Wakeman, Rick - Two Sides Of Yes - Volume I

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Classic Rock Legends Records
Catalog Number: CRL0857
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:09:00

It was not long ago that, upon reviewing Rick Wakeman's Classical Variations, I couldn't help but commend the incredibly talented musician for his humbleness when stating that his attempt to create a series of variations out of his favorite classical music pieces was an endeavor made possible only by the timeless quality of the originals. It was both a touching explanation and a clever strategic move when attempting to manipulate something that is considered practically sacrosanct by many. Now, with the release of Two Sides Of Yes, Wakeman is approaching the same kind of novelty, and although the music of Yes is certainly considered sacred by many, the man has all the right in the world to rearrange everything as he pleases this time around.

And with that knowledge in mind, the prolific keyboardist has rearranged a series of Yes selections for the piano and additionally released a batch of instrumental takes on others that had been stored away in the vaults for the good of mankind ... but more on that later. For now, let it be said that Wakeman's graceful piano interpretations leave nothing at all to be desired, as they demonstrate how aptly songs like "Close To The Edge" adapt themselves to the new format and altered length, as well as how much Yes' sound was dependent on the wizardry of its virtuoso keyboardist at one point in time. The codependency is indeed so evident, and the new arrangements so well planned out, that it sometimes seems as if though the originals were initially meant solely for the piano.

On the other hand, the instrumentals having come out of the vaults should have been left there, and, assuming that the medium on which they were recorded is everything but indestructible, pulverized. "Wondrous Stories" is embarrassing in its collection of cheap elevator new age synthesizer sounds, "Don't Kill The Whale" is only saved from utter doom by the fact that the harmonic patterns embedded in the original remain fortunately intact, and "Roundabout" barely manages to escape the insult of replacing the glorious beginning guitar harmonics for more awful cornball sounds by eventually returning to being a more familiar rendition than its companions.

It's certainly interesting to listen to a collection of tracks such as the ones presented on Two Sides Of Yes, as the listener is constantly exposed to the weird sensation of enormous quality swings between tracks and the divergent feelings that such a situation conjures. At one point, one is irremediably charmed by the gentle piano musings of Wakeman and his dazzling capability of rendering Yes classics in a new and yet completely understandable and agreeable approach, only to be shocked by the way that others are mutilated in a kitschy quasi-new-age vision the next. Yet it is in fact the timeless quality of the originals that allows the album to come out on a relatively good note despite its inconsistencies, along with the fact that songs such as "The Meeting" fit the piano interpretation like a glove, thus helping Wakeman escape a volley of harsh criticisms for playing around with the ageless originals. Still, the bland moments are certainly less than befitting for such an important legacy, so that even though the Wakeman aficionado will surely have to get this for the beautiful piano-based pieces, everyone else will have to give the decision some very serious thought.

Similar artists: Yes, Starcastle

Your Move (7:31) / Wondrous Stories (7:51) / Long Distance (7:14) / Don't Kill The Whale (4:08) / Close To The Edge (7:36) / Roundabout (13:19) / The Meeting (4:12)

Rick Wakeman - Grand piano, synthesizers

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 18th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.rwcc.com
Hits: 800
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]