|Huntingdon Hall - Worcester||03 April 2001||by Paul Burman|
A Night of Pure Magic !
After weeks of waiting, the evening of 3 April finally arrived. This was not the first time I had witnessed Rick perform having seen him with YES on the "Union" Tour some ten years ago with AWBH and more recently with Son Adam, at Ronnie Scott’s in Birmingham.
For me, the show in Worcester had been eagerly awaited. For those who do not know the venue, the Countess of Huntingdon Hall is a converted Victorian church which retains all of it's original features. Imagine sitting, waiting to watch your childhood rock hero from a traditional pine pew, surrounded by stained glass and memorial plaques of former clergymen ! In reality, this is a superb concert hall which to a small extent places the stage "in the round" How I envied those on the balcony behind the stage with their grandstand view of the keyboard maestro in action!
Rick arrived on stage on schedule and went straight to the piano to the orchestral introduction with the "Dance of a thousand lights”. The angle of the piano afforded an excellent view of his skills at the keys. From this point on, it was simply one memorable moment to the next. The first was when some unfortunate couple walked to their seats a little late. They became the target of the first bout of humour.
As someone who doesn't regularly access the website, the appearance of Ramon Ramedios was a surprise. Opera meets Rock? And what a surprise it turned out to be, these guys really ought to record something together. The highlight being what Rick described as "that football song" - Nessun Dorma, the theme to Euro 96 (I think).
My personal highpoint was the YES trilogy of "And You and I", "Wondrous Stories" and "The Meeting”, this was gloriously rich with the acoustics of the church.
So what of the famous Wakeman humour? Again, this was an absolute delight but to say too much of this would spoil the show for those who have yet to experience it.
But finally the shock. I did not know that this was to be Rick's final UK tour (he mentioned it at the start of the encore) I read in another review that this was due to "Financial reasons" If so, I for one would happily pay more for a performance of this calibre in such a superb venue. Maybe a "Value for Money" pole on the website would substantiate this view. £16 is remarkable value for money when you consider that many acts are now charging up to £40 for an "arena" style venue where the artist appears as a "pin-prick" on the stage!
My only regret following the concert was that I had made the mistake of parking on Worcester's "late night" car park (Yes, it closes at 11.30) I therefore missed the possibility of meeting someone who has provided me with such a source of musical pleasure for the last 25 years
On behalf of me, my wife (who also loved the show) and your supporters everywhere, PLEASE return!!