Wakeman, Rick - Two Sides Of Yes,
Originally released as two separate volumes in 2001 and 2002, 2016 saw a reissue of both sets as a double CD set (missing only a ‘bonus’ video which was originally on Volume 1). The reason it is indicated as “Two Sides” is not for the number of discs, but rather there are two totally different approaches to the music contained within. Some of the interpretations feature just Rick on piano, while others feature Alan Thomson on bass and long-time collaborator Tony Fernandez on drums. Now, I have been a fan of both Wakeman and Yes for well over forty years and have managed to see both in concert twice, although unfortunately not on the same stage at the same time. To me this is a lost opportunity, in that the band versions don’t always add a great deal to the original, and sometimes are less. The first time I played Rick’s version of “Going For The One” I straight afterwards went to the original and played them back to back, with Rick’s sadly lacking in comparison.
But, they are pleasant enough even if they’re not essential, but the piano pieces are a revelation. Here classic numbers have been stripped, and then provided with totally new arrangements yet still staying true to the original. These are superb, and if these two discs were comprised solely of Rick providing piano variations of classic Yes numbers that this would be essential. As it stands, it is interesting to those like me who have followed both careers with interest for longer than they would really like to admit, but not as important as it could be.