Kent Stage With
Music And Laughter
March 15, 2022
Rick Wakeman closed out his Even Grumpier Old Rock Star Tour at The Kent Stage on Sunday night.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Commander of the British Empire, two titles recently bestowed upon him, was far from grumpy.
Quite the opposite, he was in fact very funny, bringing his dry British wit along with some fantastic piano and keyboard playing.
He told the audience that there was some truth to every story he was going to tell that evening. It was up to them to figure out which parts weren't true. After a quick joke, Wakeman sat down at the synthesizer and played "The Jig." He said it was basically a way to warm up his fingers.
He then made his way to the grand piano, of course telling a joke along the way. Wakeman noted that the next song was a tune that he recorded fifty years ago with Cat Stevens. He said that he only got to play the song live with Cat twice. The first time in 1972 and then just a few years ago at the O2 arena in London. The song was "Morning Has Broken."
He played a couple of tunes from his early solo albums that included "The Dance of a Thousand Lights" and "Jane Seymour."
Wakeman mentioned that he was very good friends with Keith Emerson from ELP and Jon Lord from Deep Purple. He told a funny story about attending a Prog Rock Awards show in England where he and Emerson ended up getting stuck in the Men's room, which led to an awkward situation. He dedicated "Gone But Not Forgotten" to his two friends.
After telling a quick story about being interviewed on TV a few years back before an ARW concert in LA, he played "You and I." Before that he quipped, "I don't know why I'm playing Yes songs because they don't play any of my songs!"
After a brief intermission, Wakeman returned to tell some more stories and jokes and play some music on his Korg synthesizer and piano. A beautiful synth piece titled "Sea Horses" was written after watching a friends video of his underwater exploration.
A synth combination of two Beatles classics, "Help" and "Elenore Rigby" which were done in a different style, found their way at the end of the set.
Wakeman thanked the audience for attending the show and he said that he hoped that he would return. He mentioned that the last tune was one of his favorites that he has ever played on.
He sat down, one last time, and played an exquisite version of Bowie's "Life On Mars" on the grand piano.
That song alone made it worth the price of admission.
Photos and review by Greg Drugan