Rick Wakeman is perceived as a very private person, rarely sharing his thoughts with the world. I know this first hand, I have been trying to get an interview with him for months. I swear it is easier getting an audience with the pope. (Ricks PR people, if you read this, talk to me)

The Other Side is a very entertaining and revealing look inside the life of Rick Wakeman. This is a very personal concert, and fireside chat. He is without doubt a very fine keyboard player and composer, armed only with a grand piano Rick takes us through some of his compositions and stories of his life and loves.

His stories are uproariously funny, this is not a side that we do not see from this maestro very often. In the intro to The Henry Suite he tells us of his affinity to King Henry VIII, not in similar family lineage, but in the number of wives. “I am on number four, Henry has me beat in numbers, and Henry had an advantage, he just chopped their heads off when he was done with them, I get to pay!”

He also introduces us to the perils of smoking while playing a grand piano, apparently while in a recording studio he inadvertently let a lit cigarette fall into the innards of the beast, and in a thousand to one chance it landed on the felt if one of the hammers, clouds of smoke erupted, and one of the engineers used a fire extinguisher to ruin the Steinway! Man I would have liked to have seen that one!

On the music side, this DVD is wonderful, and many of the tracks are played in their original form rather than how they were recorded. A Glimpse Of Heaven (Strawbs) is stunning on the piano, as is Morning Has Broken, watching Rick play is a sheer delight.

Rick talks a little about the writing process, and how often times you start with a few disjointed snippets and need to find some ‘glue’ to bring them into a cohesive form.

If you are looking for a DVD that is both musically sophisticated (See A Monkey excluded) and very funny, then I recommend that you get a copy of The Other Side. It is available in North America from MVD.

Simon Barrett

http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com

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