Concert Review: Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman, Ridgefield Playhouse, November 2, 2011

We shared an intimate evening with legendary progressive rock artists, Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman this past Wednesday night. The two former members of Yes leveraged their warm affinity for each other’s musical heritage effectively resulting in  a well-articulated collaboration.

Jon Anderson is the vocal heart of Yes. His gentle spirituality combined with his passion for Mother Earth endears you to him. The music he has co-written with Rick Wakeman,  The Living Tree is a notable departure from the Yes classics we know and love. The songs are light, yet provocative in their assimilation.

I especially liked the interweaving of Yes songs with Anderson & Wakeman songs. I found that to be a very effective method to transfer accessibility to The Living Tree compositions.

A high point of the evening that showed me the superior depth of the vast Yes catalog was the song  “Awaken” from the Going For The One album.  The synergy of Jon’s rich vocal instrument in direct harmony with Rick’s keyboard mastery produced a transfixing interlude. I have read that “Awaken” is Rick Wakeman’s favorite Yes selection. I have gained first hand insight why Rick Wakeman values this composition.  I watched him in close pursuit as his fingers nimbly traveled over the keys, accenting the music’s edges as the respected maestro.

We found Rick Wakeman’s British humor refreshingly entertaining.

My wife especially liked the song, Garden. She loves Jon Anderson’s articulation as he equates the planting of flowers in the garden with how loving a relationship can center us all.

It was meant to be that Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson sent us home with a romantic song for our hearts, “The Meeting” from the album that features the collaborative genius of Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe. I was reminded of this video as Rick Wakeman played the piano and Jon Anderson sang to us.

Surely I could tell
When I sleep tonight
A dream will call
And raise it’s head in majesty
Dividing all my energy
To the meeting of your love

Set List

Set 1

1. Intro – 2001 A Space Odyssey

2. Starship Trooper (Yes)

3. Sweet Dream (Yes)

4. Forever

5. And You and I (Yes)

6.  Living Tree (Part 1)

7. Long Distance Runaround (Yes)

8. America (Simon & Garfunkel Cover)

9. Garden

10. Living Tree (Part 2)

12. Time and a Word (Yes)

Intermission

Set 2

13. South Side of the Sky (Yes)

14. Wondrous Stories (Yes)

15. Just One Man

16. Nous Sommes Du Soleil (Yes)

17. Leaves of Green (Yes)

18. 23/24/11

19.  Your Move (Yes, Singalong)

20. I’ve Seen All Good People (Yes, Singalong)

21. House of Freedom

22. Awaken (Yes)

Encore

23. Roundabout (Singalong)

24. Soon (Yes)

25. The Meeting (Yes)

One Reply to “Concert Review: Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman, Ridgefield Playhouse, November 2, 2011”

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