Hi Richard Pachter, your review is in the original concert-file, which I did obtain 15 years ago. Very interesting! Best, Jeroen
FY isn't for reviews of reviews...I'd rather see just the reviews by those who were at the show, not the commentary on them by people who weren't there. So I've deleted the least useful/temperate of the posts from this thread. I kept Mr. Pachter's because he was, you know, ACTUALLY AT THE SHOW. Kept a few others just to provide context for his replies.
If anyone who wasn't at the show has a *factual* correction of a review, always feel free to post it. "Yes is NOT boring, you meanie", is not a factual correction.
Hilarious. On one hand, we have someone preaching for open-mindedness, then for partisanship.
I think that's the perfect microcosm of your argument.
I like a variety of music, but would have preferred to see acts that are complementary to each other at the same concert. For example, if Commander Cody had been on the bill instead of Yes (just sayin') they would have complemented J. Geils; they approach rock and roll from the country side, and Geils from r&b. It's not a complicated idea.
A diverse variety of acts work better in a festival setting, imho.
But this is a Yes site, so forgive me for departing from your orthodoxy.
If you like Yes, bravo.
I still don't.
D. A. Payne
Even though it would be another 5 years before I found out who and what Yes were, I had to weigh in on this one [see reviews and reviews of reviews in other posts below].
"Boring" best defines most straight rock & roll, then as now [see: G. Geils Band; very young and nasal indie bands circa 2006]. Repetition of the simplest phrasing, near total lack of either musical skill or imagination, lead "singers" with awful voices and worse sense of melody, etc. are its hallmarks.
Admittedly studio Yes could sometimes be rather "sterile", and their compositions usually became more developed or "filled out" on the road. Sterility does afflict technically proficient "rock" bands more frequently [see: ELP, King Crimson]. To be sterile an act usually has to have something truly musical about it, and so far less likely to be "boring" in the strictest sense.
Someone somewhere else on this site posted what may be the most important point of all, which I'll paraphrase from memory. Many professional, big publication rock "critics" have always seemed dedicated to keeping the medium as primitive, repetetive, [not even Delta] blues-based, and boring as possible. Hence mainstream rock today has become even more boring than ever, with a few notable exceptions but far fewer than in 1972. Such "critics" are largely to blame and likely get their "opinions" directly from record industry hacks.
There are exceptions of course in rebellious or altogether independent critics, and one such can be found at bottom of this very Webpage. In giving Yes their due, the reviewer makes one very relevant observation: they had virtuosity, imagination and vitality. Together the three work better than any does on its own.
Yeah, it was an "oddly-matched combination," because apparently in those days, genre-segregation didn't exist yet in popular music, and people were allowed to listen to all different styles and approaches. Would it were that we could have a rock concert nowadays with as diverse a line-up as that. By the way, Richard dear, sorry someone got upset about your review, but maybe you didn't notice that this is a Yes FAN site. Excuse us if we show a little partisanship.
I wrote the review on this page, published nearly 35 years ago and I stand by every word. (And my ears were quite clean!)
Seriously, though, whatever your feelings are about Yes, it was an oddly-matched combination. I'm sure we can at least agree on that!
bands by richard pachter
The J. Geils Band was in town recently, Sandwiched between the warmup band, and the top-billed act (Yes), they tore the house up with rock & roll, thrilling the soul.
Beginning at the beginning: good crowd, out for laughs and a good time, a lot of people, every seat was full of something and the bar did a fair business as the thing got underway. Upstairs, a group called Parkside did their very best and sounded, well, just all right. The heaviest thing they did was an ecology-rock song.
After a little while, the lights dimmed, the rockers cheered, and the J. Geils Band took the stage. The drummer wore hot pants, with purple leotards. The bassman had red shorts and a red top on, with knickers and Peter Wolf, the singer, wore a black outfit with sequins and a robe-like outer garment. What dudes. Wolf yelled out chants in Murry the Kmock-swahili. From "Icebreaker" to "Hard Drivin Man" staid, carpeted Kleinhans rocked.
