Hamer Hall - Melbourne 28 August 2005 by Tony Coventry

Rick's Farewell Tour for Australia began in Melbourne, playing at Hamer Hall.

Armed with a Steinway & Sons Grand piano, two electronic keyboards and an Ashley Holt, Rick was in fine form. Quite a change from the last time he travelled solo to Australia in 1975 as seen on the Journey to the Centre of the Earth DVD where Rick had both the Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir as well surrounding himself with nearly a dozen keyboards.

On this occasion we were privileged to see the personal side of Rick as he shared anecdotes and stories from his colourful past. From this it was obvious the Rick delights in entertaining. Ranging between Jon Anderson impersonations to members of his local Police constabulary who, after arresting Rick, marched him unceremoniously to a bemused neighbour's house to use the loo!

The music wasn't bad either! Although when an artist of Rick's calibre states that he was going to share music from his roots, no-one would have guessed that he would play a piece he learnt has a five year old. A piece heavily involved with sweeping brooms! Although this did not require the use of both hands; the stunning Kathryn Howard which followed certainly did and was played with such passion so as to demonstrate Rick's amazing control and dexterity.

Rick's long time mate and singer, Ashley Holt, looking quite slim, I might add, joined Rick on stage from time to time. Excerpts from Journey, No Earthly Connection as well as Make Me A Woman belted out across the stage. Ashley also sang the beginning and end of King Arthur. You can tell by his tone and powerful voice that Ashley genuinely enjoys singing Rick's lyrics.

Jane Seymour, sounding very ethereal when played with samples taken from the real church organs in London sounded majestic.

The evening finished with a couple of encores and a warm thank you from those of us in the audience. Afterwards Rick and Ashley spent some an hour or so with a few of the more ‘dedicated', shall we say, fans, signing a range of memorabilia including a Second Series Mini Moogs, as well as answering some unusual questions. And yes, Rick is still ‘a grumpy old man' showing no signs of giving in at all to the modern age!

Thanks Rick for a very special evening's entertainment, so far from your home. And thanks to my old man…he took me to the '75 concert when I was 15 and it was my pleasure to repay him 30 years later. Tony C