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Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace CD (album) cover

THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII - LIVE AT HAMPTON COURT PALACE

Rick Wakeman

 

Symphonic Prog

4.19 | 45 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars A royal event!

As indicated by the title, this is a performance of Rick Wakeman's classic 1973 album Six Wives Of Henry VIII in its entirety and this is a very big performance. There is a percussionist, a full orchestra, a choir and a full Rock band and on the evening there was even a narrator describing the historical background of the different wives. On this CD version, however, as opposed to the DVD version of this show, the narration has been edited out and that is the reason why I prefer this CD. The narration, even though it is very good and interesting the first couple of times, will tend to get boring after repeated listens. The CD version thus has more staying power. I usually abstain from rating the same material more than ones, but here I make an exception as I give this one star more than I gave the DVD.

The core of Rick's band, which is, as usual, called The English Rock Ensemble, is pretty much the same as it was on other recent Rock releases; drummer Tony Fernandez is back again and Dave Colquhoun once again plays the electric guitars. A new addition is bass player Jonathan Noyce who previously has played with Jethro Tull since the mid 90's, I think. There is also an extra guitarist, who plays acoustic guitars, and Rick's son Adam helps out on extra keyboards. Of course, Rick himself plays an extensive array of different keyboards including a real church organ on Jane Seymour! Needless to say, this is a very massive performance. It is absolutely over-the-top and bombastic, but it is done with humour and charm preventing it from being overblown and pretentious.

In addition to the six tracks of the original album, there are also three new songs written in the style of the original album, one of which represents King Henry himself and was, according to Rick in the bonus interview on the DVD, intended to be included on the original album but could not be because of the time restrictions for vinyl records. These new songs fit in very well among the classics. The original songs are also expanded a bit with new sections making them possibly even better than they ever were! Rick's performance is flawless and everything works out for the best. The Six Wives album has never been my favourite Rick Wakeman solo album, but if it is your favourite album of his you should by all means get this great live release. It might even be considered more essential than the original LP.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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