Wakeman, Rick And The New English Rock Ensemble - Out There

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Music Fusion / Classic Pictures
Catalog Number: MFW 6093X
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:59:00

On Rick Wakeman's website you can find a listing where Wakeman fans have voted for their best Wakeman album ever. It's strange to witness that all these years later, the top five albums all date from the period 1973-1977! Number one, with only one vote difference (at the time of writing!), is Myths And Legends ('75) followed closely by my all-time favourite Six Wives Of Henry VIII ('73), then Journey ('74), Criminal Record ('77) and finaly No Earthly Connection ('76). So thirty years after the start of Rick's solo career his fans still regard his oldest work to be his very best. Isn't that sufficient enough for the caped crusader to think about what might be the reason for all this? Finances might be one thing, as Return To The Centre Of The Earth, which did get a fair amount of financial backing, comes in as 6th all-time best album. So in a way there's nothing wrong with Rick's composing talents, yet it has everything to do with the budget the album has been given, with the arrangements money can buy.

Instead of yet another dozen low budget semi-ambient CDs, Out There is not only a Rick Wakeman solo venture, but also kind of continues where No Earthly Conection left off. So please welcome the NERE, the New English Rock Ensemble, which puts the necessary flame into the project. I'll be very honest here because, having been president of Rick's fanclub and being a close friend, I have never liked the albums on which a drum machine is delivering the beats. Prog to me comes from the heart, not out of a box! Again you need the right amount of money in order to get the right musicians for the right amount of time in the studio. The end result however is Out There and right now "out there" there's only one band capable of delivering such great wonderful music and that's Rick Wakeman and the NERE!

I will also be honest in saying that I have always had my doubts where Rick's choice of vocalists is concerned. I never had a soft spot for Ashley Holt nor for Gary Pickford Hopkins (just watch those "old" DVDs and you know why!). Ramon Remedios never was my cup of tea either and I witnessed several concerts with Chrissie Hammond, which once again, to my ears, was far inferior than Rick's splendid keyboard playing. Only Gordon Neville was OK for me and of course ? Damian Wilson. I'm not too keen on the way Damian treats the Yes classic "Starship Trooper" on the Live In Buenos Aires DVD, however; yet what he does with this brand new material on Out There really is outstanding.

Written and recorded over a period of five years "Out There" is kind of a sequel to No Earthly Connection as it is also based on the unexplained. Here the main question is "where does music come from?" Whether it's from a psychological point of view or from a Christian belief, certainly Rick has enough vision on this topic to fill five albums. Next to Rick's impressive rack of Korg instruments, including the new Karma, I'm pleased to say also a Kurzweil KR 2500 and the immortal Mini Moog are present. It's exactly the mixture between new and vintage instruments and samples that is the power behind Out There. For sure it would be unreal to think Rick could or would deliver an album that would sound exactly like Six Wives. We all love that album but that was 1973. This however is 2003 and we want to hear great prog material as well as powerful drives, licks and chords. The NERE having been on numerous tours with Rick play ever so well together, which is what you can hear clearly all over this album. As said before, I'm really, really pleased that we hear real drums for a change, because these make all the difference. Add to that the smokin' guitar solos courtesy of Ant Glynne and the pumping bass of Lee Pomeroy and Rick has one of the best backing bands he can dream of.

The album begins with some eerie solitary string sounds before it delivers one of the best synth solos Rick has delivered in a very long time. Drums, bass and guitar really lift this title track to incredible heights, forming ideal soil for the experimental voice of Damian Wilson. Throughout this track Rick really plays the best synth solos I have heard for a long, long time, so I'm really pleased to hear he's still the talent we have known and loved for thirty years and more. When Damian Wilson sings in the higher regions I can't help thinking about a young Ozzy Osbourne. Listen to "The Mission" and you'll agree. I also like the great sounds of the drums here, as well as the daring medieval interlude. The highlight comes when Wakeman delivers a wonderful organ solo, yet I don't understand why he didn't use an authentic Hammond B3 on this one, as the original instrument still sounds much better than the best sample available. Contrary to the work of Stuart Sawney, Tony Fernandez' use of electronic drums during "To Be With You" works rather well. Also the choir mingles well with the piano. "Universe Of Sound" begins in a very straight forward rock 'n' roll fashion and gets extra power injected courtesy of Ant Glynne, who kind of battles with Rick's solos.

More power and wonderful vocal melodies, fantastic synth solos, splendid guitar solos and soothing piano form the backbone of "Music Of Love." But my absolute highlight of this incredible new Wakeman album certainly has to be the final track "The Cathedral Of The Sky" which to me can be rated along the same lines as Yes' "Awaken." Glorious church organ and choir set this one off to a great start before every single NERE member once again shines, with Damian Wilson putting a great finish to a superb album. Even at 50 minutes, there seems to be way too little here, as I was expecting more similar music. Yes, it's that good! On the strength of this album the band has been booked for no fewer than forty dates in Britain alone, which is a great improvement compared with earlier tours. So there is still hope. Sometime in June a DVD should be out as well, and no doubt Rick's girlfriend Alina Bencini will have a big say in this with her artwork. With Out Therehas been dedicated to the seven astronauts who died during the STS-107 mission, Rick now also declares the fact that for the last eight years he has been working together with NASA. His album 2000 AD Into The Future was flown aboard the 68th flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-67. In the year 2000 the album Journey To The Centre Of The Earth was sent aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-99. No doubt these shuttles have taken Rick's music "out there," waiting for out-of-this-world applause and recognition. For sure the next NASA mission should certainly have a copy of Out There on board. Great to have you back where you belong Rick: right at the very top!

