Rick Wakeman - Moogfest 2004 - Catherine Parr

B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, New York, USA
Tue, May 18, 2004

Catherine Parr is a song with lots of room for improvisation and different arrangements: Rick has already played it with a horn section (in the 70s), with choir, with long guitar solos.
But to me the definitive version is this one, from Moogfest.
Rick writes on his site:
Sometime way back at the beginning of the year, I had been asked to perform at Moogfest, a celebration of 50 years of the Moog Synthesizer in the honoured presence of Dr. Bob Moog at a club called Ben E Kings on 42 nd Street in New York. By pure coincidence the show was to take place on my birthday and, as I had nothing else planned for my birthday, (well when you reach 55 you start trying to forget how old you are) , it seemed like a really good idea.....and so it turned out to be as well.
The world and his uncle seem to be taking part in the evening and it was brilliantly organized as well. There was a wonderful party atmosphere and the camaraderie was amazing. I was playing just the one piece, (a very long version of Catherine Parr), and had a pretty amazing band performing with me containing some of the top New York session boys and to say they were “good” would be the understatement of the year! Jason from Dream Theater joined me as well to play the parts that Adam used to play years ago and all went swimmingly well. Korg were amazing in sorting out keyboards for me to go with the mini-moog and my great friend, ex NYPD detective Billy Burns, was on hand to “look after me” and keep me out of trouble, which he certainly did!
As I went on stage I was unexpectedly followed by Bob Moog and Keith Emerson, the latter playing Happy Birthday on the Moog synthesizer and then in front of a very enthusiastic crowd I was presented with a huge cake on a huge stand by a very pretty scantily dressed young lady with huge........well, some things are best left to your imagination I think!

Jordan Rudess, from Dream Theater, played keyboards with him, and I suppose the other musicians were the backing band for Moogfest (James Genus on Bass and Gene Lake on Drums). But the important here are Rick's fast fingers, doing some of the best moog improvisations I've ever heard.
This live record was sent to me by a keyboardist friend, who calls attention to Rick's "fan fingers", that is, the ultra-fast hand whose fingers open and close like a fan, a technique common in Bach.

No need to say the audience to Moogfest was crazy during Rick's performance. One review says: "Until Bob Moog came along, we (keyboard players) were hidden in the background. He gave us an instrument that can cut through concrete and frighten guitarists to death," growled Rick Wakeman, the hulking, platinum-blonde keyboard player for the progressive rock band Yes.

The following video shows Rick's conversation with Bob Moog (recently dead) and some seconds of Catherine Parr, where we can see Jordan Ruddess's bald head behind Rick. But don't forget to download the complete song!

Link on comments!


Martini said...

Catherine Parr - Moogfest 2004

Anonymous said...

The sound of the Moog really is fantastic, its texture and strength, were a revolution in music, and the weapon with which talents like Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, the largest battles fought in the history of rock music.

Great version Catherine Parr.

Thanks for the post.

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Anonymous said...

What's up, Sebast Here, I enjoy this joint I could definitely get stuck here.