Palace Theatre, Westcliff on Sea
A day short of thirty-nine years since I saw Rick Wakeman with Yes on a revolving stage at recently renamed Wembley Arena, I was in the considerably more compact early 20th century surroundings of the Palace Theatre, Westcliff awaiting the self-styled Grumpy one. His Piano Portraits album had been a rare CD bought by Mrs Phil and enjoyed over the last few months. Personally, apart from the odd track, I found it extremely bland listening, but with Rick’s reputation as an entertaining raconteur and the knowledge he was playing close-ish to home, a ticket was the ideal anniversary pressie for her.
Was it a comedy gig, a rambling monologue or a reverential reflection on a life and it’s influences? All three really. The stage was equipped with a grand piano, some basic lighting, a candelabra and four posters for his ‘plinky-plonk’ piano album. What we were treated to was some extraordinarily dextrous musicianship from a 68 year old bloke, plus a series of Hoary Old Rock Anecdotes beloved of the old Word podcasts, jokes, witticisms and reflections from a well lived life and all delivered with the comic timing many jokers » Continue Reading.