Review of Out There submitted on 22nd March 2003

Time was when a new album from Rick was a major event in my life, just as it probably was for many of you "out there" (groan!). I would be on the doorstep of my local "record shop", (remember them?!),waiting for it to open on the day of release, bunking off college, work, etc., just to get my hands on this precious item. I hadn't felt like that since around 1983, after hearing "Cost of Living”, but still remained a fan. I thought, after seeing the concert in Perth last May, that this album was going to take me back to those days.(Except that in place of the "record shop”, I had pre-ordered at Amazon!).Well, firstly, it didn't arrive on the day of release (black mark against Amazon!), but arrive it did. What can I say? 3 out of 5, I am afraid. Musically, it is strong. I'd say it's Rick's best studio playing for A VERY LONG TIME, but it is let down by other parts of the mixture. I think you need to find another singer, Rick. Damian Wilson may have power, but he has a limited range, and his voice has no "light & shade". It's all at one place, and that can be very wearing. Think of Ashley Holt,(to use an example). He managed to sing the Gary Pickford-Hopkins parts with ease. Damian Wilson CAN'T carry that off. Sorry. Secondly, no disrespect (people usually do mean disrespect when they say that, but I don't) to Ant Glynne & Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith, but the only place Rick needs a Guitarist is in YES. It's just a case of following the old rock formula. They don't contribute anything significant to a Rick Wakeman album. I want to hear Keyboards take the lead here, not guitar solos. I do have to say, though, that it is a far better album than "Return", which didn't feature enough Rick either, and seemed rather formulaic. The keyboard sounds are a joy to listen to and, as I said previously, His playing is the strongest album work for years. I know I come across rather negative, and I'll be surprised if this review gets published, but I WILL be playing this CD, unlike "Return", which hasn't seen the light of day for at least 18 months! P.S. the 3 stars are largely down to Ricks' playing & the quality of the music.