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Live At Hammersmith

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Album Review

Taking excerpts from The Myths and Legends of King Arthur, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and Journey to the Center of the Earth, this live hour of keyboard work from London's Hammersmith Odeon is a short but pleasant array of Wakeman's progressive style. Consisting of four tracks, the longest and most entertaining being a 22-minute version entitled "Journey," this "in concert" album is one of his better attempts at playing to an audience. Wisely choosing his most popular keyboard excursions, the tracks here showcase Wakeman's ability to concoct energy in a live atmosphere, but also demonstrates his piano playing finesse. Wakeman's band helps him along quite nicely, especially vocalists Rick Fern and Gordon Neville, and the tight drumming of Tony Fernandez on the "Three Wives" medley. Like most of Wakeman's live albums, his improvised synth work builds musical suspense even when the tracks are familiar.


Born: 18 May 1949 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the premier rock keyboardists of the progressive era, Rick Wakeman was born in Perivale, Middlesex, England, in 1949. His interest in music manifested itself very early, and from the age of seven he studied classical piano. At the age of 14, he joined a local band, Atlantic Blues, the same year he left school to enroll in the Royal College of Music. He had his eye on a career as a concert pianist, but Wakeman was dismissed from the college after it became clear that he preferred playing in...
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