24 years, 11 months and 3 days ago
Monday, July 6, 1998
Riverbend Music Center Amphitheatre
I had just come back from a family vacation which should have been fun but I was in the midst of losing a girlfriend to another guy so I was in the depths of depression. Yes music has gotten me through some rough times and I really needed this concert to get her off my mind. It just so happens that the buddy I was going with had been divorced for a little while and wanted his ex-wife back. So I guess we were in the same boat.
It was a beautiful summer evening and I knew that Yes were going to take me away for awhile. The crowd was very laid back. I was holding no expectations. I was not going to critique at all but just enjoy myself.
Close to the Edge really hammered home why these guys are still around for 30 years. Who creates songs anymore like Close to the Edge? That's right, nobody. Kids today want their music spoon-fed to them and any song that is over 3 minutes would be completely ignored.
Anyway, I really enjoyed America and Steve really shined. I remember him having a little trouble with his guitars but I didn't care. Alan's drums really sounded crisp that night and I enjoyed concentrating on his bass pedal. He really is a master with that bass pedal. I think there is just something more special in seeing YES at an outside venue. Having a nice summer breeze running through combined with the upbeat mentality of YES music, there really isn't anything better.
After Roundabout, I felt all my troubles would come crashing back to me, but they didn't. I felt energized and ready to get on with my life. About a month later I was packing my bags to go to Atlanta to see Yes again. I don't hesitate to travel to see YES. While I was packing my previous girlfriend asked to come back to me....................
Well, once again the boys put on an energy packed show. Same set list as the rest of the tour.
-Igor's keys seemed a bit muddied. Kind of hard to distinguish each and every note he was playing, especially during CTTE. (can you believe people were LEAVING before and during this song???)
-The surround sound system was under-utilized, in my opinion. When it was being used, it was fantastic! The effect made the music touch another dimension. (AP used it for the middle part of "psychobabble")
-I'm always amazed that concert goers have to keep themselves entertained during a concert. They need to get beer, they need to smoke, they need to talk...dancing and singing is ok, since it's music related. But then again, I know a bunch of people around me seemed to be there JUST for a particular song. (Two women, dressed as if they set the way-back machine to 1984, went into hypersonic spaz alert when OoaLH began. They didn't move the rest of the show.)
-Chris is the man.
-Billy won't get the respect he deserves until they turn his mic and guitar up a bit.
-Jon needs to tell different stories before the songs!! :)
-Steve played great, but looked a little tired.
-Alan still has power.
-YIND, CTTE, SK, LDR/TF were my highlights.
-Alan Parsons was an ok opener, kind of nice, mellow music to get yourself in the mindset. (The singer looked like he was trying to appeal to a younger audience by his outfit. Not Alan!!!! :) )
All and all, a great evening of music. All I can say is if Mind Drive ever gets played this tour, there BETTER be a live CD release including it!!!
The Yes show last night in Cincinnati, Ohio, was very impressive -- even better than the last time around. The crowd was *REALLY* into the show, almost to a surprising extent, and I think Jon and the rest were really feeding off the crowd's energy.
Alan Parsons, I must say, I was very impressed with. I have liked Parsons for some time, but had never had the chance to see them live. They put on an awesome show which, according to Parsons himself, included this tour's debut of "Psychobabble." Is that correct? The only thing I was a little disappointed with in Parsons' set is that only one track from "On Air," the latest Parsons album, was played. He did make mention that this album is available in surround sound format as well, so I guess that makes 2 now.
Yes took the stage after the Firebird Suite (as always) -- it was a little more impressive during the opener of the last Yes show I saw in a smaller theater setting, since they had a huge Yes backdrop covering the front of the stage, so you couldn't see the guys make their entrance.
The show itself and the overall setlist and musicianship were top notch. They absolutely nailed "And You And I" -- best version of the song I have ever heard, anywhere. The reworkings and additions to "Rhythm" and "Owner" made them definitely worth having in the setlist. I had griped about why exactly they were doing "Rhythm" especially, since they have many newer songs of comparable length that Howe actually took some part in, but after seeing it last night, I'm not sure I'd want to substitute for it! It was almost like a "metal" version of the song! Not quite, of course, but *much* heavier.
