13 years, 11 months ago
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Universal City, California
I have been a YES fan since 1972, and I saw them for the first on the Tales Tour in 1974 at the Inglewood Forum. That experience changed my life and made me into a die-hard Yes fan. I have every album, box set, CD, and even a signed copy of Tales. I have seen them 16 times in concert, including 90125, Union, Big Generator, Relayer, Talk, etc.
I have seen them at their best (Anaheim- 1977) and their worst (Big Generator- Greek Theater- 90ís), and everything in the middle.
Last night was a blast! We sat in the Mezzanine, front row, which was sparsely populated, and we had an unobstructed view of the stage. The sound is always better upstairs at the Gibson (this I know from seeing over 150 shows there).
The high point: Carl Palmer and Fanfare. Asia was tight, well rehearsed, and very clean.
Yes was astounding, and Benoit David was fantastic. Oliver Wakeman was good as well, though more legato in his technique than his father. The choice of material was excellent, though I would have preferred anything from Tales in lieu of the Drama piece.
Going to Yes concert is like going to church, always a mystical experience draped in ritual. Certain songs must always be played for the faithful, but as others have commented, with the song book of material they have, one could be there for weeks, before they ran out of tunes.
If they come back to LA, I will be there. There are a lot of middle age people out there, who like myself, were once again 18, for a few hours, anyway.
I've been a Yes fan for decades, but haven't seen them live since the 9012Live tour in the early eighties. I made the mistake of going to a GTR concert a few years later and not wearing earplugs, which gave me a bad case of tinnitus, and have been leery of attending rock concerts ever since. But after passing up many Yes tours in the last couple of decades I figured I would finally see them one more time before time caught up with them (and me).
As I've aged the question of whether rock musicians can continue to play at a level matching their youthful prime has fascinated me, and my general impression of the Yes concert videos I've seen since the eighties was that the band had inevitably lost their edge, which I suppose was only natural. Rock music is a young person's genre.
So perhaps it was due to low expectations, but I thought they played great last night at Universal City, and as a long-time fan I'm very gratified they they're not just milking it. I often ask myself if I would get sick of playing "And You and I" or "Heart of the Sunrise" for the zillionth time, but the songs have held up and I think that's what keeps the band members going.
If you consider the veteran members of Yes are 60+ years old it's pretty amazing; Steve Howe, in particular, has to be acknowledged as one of the greatest guitarists in the history of rock music. But regardless of the age of the band I think someone walking in off the street--perhaps only familiar with "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Roundabout"--and expecting a good show would have been impressed. A couple with two teen-age sons was sitting next to me, and one of the sons declared the concert "awesome" afterwards. Yes, the sound mix had problems, but Benoit David's voice fits Yes music perfectly (even the Trevor Horn songs), and it was great to see some youthful energy on the stage. Oliver Wakeman was not demonstrative but he can play, and replacing his legendary father must be daunting. And I have to say that wearing earplugs helps. I love Steve Howe, but he does tend to play in the upper register a lot.
In an interview for the YesYears video Rick Wakeman said he thought Yes should be an ongoing musical entity, like a symphony orchestra that gradually replaces individual musicians over the years but still maintains continuity. That may not happen with rock bands like Yes, unfortunately, but seeing them with a couple of younger members gives one hope that this great music will continue to be performed live in the years to come.
"The Steve Howe Show"
Or maybe it should be called "A night with Steve Howe and Friends". But what an awesome night it was. To those who complain, you have your opinion. But the truth seems to me, that these guys even get out there and hammer it out is quite amazing. I hope to have their energy when I'm 60 plus!
Steve was spot on all night. The set with Asia was fun, a nice opener for Yes. Carl Palmer's energy was infectious and Wetton's vocals were great. It would have been nice if Downes had sat in on Yes for a tune, after all, he was a member. In the Court of the Crimson King was fantastic, hard to believe Fripp gave his blessing for that one, but Steve did him justice.
As for this Yes line up...I've seen worse. This was my 22nd or 23rd Yesshow. For those of us that have been fans for 35 or more years, Yes becomes fluid. Steve came and went, Trevor (both of them) came and went, Billy too, Bill came and went (and by the way he is officially retired, so stop asking for him to return), Rick, Geoff, Tony, Igor came and went, and even Jon has had his time apart. The one constant is Chris, and as long as he is there, it'll still be YES.
