The State Theatre - Sydney 30 August 2005 by Simon MacDonald

Well what a surprise to hear Rick announce an Australian Tour only 2 years after the YES TOUR. He brought the one man show and I did have doubts about this particular type of show. I was hoping he would bring his amazing band which to me are one of the best backing bands in the world, it rivals Bruce Springteen’s backing band. Anyway seeing the other reviews posted, the set list in Sydney was different than Melbourne. I believe he played Summertime (from Rhapodies 1979) and some stuff from 1984. After seeing the first show I say “gee” this was brillant. Even the light show was quite unique with a look at his mastery of the keyboard especially the grand piano which is 30 years since I saw with Journey. He started off with Pachelbel’s piece which was stunning, then Catherine Howard even more stunning with a few extended bridges between some of the themes. In fact, Catherine Howard went on approx 6-8 mins. He then played the most popular piece of his career which was Journey featuring wonderful Ashley Holt. My favourite piece in Journey is The Forest which he nailed perfectly - even the piano sound was very close to a Fender Rhodes. When I play at my synth I usually play The Forest. It’s a very beautiful piano piece indeed. Ashley Holt UNDERSTANDS Rick’s music completely. I wish he sang on Out There! No Earthly Connection was next. Rick and Ashley could have played 5 pieces in that format but The Realization/The Spaceman was presented and it was fantastic. The interesting synth/brass patch he presented during those two pieces, especially The Realisation, was really different. There was no interval in the show. He and Ashley presented 2 Beatles numbers, Help and Eleanor Rigby. I can see why he plays this because Eleanor has a brilliant melody line. Anybody who is getting into The Beatles and also Rick’s version of it will understand what I mean. He finished with The Arthur Suite. He played Arthur/The Last Battle in its entirety. Both those 2 piece are in fact long. A standing ovation and the crowd buzzed for more. The State Theatre was a lovely venue and the crowd seemed lovely as well. I just hope we can see him again with his band and his fabulous Mini Moog which anybody who saw him at the YES concert, in fact almost 2 years to the day, can attest to. Thanks Mr Wakeman for a wonderful 2 evenings. As a loyal fan your music inspires me when playing it in the car. It also helps me to ease my chronic pain in my hips it really does. Music is good for relaxation and even when I’m usually in agony every day your music really helps. And that is not your relaxation type of music e.g. The Art In Music/Natural World, it’s everything. I hope this show was recorded in CD/DVD and gets out to the loyal fans. Thanks to Rick, Ashley and all the crew. The sound was great. Also the staff at The State Theatre were lovely. It was a professionally presented evening.