Unlike the poorly recorded and muffled #6 of this series, #7 has a very reasonable sounded indeed, and while not really of the same quality as some of his other live recordings (of which I admittedly own many), this is certainly a very listenable album indeed. Unlike #6 this is a single disc, and is also taken from one of the tours undertaken by Rick as a solo performer, albeit with the use of some backing tracks both on the opener “Pachebal’s Canon In D Major” and later in “The Meeting”. Wakeman as a solo performer has no equal within the keyboard world, as while there may be arguments among diehard fans of the likes of Emerson, as to which is the more exciting musician, there is simply no-one with such a breadth of styles combined with repartee.
I have long discovered that my favourite version of Wakeman happens to be whichever one I am currently listening to, so the 10-song set is an absolute delight, but as anyone who has seen his one-man story shows when it is just him and piano, they are also essential, while his work with a full rock band is always over the top and incredible. Yes, this is another audience recording, but Japanese audiences are generally completely quiet during the renditions, and while there are a few times when talking can be heard in the background, the overall sound is really good indeed. In this 72-minute set we get a few wives, some Yes, “Morning Has Broken”, as well as his combination of “Help” and “Eleanor Rigby”. It is the last night of the tour, and he is in his normal fine form with stories here and there and is an album which I can often see myself to returning. Wakeman fans such as myself have been blessed with many studio albums and live recordings over the years, and I have more than 100 of his releases, and this is a lovely addition to the collection to which I will often be returning.
8/10 Kev Rowland