And for those of you who saw Yes shows w/o "Owner," you missed out on a very nice and again much harder rocking version. Steve was on fire throughout the entire song, adding speed guitar bits to speed the tempo. And the closer of the song -- all I can say is "WOW." Maybe there is a comparable version on the VH-1 taping. I can only hope so.
It goes without saying, but "Close To The Edge" was remarkably well-done. Beautiful lighting effects, and brilliant playing.
Jon had a LOT to say last night, even more so than last time. He was talking about Yes carrying on into the 21st century, and specifically said that they would be returning to Cincinnati *NEXT YEAR*!! Which says to me that they might very well be working on another studio album. This is hardly unlikely, I think, given Jon's work ethic -- how many projects and albums has he been involved in within the last 2-3 years, anyway? Every time I turn around he's releasing another solo album.
Anyway, it was a GREAT show in every possible way. Stop the setlist bickering and just enjoy it. If you can't enjoy this one due to the fact that you wish they'd play "Soundchaser" rather than "America" then there's something wrong.
Crowd: Sparse, but loud. The pavilion was about 3/4 full, the lawn was spread out. I'd guess 4,000 people were in attendance, a better turnout than the 2,500 or so at Taft Theatre last November, but obviously not a sellout. The orchestra was very active, on their feet, the lawn and rear of the pavilion more sedate.
The Band: on fire!
Jon: much more down-to-earth and personable than last time. Sporting a beard and ponytail, his wardrobe has changed quite a bit--he wore a light blue shirt and a pair of loose white pants. I think he was wearing sandals, too. He interacted quite a bit with the crowd between songs and, as has been noted elsewhere, played a lot of auxillary percussion.
Chris: last year more bark than bite. This year, his bass cashes the check his mouth wrote (so to speak). His solo on "Heart of the Sunrise" was spot-on perfect and his work on the other tracks, notably "America" and "Roundabout" was bombastic and dynamic. He was attired in the traditional spandex with slippers. He took off the fantastic cape after "Yours is No Disgrace", I believe. The "Whitefish" wankfest from last year was streamlined and the first five minutes of the solo were very reminiscent of the revelatory YESSONGS solo. Appeared, as always, to be having a blast and as ever is the consumnate showman.
Steve: no sombrero on "Long Distance Runaround". That was the only dissappointment from Steve. His solo on "Siberian Khatru" was more developed and longer than ever. His "Ram/Clap" solo was extremely well-received, and I can easily understand why he has been the star of the tour thus far. Except tonight.
Igor: WOW! He is miles ahead of last year's performance, both in actual playing and in stage presence. Simply put, this guy combines the chops of Wakeman and Emerson with the funk and cool nature of Tony Kaye. His solo on "Close to the Edge", THE most important keyboard part of the show, was pulled off better than any live version I've ever heard--Wakeman or Moraz. The Moog part was perfect, and the much-maligned transition to "Seasons of Man" came off highly naturally. Igor has way too much funk for Yes, I'm afraid! His stage presence was tremendous, he was dancing about behind his keyboards, playing some of the Wakeman parts with one hand while banging a cymbal. With his long hair and dancing behind the keyboards, he is very reminscent of a young Wakeman.
Billy: He was there, too. Seriously, he adds a lot to the vocal harmonies, and he got several solos on the Yeswest tracks, which he pulled off nicely. (I'm not supposed to say this as a "Howe fanboy", but I think he may have conquered the master on the "Rhythm of Love" solo contest.)
Alan: Heard a rumor he wasn't feeling well but he was consistent and spotless as ever. Was actually wearing shorts during the show--looked to be working pretty hard, as well.
The Sound: The engineer on this show deserves a bear hug. This was the cleanest, most perfectly mixed concert I have ever attended at Riverbend or anywhere else. While the DTS effects were only evident in a couple of places (Howe's wah-wah in "Yours"), I believe that the system had the dual effect of separating the instruments and providing a clean, wonderful sound quality. The volume was perfect, as well--I had no trouble hearing every subtlety of the music, but wasn't worried about going deaf, either.
The APP came on almost exactly at 7:00 and played a 50 minute set.
The OYE ambient track came on at about 8:00, and the Firebird started about fifteen minutes later.
Yes played until 11:00, roughly two hours and forty minutes. Basically, this was a slightly streamlined, harder hitting version of last fall's tour. All the songs that have been played thus far on tour were included, none were edited. All in all, this show was as long and expansive as last year's, with the added aspect that the setlist was much more "rockin'", and the band was