The Gloucestershire Reporter has published a review of Rick Wakeman's recent solo piano concert that he gave at the Cheltenham Town Hall. It was written by Corrie Bond-French and an extract is given below:
He shuffles onto the stage, endearingly slightly dishevelled in his suit and comfy trainers, and proceeds to blur the edges between raconteur and comedian, then astound with his incredible ability at the keys of Cheltenham Town Hall's Steinway.
When you think of all of the people who have played that piano over the years, you'd be hard-pushed to think of anyone quite so fleet of finger: Rick is a maestro.
His hands are a flurry over the keys and he can still astound with his virtuosity, even when playing a selection of nursery rhymes in the style of Mozart, Ravel, Debussy, Rachmaninov and a nod to fellow (but possibly underrated) pianist and comedian Les Dawson. National treasures, the pair of them.
Rick can certainly spin a yarn too. Be it William Shatner's lingerie or Brian Blessed's admiration for a generous bosom, each story was priceless. He is a superbly hilarious storyteller. Who else can combine classical musical genius and a rock star back-catalogue with brilliantly delivered anecdotes at this level? No-one. Ever.
What I absolutely love about Rick though, is how he is still a little humbled when he walks on stage. This is a man of prodigious gifts who has a loyal following, but it seems as if he is just getting on with what he does best (as he told me afterwards, if he wasn't playing here he'd be playing at home, so why not?) and just feels grateful, if not bemused, that others are still interested.
And he's a gentleman. Signing at the end, Rick maintained his composure perfectly when a very inebriated fan crashed the queue, and he has time for everyone, putting people at ease and treating them all as friends.
Such innate inclusivity and generosity of spirit is a rare find indeed.
I know I'm not alone in looking forward to the next tour, the Yet Another Yet Another Evening with Rick Wakeman. Keep spreading the joy, Rick. We really do love you.