Out There (13:09) / The Mission (6:22) / To Be With You (6:22) / Universe Of Sound (7:45) / Music Of Love (6:44) / Cathedral Of The Sky (10:20)

Rick Wakeman ? keyboards
Tony Fernandez - electronic and acoustic drums and percussion
Ant Glynne - electric guitars
Damian Wilson - vocals
Lee Pomeroy ? bass
Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith ? add'l guitar solo (2) and acoustic guitar (1)
The English Chamber Choir

Piano Vibrations (1971)
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII (1973)
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (1974)
Lisztomania (1975)
The Myths & Legends Of King Arthur & The Knights Of The Round Table (1975)
No Earthly Connection (1976)
Rick Wakeman's Criminal Record (1977)
White Rock (1977)
Animal Showdown (1979)
Rhapsodies (1979)
I'm So Straight I'm A Weirdo (1980)
1984 (1981)
The Burning (OST) (1981)
Rock N Roll Prophet (1982)
Cost Of Living (1983)
G'ole! (1983)
Crimes Of Passion (OST) (1984)
Live At Hammersmith (1985)
Lytton's Diary (1985)
Silent Nights (1985)
Country Airs (1986)
The Family Album (1987)
The Gospels (1987)
20th Anniversary Limited Edition (1988)
A Suite Of Gods (1988)
Custer's Last Stand/Ocean City (1988)
Time Machine (1988)
Zodiaque (1988)
Black Knights At The Court Of Ferdinand IV (1989)
Sea Airs (1989)
Phantom Power (1990)
In The Beginning (1990)
Night Airs (1990)
Phantom Power (1990)
2000AD Into The Future (1991)
African Bach (1991)
Aspirant Sunrise (1991)
Aspirant Sunset (1991)
Aspirant Sunshadows (1991)
Rock N Roll Prophet Plus (1991)
Softsword (1991)
The Classical Connection (1991)
Best Works Collection (1992)
Country Airs (1992)
Classic Tracks (1993)
No Expense Spared (1993)
Prayers (1993)
The Classical Connection 2 (1993)
The Heritage Suite (1993)
Unleashing The Tethered One - The 1974 North American Tour (1993)
Wakeman With Wakeman (1993)
Light Up The Sky (1994)
Live On The Test (1994)
Lure Of The Wild (1994)
Rick Wakeman's Greatest Hits (1994)
The Stage Collection (1994)
Wakeman With Wakeman - The Official Bootleg (1994)
Wakeman With Wakeman Live (1994)
Almost Live In Europe (1995)
Cirque Surreal (1995)
Rick Wakeman In Concert (1995)
Rock & Pop Legends (1995)
Romance Of The Victorian Age (1995)
The Piano Album (1995)
The Private Collection (1995)
The Seven Wonders Of The World (1995)
Visions (1995)
Can You Hear Me? (1996)
Fields Of Green (1996)
Orisons (1996)
Tapestries (1996)
The New Gospels (1996)
The Word And Music (1996)
Vignettes (1996)
Voyage (1996)
Welcome A Star (1996)
Fields Of Green '97 (1997)
Simply Acoustic - The Music (1997)
Tribute (1997)
Master Series (1998)
Themes (1998)
Official Live Bootleg (1999)
Return To The Centre Of The Earth (1999)
Stella Bianca Alla Corte De Re Ferdinando (1999)
The Masters (1999)
The Natural World Trilogy (1999)
White Rock II (1999)
Christmas Variations (2000)
Chronicles Of Man (2000)
Morning Has Broken (2000)
Preludes To A Century (2000)
Recollections - The Very Best Of Rick Wakeman (2000)
Rick Wakeman The Legend Live In Concert 2000 (2000)
The Caped Collection (2000)
Classical Variations (2001/2002)
Simply Acoustic (2001)
Out Of The Blue (2001)
Two Sides Of Yes (2001/2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 1 - The Real Lizstomania (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 2 - The Oscar Concert (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 3 - The Missing Half (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 4 - Almost Classical (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 5 - The Mixture (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 6 - Medium Rare (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 7 - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 8 - Stories (2002)
Two Sides Of Yes - Volume II (2002)
Wakeman & Cousins -Hummingbird (2002)
Out There (2003)
Retro (2006)
Retro 2 (2007)
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII Live At Hampton Court Palace (2009)
Always With You (2010)
Past, Present, and Future (2010)
Anderson/Wakeman - The Living Tree (2010)
In The Nick Of Time-Live In 2003 (2012)

Journey To The Center Of The Earth Live In 1975 (2001/2002) (DVD)
Rick Wakeman The Legend Live In Concert 2000 (DVD) (2001/2002)
Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble - Live In Buenos Aires (DVD) (2001/2002)
Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble - Out There (DVD) (2004)
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth Live In 1975 - 30th Anniversary Edition (DVD) (2005)
Made In Cuba (DVD) (2005)
Amazing Grace (DVD) (2007)
The Other Side Of Rick Wakeman (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 1 - 1975 Live At Empire Pool, King Arthur On Ice (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 2 - Live At The Maltings 1976 (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 3 - Live 1980 Swedish Television Special (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 4 - 1984 Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 1981 (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 5 - Night Music (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 6 - Rarities Plus Interview (DVD) (2007)
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII Live At Hampton Court Palace (DVD/BR) (2009)
Classical Wakeman Volume 1 - Live In Lugano (2010)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin UK

Added: May 4th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.rwcc.com
Hits: 832
Language: english


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