Rick Wakeman : Live at The Palladium 2023 : 4CD Box Set Review

Rick Wakeman Live at the London Palladium 2023: A Symphony of Prog Mastery
This box set “Rick Wakeman Live at the London Palladium 2023” is a journey through Wakeman’s illustrious career, captured in a recent live performance that is nothing short of spectacular.

Released by Esoteric, part of Cherry Red, this four-disc collection is a testament to Wakeman’s enduring talent and his ability to captivate an audience. The setlist spans his entire career, from “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” and “The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table” to classic Yes tracks and the epic “Journey to the Centre of the Earth.” Accompanied by a booklet telling the story of how the concert came together (with Rick) and the musicians involved really helps set the scene.

What stands out immediately is the sheer level of musicianship on display. Adam Wakeman, Rick’s son, joins an ensemble of top-tier musicians, including the phenomenal Haley Sanderson, whose vocals breathe a different dimension into the classic Yes set. Lee Pomeroy’s bass work, particularly his slap bass on some of the Yes material, adds a fresh, dynamic layer to the music. The English Chamber Choir and The Rock Ensemble elevate the performance, blending rock and classical elements seamlessly.

While the entire set is a highlight reel of Wakeman’s career, the rendition of “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” particularly shines. It’s a reminder of Wakeman’s prowess as a composer and performer, with each track offering a complex, engaging listening experience. The production quality of this live recording is impeccable; it’s clear that no corners were cut in capturing the essence of the live performance. The sound is rich, detailed, and immersive, making you feel as close to being at the Palladium as possible without actually being there.

This is a celebration of Rick Wakeman’s contribution to the world of progressive rock and symphonic music. The new arrangements and solos breathe new life into familiar compositions, showcasing Wakeman’s creativity and willingness to explore his own material in new ways. For those who were fortunate enough to attend the performance, this set will be a cherished memento; for the rest of us, it’s an opportunity to experience the magic of that night.


Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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