I've admired them all for years and one or two miss steps isn't going to stop me from telling everyone...DON"T MISS THIS SHOW. It's worth it just to hear And You and I and Starship Trooper. And Machine Messiah, the unsung epic!
Thanks to Yes for continuing what is obviously a fan driven tour. Because God knows, they will never get the respect from the music industry that they deserve. THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME IS A SHAM! They refuse to acknowledge Prog Rock, even though ARTIST'S like this go out there year after year and put their work out there time and again to fans who LOVE IT!
Thanks again for a great time!
The show was overall very good. The new singer held up to expectations. Chris and Steve were amazing as always. Alan can still pound it out!
On the down side the sound was way too loud and the mix was not great. Chris's bass drowned out the vocals and keyboards on many occasions.
Having see Yes over 25 times since 1977, I can say it was a good overall show but could have been better.
WOW, what happened to all the new reviews?!? Okay, I shall recap my YES and Asia experience from July 7th.
My expectations had been lowered somewhat by negative reviews leading up to this performance. However, a few days before the show I scored 2 Awesome Seats 2 rows from Steve Howe, and knew I was in for another great evening of prog-rock, regardless if it was a mediocre Yesshow, or not.
I am glad to say that my youngest son, Anthony (13) said that he wanted to go with me and that he has always liked the prog I have listened to over the years...this was his 1st real rock concert experience ever!
First up was ASIA...I never got into these guys over the years...they were like Diet-Prog, compared to YES and ELP, the bands that spawned them. ANyways, may the GOdz-Of Prog forgive me. I discovered this beautiful night that ASIA, in fact kick some serious ass, and I am glad I got to realize this before it was too late!!! In fact, they very much reminded me of some of the ELP shows I have attended over the years! Wetton is terrific on bass and vocals...Howe was great...Carl Palmer is still Phenomenal..GEoff Downes is superb!! Great opening act...one of the coolest match-ups in ages!! Me and my son both loved their show!
Now on to YES! FOrget the negative hooplah about Benoit David not being "as good as Jon"...blah-blah.. THis guy is an excellent YES frontman and deserves a standing ovation for his contribution
to the current tour. And Oliver Wakeman is very solid...his low-key approach to the music let other band members shine in a BIG way...this was a more ROCKIN' Yesshow that usual. Chris was magnificent, as was Steve, as usual. ALan rocked, too!! THe whole band was really into the performance and it is hard to pick the highlights because every song was played so well. ANd You and I plus Heart of the Sunrise were natural highlights...however the "new" material was all fucking INTENSE!!! Seriously, Astral Traveller, Tempis Fugit, and Machine Messiah were proof that Yes is still Actively CREATING and ADDING to their timeless material and not just going through the motions. Like I said , they were Really INTO IT!!! TO BE Over, being plucked precisely by Howe just 15 feet in from of my face was almost surreal!
My son Absolutely Loved the show, and so did I. I want to Thank BOTH bands for a Great Evening of Progressive Rock-and-Roll! And YEs fans, Please, give Benoit and Oliver Wakeman a Break! These guys did a great job and deserve all of your support! SO Jon and RIck couldn't make it this time...we couldn't have done any better than Oliver and Benoit David..no way!
was truly special....aren't they all, pretty much? My Grade for the whole event... ASIA 7.5+ YES 9 Overall...Hell....with those seats we had, I'll just go ahead and give it a 10! SINcerely, JIM MYERS ( a YES-fan of 29 years now)
Ps...I noticed a baragge of great reviews of this show and each one after this which
showed me that fans ( and perhaps even the bands) started getting more INTO-IT around this time... Word of note...FOr a Great YES-show...perhaps avoid places like HOUSE OF BLUES for future YES-shows. THey really are an ARENA band and so is ASIA!
'Nuff said: Enjoy the SHow!!!
NOTICE (July 25): A substantial data corruption occurred some time between July 22 and 24, which wiped out almost all information for the second leg of the "In the Present" USA tour. Unfortunately there was no backup recent enough to regenerate the lost data (more frequent backups are now being instituted). The lost dates and setlists have been reconstituted manually, but the reviews cannot be regenerated except by fans re-submitting them, which we encourage. FY regrets the inconvenience.