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(100 min DVD, Metal Mind Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Odysseus is Awake 4:04 2. Don't Come Running 3:47 3. Dangerous World 4:20 4. The Agent 8:14 5. Calling for You 4:35 6. Three Broken Threads 4:39 7. Burgundy Rose 4:56 8. Mother's Ruin 5:45 9. Enlightenment 5:46 10. If You're Leaving 4:53 11. I Don't Believe in Angels 5:00 12. Wall of Water 10:29 13. Walk Away 7:23 14. Coming to Town 5:06 LINEUP: Oliver Wakeman – piano, keyboards; backing vocals Paul Manzi – vocals; guitar David Mark Pearce – guitar Paul Brown – bass Dave Wagstaffe – drums; backing vocals
Prolusion. Establishing yourself as a musician with the surname Wakeman can be somewhat of a challenge, due to a certain keyboard player in the long-lasting and highly popular progressive rock act Yes sharing that one. When that certain someone is your father, and you choose to play the keyboards yourself, the challenge does not become any easier. Oliver WAKEMAN has managed to do so though, mainly by not utilizing his family and family name to take career shortcuts, but instead taking the long road towards reaching his musical goals. And in many ways I get the feeling that the DVD "Coming to Town" represents the final page in the chapter on how Oliver Wakeman became an established musician in his own right.
Analysis. The 31st of October 2007 must have been a magnificent day for fans of progressive rock in Katowice, Poland. Metal Mind Productions were going to film three concerts at the Wyspianski Theater that day. The main event was Clive Nolan's Caamora project and their rock opera "She", to be performed with a somewhat massive ensemble, and prior to that the veteran prog band Pallas was going to warm up the public for the main event, but first off this evening was The Oliver Wakeman Band, to give a concert with selected tidbits from Wakeman's 10-year-long career. With a theater set up for filming all three concerts, and with such a major event ending this evening, the stage was indeed set for a highly professional recording of this show. Lots of cameras were in action, a high quality lighting system was in place, and there was quite a good crowd there waiting to be entertained, fully aware of the music to be performed and indeed anxiously waiting for the first act to kick off. And they get treated with what appears to have been a very fine performance. The band picked for this concert is a fine one, all musicians able in their own right. Lead vocalist Paul Manzi in particular is a charismatic character, stealing the show on a couple of occasions, but the rest of the guys are lively too, and seem to be enjoying the experience very much. The only person not looking like he's having a jolly good time is Oliver Wakeman himself, actually. Whether lost in thoughts or just totally concentrated is hard to know, but he is a much stiffer and serious-looking character, contrasting with the other band members. It's all beautifully recorded, of course, with good sound, close-ups of the individual musicians as well as the stage overall, and with pleasing light effects caught on camera. The chosen tracks are all penned by Wakeman of course, some are from the "Jabberwocky" release he made with Clive Nolan in the late nineties, while most of the others seem to be taken from the "Mother's Ruin" album from 2005 – referred to by Oliver as his first rock band album in the interview included on this DVD. The musical style may not be to everybody’s taste, as all tunes, except the ballads, sound like something Deep Purple might play in this particular live arrangement while the ballads come across as more typically neo-progressive in style. After a good performance I do get the feeling that Oliver Wakeman has closed a chapter in his musical journey with this DVD being released. In the interview included on this DVD he tells about the formation of his career, touring with bands, the creation of the first CD, the first collaboration, commissioned works and finally the first rock band CD. And with this DVD to boot I'd think it is now fair to state that he is truly established as a musician in his own right, as he is now so well known and popular that a record company felt it was time to issue a DVD in his name.
Conclusion. This DVD will have its strongest appeal to fans of Oliver Wakeman. Hardcore Yes fans will undoubtedly be interested in this one regardless, both due to the fact that this is a release by the son of Rick Wakeman, but also due to Oliver being asked to be the keyboard player for Yes 2008 tour, even if that last event was canceled due to other circumstances. As The Oliver Wakeman Band performs enjoyable progressive hard rock in a style and manner somewhat similar to Deep Purple, fans of that style of music might also want to check this one out.
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