|Stag Community Arts Centre - Sevenoaks||10 March 2001||by Chris Berry|
Sevenoaks was the first date on the tour, my parents’ hometown and Rick hadn’t been here since the Classical Connections tour. It was worth the wait. With every last seat in the theatre full, we were treated to the classic Wakeman style entertainment, this time with ‘straight man’ Ramon Remedios to take the fall on many of Rick’s jokes. The highlight for me was definitely the performance of a large chunk of ‘No Earthly Connection’, just about the last piece I would have expected to hear in this context. Some of the densest, fiercest, breathtaking solo keyboards I have ever heard. Yet there were more lyrical pieces too. The Wakeman/Ramedios sound is well developed by now and they both seemed to enjoy the chance to perform together, and we were of course treated to the ‘Ramon boogie’ on occasion. There were few first night nerves, and the occasional reminder that this was the first date in the form of the odd disagreement over tempo only served to heighten my appreciation of the last offering, a genuine Wakeman premiere. Perfect to finish a ‘last’ UK theatre tour with something new, a beautiful song about Leonardo da Vinci, rehearsed, sung and played to perfection. A sign that there is much new music to come?