Venue: Centaur, Cheltenham
Gig Buddies: Phil (both nights), Alex (second night)
Previously I'd only seen Rick on a solo show so didn't really know what to expect from a bigger show. After an interesting day (see my personal blog) my gig buddy, Phil, and I got into the venue in plenty of time to hang around in the bar for a little while. Here Phil bumped into a couple of people that he had met at the Gloucester show the day before. This led to my favourite moment at prog gigs with Phil,
Anyway, that's all by the by really. On to the show. There was an orchestra, a choir and the English Rock Ensemble on the stage. It was just big enough to house them all. The orchestra tuning elicited applause from wags in the audience on the first night, but they got the last laugh when, on the second night, the lead violin took a little bow at the end of the tuning.
The sound on the first night took a while to get properly balanced, a problem that was solved by the second half and certainly gone by the second night. Lengthy pieces such as vast chunks of The Myths And Legends of King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table in the first half and the same of Journey To The Centre of the Earth in the second half were neatly balanced with shorter tunes like After The Ball and Gone But Not Forgotten. The
Highlights for me included a beautiful choral version of Morning Has Broken (arranged for David Croft's memorial service), the medley of Help and Eleanor Rigby arranged in the style of Saint Saens and Prokofiev respectively (the former with a plaintive vocal from Ashley Holt which adds another dimension to the song), Catherine Howard from The Six Wives of Henry VIII and the Journey and Arthur excerpts.
The music was punctuated with introductions and explanations from Rick, at least one of which I hadn't heard or read before. Not that I mind the same stories, it's all in the timing and he's a funny guy and good story teller.
Both evenings were rounded off by a version of the Yes song Starship Trooper, culminating in Wurm. Of course Starship Trooper looms large in the legend of this blog. (It's where I got its title from.)
Now I am looking forward to the opportunity to see a full production of Journey To The Centre of The Earth next year.
Huge thanks to Phil for organising all the tickets and logistics as well as getting a programme signed for me at the Wakeman with Wakeman with Wakeman and Wakeman event in Gloucester on the Saturday.
Full set of unedited photos from both nights on flickr here.