|Ridgefield Playhouse - Ridgefield, CT||15 June 2006||by Oscar Dean|
It was a beautiful warm night for the concert and I went with my fiance. She's heard me talk of Rick Wakeman so much, so finally she would get to see and hear what all of my fuss is about! We arrived at the venue not really knowing what to expect since it was our first time there. It was basically auditorium type seating with an upper level in the back. The architecture inside was nice and all along the top edge of the ceiling were the names of many of the great composers, philosophers, artists etc. We were there sort of early and got seats in the center about 10 rows back, and based on the position of the piano, we would be able to see Rick's fingers work their magic.
A local radio DJ came onto the stage to make general announcements and then to finally introduce the man himself! Rick walked out to thunderous applause and you could tell he genuinely appreciated it. He was casually dressed with sneakers and he immediately began to draw us in with his humor and wit. Being a long time fan and having seen him perform on other occaisions, I've heard the stories before but I enjoy hearing them again nonetheless. My fiance was cracking up since this was her first time hearing them. Rick's playing and execution was spot on! To me, it showed that he had spent a lot of time practicing and rehearsing these pieces. I can only describe his rendering of the music as "exquisite." My fiance was incredibly impressed with the music, Rick's playing ability and his connection with the audience. In fact, one song literally brought her to tears! I was glad I came to this show not knowing what songs were going to be played beforehand. Some reviews have come through on the list and have revealed a lot of the music, I won't do that in this review. E-mail me privately if you want the full setlist. He did play many things that I hoped he would so I was a happy camper!
All things must come to an end and Rick was given a hearty send off. Many of us hung around to hopefully meet Rick but after 10 minutes or so, it was announced that there would not be a "meet and greet" tonight. It was disappointing but it still was truly a fantastic and magical experience. Thanks to Rick for giving me so many hours of endless pleasure with his wonderful music!