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Rick Wakeman - Out There (DVD)

Rick Wakeman - Out There (DVD)Rick Wakeman’s Out There DVD has been a long time coming but when you consider the work that has gone into it you can understand why. 

When we spoke to Rick back in March 2002, he told us that he had been working on the Out There concept album for a year.  Classic Pictures filmed Rick and The New English Rock Ensemble against ‘blue screen’ for the DVD later that year, and Rick and the band took the show on an intensive tour in 2003 to promote the album which was released later in the year.

©Classic PicturesFrom filming the band, normally the end-point for most music DVDs bar the titles, menu design, artwork and DVD production, the production team at Classic Pictures have been busy selecting rare footage for inclusion from the NASA archives and creating high-end computer graphics, merging all three aspects (band, NASA footage, and graphics) to end up with the finished article.

The DVD is simply stunning.  The music, combined with the visuals, takes on a new dimension, clarifying the concept, which is all about the space that we know (e.g. the original lunar landing) and that which we don’t and have to bring our imagination into play.

It is not all serious, and tongue in cheek graphics, such as the space version of a 60’s VW camper van, add a touch of humour.

Other graphic elements, particularly those representing masses of dark suited non-earthly beings can either be sinister (like much of Pink Floyd’s The Wall) or benign depending on your viewpoint.  Are we alone out there?

©Classic PicturesThe NASA colour footage of the Eagle landing complete with audio (inserted during a break in the music) is a real treat and a reminder of man’s potential frailty when it comes to space exploration.

At the time of recording, Damian Wilson was in the role of vocalist but on the eve of the tour, bowed out due to concerns over the strenuous schedule and the effect it may have on his vocal chords.  Fortunately, ex New English Rock Ensemble member Ashley Holt came to the rescue.  Rick had composed Out There with Damian’s vocal range in mind so had to make some fine adjustments to the original score to accommodate Ashley’s vocal style.  This is explained by Rick in the special feature section of the DVD where we are also told of the concept behind Out There and more.

©Classic PicturesThe special feature incorporates footage of the tour, on stage in front of packed audiences and behind the scenes where the band relax with Viz (cynical and often satirical comic for adult intellectuals (arguably)) and peanuts. 

Fans of Rick who missed the last tour will be kicking themselves.

On stage, the musicians undoubtedly enjoy the camaraderie that has built up over the years and extract every last piece of energy and atmosphere in the music.  Lee Pomeroy’s bass fret board features LEDs in place of pearl inlay dots that appear to trigger in relation to Lee’s finger positions on the strings, emitting a purple-blue light.  Rick, sporting one of his resplendent capes, enlists the assistance of young ladies from the audience to hold his portable keyboard and the chance to see the master at work close up and a story to tell for years to come.

Technical Aspects

Sound, picture and graphics quality are excellent.  DTS sound is full of depth and should be used for optimum enjoyment, equipment permitting.  5.1 and stereo are useful options and sounded great on PC DVD playback (headphones used for stereo).

Package Features

The DVD has an easy to use no nonsense giving access to sound options, full main feature, individual tracks and the special feature.  The track listings for DVD are detailed on the inside and back cover of the DVD tray.

The DVD is multi region PAL, 16:9 aspect ratio (widescreen television standard, not ‘letterbox’) Dolby© Digital 5.1, DTS or Stereo, total running time approximately 100 minutes.

Cat No:  DVD6099X.

Summary

Out There DVD breaks the tradition of the typical ‘concert’ type video and the rock opera film (Tommy, The Wall…).  The artistic task of the director is to not only capture the moment (relevant to concert types) but also maximise the enjoyment of the viewer by enhancing the music and performance through visuals.  Real space footage and graphics has been used to great effect in this DVD and it works.  Just one thing was missing that would have done it total justice; a 60” plasma screen.

Out there DVD is released in the UK and Europe on 15th March 2004.  Canadian, US and Australian formats will follow in due course (check Classic Pictures website for details).

Jem Jedrzejewski

(All pictures on this page are ©Classic Pictures)

Rick Wakeman website

Classic Pictures website

 

 

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