I had last night at that concert.

From the minute the announcer introduced him on stage, Rick had the audience captivated at the Sunoco Performance Theatre in Harrisburg, Pa. He commenced by telling some stories of the previous night's experiences and anecdotes about being thrice divorced ("Well, if I can't have my say in court I CAN have my say on the stage...."). The Steinway Grand, in the hands of a master such as Rick, produces THE most beautiful music in the world, and last night was absolute proof of that. No filters, no electronic gizmos, no MIDI samplings - he took everyone away on clouds of pure melodic delights. One could not have a care in the world during the hours of rapture which he provided!

He played favorites interspersed with his entertaining tales from his life, including a heartwarming yet funny story about his Mum and how she brought some rest home residents to a couple of his shows, thinking they were going to hear classical piano music when a laser light show and synthesizer rock music was the bill - from which he lead into "Gone But Not Forgotten". I had tears welling by the end of that one, it was so beautiful - Thank The Lord the lights were dim!! He told of how the song "After The Ball" on the White Rock album was written in haste, and even composed a "Harrisburg Concerto" with the help of the audience members choosing six notes with which to do it with (B - B - C - A # I think and E, the final note making for a bit of a flat ending). A box was placed in the lobby for folks to write questions for Rick to answer on stage which made for a bit of fun and opportunity to interact with the audience, which he did with as much grace and ease as he played the Steinway. I could have listened to him tell his tales and joke about with everyone for hours on end!

Afterward, he came to the lobby to sign autographs. The line was quite long, I know - I was one of the last ones in it, but he stayed to the end in good spirits, kindly posing with people for pictures and exhibiting graciousness. I know he had to be "knackered" by this time, but he is the consumate professional whose musical and social talents have been finely honed.

Well, the next one I see is in Alexandria, Va. then to Glenside, Pa. next week with Pittsburgh's show the day after! Yep, I can not wait. Away I go!