The Oliver Wakeman Band -
Coming To Town, Live In Katowice

(DVD 2008, 100:00, Metal Mind MMP DVD 0137)

The tracks:
  1- Donít Come Running
  2- Dangerous World
  3- The Agent
  4- Calling for You
  5- Three Broken Threads
  6- Burgundy Rose
  7- Motherís Ruin
  8- Enlightenment
  9- If Youíre Leaving
10- I Donít Believe in Angels
11- Wall of Water
12- Walk Away
13- Coming to Town

Oliver Wakeman Website        Metal Mind Records

Back in 1976, I was watching the movie Yessongs and found myself in the vintage keyboard heaven during Rick Wakeman's solo performance. Rick had long blond hair, wore a glitter cape and he stunned the audience with his virtuosity and creativity. Especially the mellotron part was mind-blowing symphonic rock magic that gave me goose bumps! I became a huge Rick Wakeman aficionado and one year later I saw 'the caped crusader' live during the Going For The One tour, one of the best prog rock gigs I have ever seen with Rick Wakeman parading between his huge array of keyboards, including five MiniMoogs! More than thirty years later Rick Wakeman has two grown up sons who are both professional keyboard players. I saw Adam on the DVD Live In Buenos Aires with father Rick, but I was not familiar with the work of Oliver, his other son.
While watching Coming To Town, a concert recorded in Poland by The Oliver Wakeman Band, the resemblance to his father, both visually and musically, is incredible. Oliver's sparkling piano runs, his flashy synthesizer flights, the expression on his face and the way he plays very much reminds me of Rick Wakeman junior! In the extra's you can find an interview with Oliver. He tells about his admiration for Jon Lord and for Deep Purple. The influence of the here fore mentioned names are obvious, while listening to this live DVD. You can describe singer Paul Manzi as a 'laidback version of Ian Gillan', while the powerful rhythm section and the heavy guitar work sound as those in Deep Purple. However, Oliver does not use the organ as much as John Lord did, he colours the melodic rock music very tastefully, but less abundant than his father. We hear dazzling and 'fat' sounding synthesizer runs and spectacular solos in Don't Come Running, Three Broken Threads, I Don't Believe In Angels and in the title track, with sensational use of the pitch bend button. On the other hand, you can hear sumptuous classical orchestrations in The Agent and again in Three Broken Threads, but also dreamy or sparkling piano sounds in Dangerous World and Enlightenment. In spite of those excellent keyboard escapades, Oliver remains a team player, but if you look at the camera positions, it is obvious why the band is named after the keyboard player! While watching this DVD I got more and more impressed by the very tasteful and professional melodic rock: from fluent mid-tempo songs to compelling bombastic songs, moving ballads and heavy prog like Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Steve Perry during the Journey-era. I am also very pleased with guitar player David Mark Pearce, who sounds like an archetypical rock guitarist, but much more varied. In the track Enlightenment, he gets plenty of room that he uses to the limit! In The Agent and the epic Wall Of Water, the interplay between the guitar and keyboards is awesome and exciting. This band really rocks. So do not expect prog rock or keyboard driven music, just enjoy this alternating and pleasant melodic rock performance, embellished with an inventive lightshow.

*** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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