27 years, 2 months and 24 days ago
Monday, March 4, 1996
San Luis Obispo, California
Edward's Fremont Theater
i was at a gas station down the street from the fremont late that night. the ground started to rumble. my brother asked, "is that an earthquake" i said, "no, it's the closing section of awaken."
Doug & Glenn Gottlieb
What was originally planned as a night for “dressed rehearsal” became the debut show for the newly reformed classic Yes lineup of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Alan White. The band hit the stage at San Luis Obispo’s Fremont theater, performing for nearly 3 hours.
Concert staples such as Roundabout and I’ve Seen All Good People were performed with such enthusiasm and vigor that the entire capacity crowd was up and dancing in the aisles. But it was the intense performance of Paul Simon’s America that whipped the already exuberant crowd into a frenzy. Feeding back on the energy from the crowd, guitarist Steve Howe seemed to be jolted off the ground. Fingers flying about the guitar, Howe began hopping across the stage like a cross between Chuck Berry and Roger Rabbitt. Howe’s energy and obvious enjoyment pushed the crowd higher. This give and take was one of the nights most exhilarating moments. The song drew a thunderous standing ovation, as did the band’s mesmerizing performance of The Revealing Science of God.
Jon Anderson, in particularly good spirits and fine voice, introduced Revealing with a story about how the tune was the one song he insisted the band learn for these shows. Jon brought Revealing to the table with the idea of shortening and revising the epic, but Steve Howe insisted the band learn and perform the tune in its entirety. It was the first time Yes perfomred the song in over two decades.
Jon coaxed the crowd into singing Happy Birthday to Chris Squire, who was celebrating his birtth with a few hundred friends.
The shows became more and more polished with each performance, and the set list remained the same. By all counts, the third and final show was the tightest, and most intense. Fortunately, the video crew had stepped up to the higher end equipment for the final night, adding additional crew members as well. The band delivered a fantastic performance. All three shows were recorded and video-taped for what promises to be a stellar live album.
Please check back with the Yes Magazine web page! YES Magazine will debut a selection of the 1,500+ color photos we took over the course of the week. We’ve got some amazing shots of the band on stage and behind the scenes, as well as photos of the crowd, the town, the fans -- the whole event.
Yes Magazine will be devoting Volume 6, Issue No. 1 to this incredible week. Look for it in the spring.
I was lucky enough to be there opening night (Monday). It *was* incredible - they were energetic and very tight. The setting was intimate, but with a large enough crowd to create some significant energy of their own.
The set list included Close to the Edge, And You and I, Onward, and a very interesting version of Paul Simon's "America". The two encores were Roundabout and Starship Trooper. About mid-way through the ~3 hour set, Jon led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to Chris, which he seemed to enjoy...
All in all, an incredible experience...
Well, just to relive it again, here is one fan's experience. I'm only familiar with the early stuff, Fragile and Yessongs and mostly because of Mr. Howe's 'Clap,' 'Mood For A Day' and other mostly acoustic work so it was a treat to have him put on a guitarist's clinic at Premier Music here in town. Ripped it up of course and he's a good story-teller. Handled the solo gig beautifully...played his Tele and Taylor only.
So, tickets were sold-out of course and then the 3/4 show was added. Line started at about 11 am Sat. I considered going down at midnight but got lazy, blew it off. Maybe, should have gone. I hear it was a real pary and Mr. Howe showed-up and sat on a friend's car to serenade the faithful.
Thought I would go for a phone order Sun. @ 11am even though it was considered impossible. It was. Called a friend who was on the set-up crew to razz a little and he says to try again, he was just there and maybe something was available. This is about 1pm Sun. I call. Yes, there are tickets. No, no phone-orders. I have to drive ten-miles, will there be any left? Probably, can't promise. I dawdle. Is this worth it? Is my AMEX card still good? I call, it is. I leave a half-hour later and arrive at Boo-Boo's about 1:45pm. Nobody in line. The salesguy is taking a phone-order(!) Seats have been released for all three shows because of the famous shrinking scaffolding. I get a Tues. ticket. 2nd to last row, aisle seat.
