Live From Buenos Aires [DVD]

Rick Wakeman

Classic Pictures, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It's kind of weird, but I've learned this much after doing reviews of Rick Wakeman's work every week for almost three months: As much as you hear certain pieces, Wakeman knows how to inject life into them every time.

Some people belly-ache that Wakeman relies too heavily on material from his first three solo albums - in which case, they'll probably start Live From Buenos Aires, a DVD filmed during a 2001 concert given by Wakeman and the English Rock Ensemble, on the wrong foot. But to be fair, the performances are extraordinary... it's the overall sound mixing that is worthy of nitpicking.

Early on in the show, it almost seems like vocalist Damian Wilson's microphone isn't podded up high enough to be heard; whether this was a problem during the show or a result of a mix to the DVD, I can't be sure. The same problem often falls on the backing vocals of guitarist Ant Glynne and keyboardist Adam Wakeman, Rick's son. For that matter, Glynne's guitar is hardly noticeable for the longest time - though when he lets loose with his solo during "The Visit," he shows how good of a guitarist he is.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

So what sets Live From Buenos Aires apart from the other two recently released Wakeman DVDs? A few things, actually. It would be too simplistic to stae that this captures Wakeman in a more recent musical setting, though it would be true. It would be too simplistic to say this DVD gives full band performances of songs which Wakeman beautifully performed on An Evening With Rick Wakeman 2000 such as the "Catherine Howard / Catherine Of Aragon" medley.

This disc, though, does open up the horizons for both musician and fan. First, Wakeman seems to feel freer with the set list, including songs from such albums as 1984 and Phantom Power, two discs which might not be familiar to American ears, though these songs prove they damn well should be. "The Visit" is absolutely fun to listen to, and makes me want to search out this particular album for further discovery. Likewise, the title track from 1984 suggests that this disc could be a forgotten wonder in Wakeman's vast discography.

More importantly, though, this concert shows the talent, love and mutual respect shared between Rick and Adam Wakeman. It's no surprise that Adam Wakeman followed a career in music like his father. It's no surprise he is as talented on the keyboards as this concert shows. It is a surprise, though, that occasionally it seems like Junior has taught his father a few tricks. The keyboard "duel" which takes place during "Merlin The Magician" (featuring both Wakemans taking center stage utilizing portable synthesizers) is all the proof you need of how much father and son feed off of each other. It's a wonderful thing to witness.

This DVD comes with a bonus CD, featuring a different lineup of the English Rock Ensemble recorded in Birmingham, England in 1997.Sorry, all, but I haven't had the time to check this one out. Consider it a perk to entice you into picking up this DVD set.

Live From Buenos Aires occasinally stumbles in the technical department, but it is the sheer emotion which makes this performance one to remember.

2002 Christopher Thelen and "The Daily Vault". All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission.

Rating: B

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© 2002 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Classic Pictures, and is used for informational purposes only.