Saturday, 6th December 2008
Quinta Vergara, Vina del Mar, Chile
Article and photos By Juan and Rosa Araneda
It was a long wait but finally after 33 years we saw Rick Wakeman playing his classic solo tracks with an orchestra and choir,
it was a magical experience indeed.
Rick presented a great selection of his compositions, mainly based on his classic albums The Six Wives of Henry VIII,
Journey to the Centre of the Earth and The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table accompanied by 60 musicians of the Santiago Symphonic Orchestra and 30 voices in the choir.
The venue selected for the occasion was the amphitheater Quinta Vergara, a place which is well known because every year in February the Vina del Mar International Song Festival is performed there.
Last year the legendary Tom Jones sang there and this year Peter Frampton, Journey, Earth Wind and Fire, amongst others played there too.
Off the festival season, Rick Wakeman performed brilliantly in front of a great audience that received him with a big ovation.
Rick sat down in front of the grand piano and started his performance with extracts from King Arthur accompanied by the orchestra conducted by maestro Guy Protheroe.
In the beginning the sound was not well balanced between the piano and the orchestra, but soon it was solved and Rick’s swirling hands over the keys were properly heard.
After that Rick followed with Gone but not Forgotten and then he played Catherine Howard, a lovely track very well known by the fans.
He continued with his wonderful arrangement of the Beatles’ Help and Eleanor Rigby. Then it was the time for the long awaited Journey to the Centre of the Earth,
superbly performed together with the orchestra and choir. It was a powerful performance with a perfect synchronization with the musicians involved and Rick in mid guiding the music to its best.
After the big ovation of the audience Rick returned to the stage and completely out of the blue he picked up a lady cellist and one of the violinists
and introduced them to the audience telling that the night before the show he had known that the couple would get married on the day after the concert.
Rick congratulated and wished all the best to the lovely couple while the audience did the same with a big clapping. Of course Rick couldn’t contempt himself and said "I had four”,
obtaining a spontaneous big laugh from the audience.
Finally Rick Wakeman with the orchestra played a couple of encores,
starting with Merlin the Magician and closing with Catherine of Aragon played solo on the grand piano.
It was a great night with a superb musician playing the set that made him well known among the classical musicians.
We are sure that some Yes followers that arrived to the concert wearing the corresponding t-shirts could have missed tracks like Wondrous Stories or The Meeting,
but in the end maestro Rick Wakeman erased any doubt that he is more than only a keyboard player, he is one of the great classic musicians of the 20th Century.
Rick Wakeman Official Website
DPRP's Review of "Return To The Centre Of The Earth"