Later that evening I go down to watch the crew start tearing out the seats. They can't start until 5pm. They have about 24-hours to turn the exquisitely beautiful Fremont Theatre into 650-seat sound-stage. BTW 650x50x3 equals production costs.
Mon. 3/5. With expensive tourist camera in hand and cool-looking leather jacket for attitude I go back to the theatre and do a quick hustle past the door-guard. I start with the room control board and quickly make my way to the stage. Nobody gets in my way; I belong here. On stage I'm snapping away like crazy. Rick's ancient Moog synthesizers. Chris and Steves amps and footpedals. I'm on the drum-stand when a very British voice snaps, "Do you belong here!?" I have just met Graham, Yes' production manager.
David M. Tratt
Part of the anticipation for this show was definitely the 200 mile drive north to San Luis Obispo from L.A. Once past Santa Barbara the gently rolling, occasionally rugged landscape becomes a pure pleasure to drive through, even in the driving rain that whipped up at one stage. Seemingly the members of Yes feel the same way, since they have selected this area in order to connect with their current 'muse.'
The opening night concert at the Fremont Theater got underway a little after 8:15 and wound up almost three hours later at 11:10 after two encores.
First night nerves were apparent at times, but the band began to hit their stride with "I've Seen All Good People." Personal highlights for me were "And You and I" (great to hear Steve going through his paces on this once again), "Awaken" (sublime), and "Starship Trooper" - a fine workout for both band and audience alike.
I have recently returned from a very magical time in SLO. I agree with Mike Tiano, this was definitely a dream-like experience. I attended all 3 shows and I was very happy with the set that they played. I too, would have liked to hear SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY, and LEAVES OF GREEN-NOUS SOMMES DU SOLEIL, but hey, how can you complain with this set from this line-up.
I was in heaven when I heard them go into REVEALING SCIENCE, and I'm sure everyone who was in the theatre with me was there too. Despite the little glitches that showed up here and there, the overall experience was something that I am very glad I was part of.
It was also great to meet with all of you wonderful fellow Yes-fans. I am from the Vancouver, Canada area, and I met with very nice people from all over the U.S., including Seattle, Idaho, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Maine, Vermont, Wisconsin, and many other places. I also met some people from my own home area.
In short, it was something I will remember for a long time, and I would certainly like to do something like that again.
As this issue of Notes is going to be given to the band to read, I would like to include a message for them as well. Simply put, THANK YOU!!!! Thank you for all of the years that I have enjoyed listening to your music. I hope there will be many more in the future. I had the privilege of meeting briefly with most of you and it was great to be able to meet you in person. I hope to be able to see you perform many more times in the future.
I'm sure all of the people who were in SLO know very well the emotions that I am feeling about this event. Wasn't it great!!! I hope to have the opportunity to meet with you again at some future Yes-event.
Another thing was that they played Onward. This song was a life preserver to me when I was going through some hard times. It always made me feel safe and cradled in a better place and became my personal anthem. I was touched that they played it.
And, best of all, I didn't have as rough a time going back to so-called real time after coming out of concert time because I found it beautiful amazing wonderful that Jon lives so near. Somehow, I feel more connected.
The thought, the memory, lingers so...
It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Not just the show, but seeing Rick walking down the street, Chris in the produce section of the supermarket, seeing that studio-bank with a hand written setlist on the floor.
Let me say this; the fact that I and others were able to get tickets for this experience via the net was a stroke of genius. It was orderly, fair and clearly someone thought this out as the selection of the seats as a whole were great.
I turn 41 in July this year...
I saw YES in the Fillmore East while I was growing up in NY (circa 1972) after FRAGILE was released. After that, I was forced to go to large arena's, wait in horrendous lines (or pay BIG $$ for tickets) to get a pair of seats, and then put up with the usual suspects at a concert who all had to stand up for the entire show.
I was so happy to find out the size of the theater in SLO, and the nature of the event those evenings, in that it was something special...and it most certainly was.
