Rick Wakeman - Bootleg Box Vol. 2 - 2011



“a personal piece of nostalgia from the year 1976”


Retro World brings us on their label Floating World Records under the name of “Caped Crusader Collectors Club” the second Bootleg Box of Rick Wakeman (ex Yes). The box contains 5 CD's packaged in true bootleg style. A simple package with five carton sleeves at a bargain price. You can find live recordings from the period 1974 - 1997. The sound quality varies. It are bootlegs from the personal archives of Rick Wakeman.


Rick Wakeman - keyboards
details of the several live formations are not given, but on the 1997 recording you can hear Rick announcing his own son Adam Wakeman who is also a great keyboard player.


On this second Bootleg Box you can find the following live recordings; Disc1 - “Hammersmith Odeon London, March 1976”, Disc 2 - “It's Nearly Christmas Tour Nov. 1997 Norwich”, Disc 3 - “Crystal Palace London 1974”, Disc 4 - “Live in Preston Lancs Nov. 1981 Part 1”, Disc 5 - “Live in Preston Lancs Nov. 1981 Part 2”.

Disc1 - “Hammersmith Odeon London, March 1976”, brings me a personal piece of nostalgia from the year 1976. I remember a concert of that tour back in 1976 at the venue “de Doelen” in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Rick was wearing his golden cape and was surrounded by keyboards. He played them with outstretched arms. It was in the days of analog keyboards. In those days he played Mellotron and his two mini Moogs. So on the older recordings of this box you can hear those analog instruments. Later on Rick used a lot of Korg digital keyboards. I remember the humor of these days; if you listen carefully to the announcements between the tracks. And I remember the terrible performance of his singer Ashley Holt. But for me it is al nostalgia and I love those old pieces of his first three solo albums “The Six Wives of Henry VIII, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and “The Myths and Legends of King Arthur”. You find here the songs “Catherine Howard”, “Lancelot and the Black Knight”, “The Realisation”, “The Forest/Journey” and “Merlin the Magician”.

Disc 2 - “It's Nearly Christmas Tour Nov. 1997 Norwich”, has the best sound quality because the recording is from 1997. But I don't know if Rick Wakeman fans have waited for years for the release of the David Bowie covers “Space Oddity” and “Life on Mars”. The only old composition on this disk is “Merlin the Magician”. You can find tracks like “1984 Trilogy” and “The Breathaliser”. Rick's son Adam is playing a great piano piece called “Summers End.

Disc 3 - “Crystal Palace London 1974” is the oldest recording in this box and has the poorest sound quality ... it is a real bootleg. The recording has a historical value because there is an orchestra and choir present. Before the show begins you can hear an announcement for choir members to come to the stage. This sounds somewhat hilarious. The best thing is Rick's playing and the fact that the disc includes a complete performance of “Journey to the Center of the Earth” including the narration of the story. But because of the poor sound quality this disc is more interesting for Rick Wakeman collector's. This is a real bootleg, an audience recording.

Disc 4 & Disc 5- “Live in Preston Lancs Nov. 1981” is the most interesting recording because it includes the complete concert. On the first disc Rick plays a wonderful version of the song “Seahorses” from his “Rhapsody” album. And a female singer sings the beautiful “Julia” from the “1984” album. But the best track for sympho lovers is the medley “Catherine of Aragon / Anne of Cleaves”. The second disc of this performance opens with the first parts “The Journey - Recollection” of his second solo album “Journey to the centre of the Earth”. When you listen to those old compositions you will be convinced that this is timeless music. You can still enjoy, listening to this wonderful music after all those years. And the sound quality is for a bootleg recording good. After this long track you can enjoy songs like “Danielle”, “Chamber of Horrors”, “The Hymn”, “The Warning” and “White Rock”.


This second Wakeman Bootleg Box is most interesting for the Rick Wakeman collectors and completists. If you don't own a single live recording of Rick Wakeman and are into high quality and HD recordings there are better choices. Last month I bought the beautiful Blu-ray disk “The Six Wives of Henry VIII Live at Hampton Court Palace”. But I enjoyed listening to this box also. Especially those old songs from “The Six Wives” and “Journey”. You decide which one you buy ... and for the money you do not have to leave this bootleg box.... this is a bargain!

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - October 2011 -   - Floating World Records