It's hard to describe the feeling that one gets when they hear music that they enjoy the most, listening to up front and personal, except to say it was a near out of body experience (complete with goosebumps during those melodic interludes). I will never forget it. Luckily, I was able to turn my girlfriend on to them ( she is 21) who had heard the music, but never seen them. She adored it too and is now a believer.
Jon's voice is quite mesmerizing and soothing and I wish he had simply spoken more to the audience. Perhaps the affair was so intimate to begin with that I half expected the whole band to just stop playing for a bit and talk with members of the audience because we were just so close to them.
I sincerely hope that YES decide to do this again, although I kinda know better. Things so magical, wonderful and emotionally uplifting like this happen rarely, but this moment in time will live forever locked in my memory for future replay.
It was truly a magical experience. I flew all the way from Miami FL. Did I fly the furthest??
We here in the U.K. are extremely sad and disappointed that we could not be in SLO to see such a wonderful sight. We sometimes feel we are getting our noses rubbed in it by certain people in the USA due to the fact that we rarely get to see YES these days. We have had to sit around frustrated whilst our friends in the US talked excitedly about attending the shows and then we dreaded the "Oh!, it was fantastic you should have been there, this happened that happened! WOW!" after it was all over.
I was totally fried that I could not be there. I can not fathom seeing the set list they played live at one time. It MUST have been a buzz...
I wonder how Rick feels about playing from TFTO?
San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune Tuesday, March 5, 1996
By Adam St. James
SAN LUIS OBISPO - Progressive rock, art rock call it what you will, it lived and breathed Monday night at the Fremont Theatre on Monterey Street, a full 20 years after being declared dead by the Sex Pistols.
In a grand reunion of classic '70s rock superstars the band Yes thrilled a rapt audience of approximately 650 with a three-hour concert that blurred the line between rock and symphony.
The concert was special because it marked the reunion of the fine musicians many loyal fans consider the ultimate of the three-decade-old band's several incarnations. Vocalist Jon Anderson, guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White hadn't performed together since the late '70s, with the exception of an early '90s tour that also featured members of other Yes lineups.
They came together at the Fremont Monday for the first of three concerts being recorded for a future album and video release Anderson moved to the Central Coast last summer, and the band has been rehearsing in town for several months. Loyal fans traveled from across the country to attend the performances.
Anderson, the group's principal songwriter and spiritual leader, sang with his unique soprano voice sounding as clear and brilliant as ever. Howe, clearly second-in-command staged a virtual clinic for string players, switching repeatedly between various electric and acoustic guitars, pedal steel guitar, and more exotic instruments.
The two led the five-member band through album-faithful renditions of often obscure material and the rare radio-friendly Yes track. Casual fans may have been left confused by songs like "Siberian Khatru," "Close To The Edge" and "Time And A Word," but casual fans were in the minority. Nearly every song was received with a standing ovation.
Lengthy solos, primarily by guitarist Howe and complex, syncopated rhythms, such as in the 18-minute "Close To The Edge," showed the band to be rehearsed and in control.
Background vocals by Howe and Squire blended harmoniously with Anderson, especially on "I've Seen All Good People," played early in the set.
Surprisingly, keyboardist Wakeman kept largely in the background most of the evening, his battery of electronic keyboards serving mostly as padding for Howe's solos.
Anderson, dressed all in white with a flowing white linen coat appeared at times almost priestly as he chatted between songs, explaining some of the band's origins and the meaning behind some of his lyrics. At one point in the show, after telling a humorous tale of how he first met bassist Squire he announced that it was Squire's birthday, and the crowd joined him in singing "Happy Birthday."
The venue itself, the beautifully restored Fremont Theatre, built in the 1940s, was the perfect setting for the band's artsy music.
Before leaving, Yes closed with rousing versions of two of the band's most well-known songs, "Roundabout" and "Starship Trooper."
Throughout the performance the musicians showed no sign of having lost the virtuosity that made them so popular two decades ago. Their technical mastery was matched, however with just enough heartfelt emotion and enthusiasm to make their fans' long wait all worthwhile.
Yes performs at the Fremont Theatre again tonight and Wednesday night. Both shows are sold out.