If you've seen them before, you need no description, but if you haven't the band plays hard R'n'B, rocking right on away. They cruise for love, go to Floyds Hotel, first look at the purse, find a new love, cry one more time, and it serves you right to suffer. Their music is solid, competent, tight and makes you shout and move around. It is not progressive music, and has no pretensions in that directions. You should listen to it.
Well, it was pretty obvious that Yes must have been back stage peeing in their pants during the J. Geils set. I know people who swear by them, but I've listened to their albums without being terribly impressed. But one must keep an open mind, no? Funny thin, though; everyone kept referring to this concert as a J. Geils concert. not a Yes concert. After the former's set, I didn't see how the latter could follow. But my mind remained irresistibly, inflexibly open.
A ridiculous orchestral piece blared from the P.A., introducing Yes. They politely began "Roundabout," their latest single. Yes songs lilting harmonies over semi-complicated art rock. It's hard to see them as a rock & Roll band. They're not, although they occasionally play things similar to such music. This, per se is not such a bad thing, to play involved pieces, with vague, inane, pretentious lyrics. The band has no bottom, with the bass player noodling around, taking noisy solos, and the drummer flashing cymbals and tapping snares. But they were sterile and boring. Art is not supposed to bore, this is the worst thing it can do. Man, I was so incredibly bored by Yes - and then there was a drum solo! The bass player in a mod Madam Butterfly shirt, played a long, long solo, as well, and it gave me a headache.
Yes wasn't all bad though. The guitarist was very good and Rick Wakeman, on organ, piano, synthesizer and mellotron was busy and interesting. But all in all, Yes bummed me out. They should have been second billed, so Peter Wolf could yell "Baby, let's get cra-zy!" and the J. Geils Band would have rocked madly on.
Roof-raiser Double heaviness with Yes, J. Geils by Jerry Stablile Record feature writer
Yes and J. Geils came to Kleinhans a week late, but most people at the concert wished they could play forever.
Whenever you get two top name groups, you get two brands of audience. in this case there was the boogie and rockers for J. Geils and the rockers and listeners for Yes. Of course, some people enjoyed J. Geils more than Yes and Yes more than J. Geils, but both were superb in their style.
The J. Geils Band is hard drivin' rhythm and blues. They play rough music; music to rip your guts out. They came on stage dressed in really wild garb. Peter Wolf came out dressed in a foxy three layered black outfit, ready to sing his through out, and he did. They are great performers as well as great musicians. For solos they come to the edge of the stage; Wolf dances like there's no tomorrow and Magic Dick's athletics during solos is a sight to see. During a rock 'n 'roll solo he actually did a somersault, (shades of ShaNaNa.) At times, while one is soloing the others will be doing dance steps or be in a complete freeze. For heavy and powerful rhythm and blues they cannot be beaten. They're hot.
The only people that weren't affected by their frenzied brand of rhythm and blues were the parking lot attendants outside. People were standing, shaking, vibrating, or dancing, yes, dancing, in the aisles of the usually sober Kleinhans, even the ushers and bouncers. It was Magic Dick's solo harp song that brought the crowd to its feet from their already excited sitting position. From there the place shook as one until the end of their exiting set. The came back after a long ovation to do a long encore of two songs ending with "Hard Driving Man." That's what they were; hard driving men.
The lights are completely out. A fanfare of recorded orchestral music plays through the P.A. and while it reaches a climax, Yes walks out and begins to play "Roundabout," their latest single. yes is distinctive. The structure of their sound is as moving as a fine symphony. Jon Anderson's vocals are uniquely high pitched and pleasant. Their harmonies are as consistently beautiful as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's, but their music can be classified as both mind and body music.
The use of the mellotron, Moog synthesizer, Hammond organ, two electric pianos and a grand piano by Rick Wakeman provided the most interesting solo on the nigh, as well as some beautiful stringed and organ effects during "Heart of the Sunrise" from the Fragile album.
A guitar solo song, "Clap" by Steve Howe from The Yes Album showed that his talents range from good time C&W to accomplished classical style guitar playing. Chris Squire's bass solo was unique. Although it was a bit too lengthy, it was well structured and powerfully played. He turns the treble up on his bass to create the unique sound that you hear on all the Yes albums. For a low bass sound during his solo he used bass pedals operated by his feet while his hands produced a tremendously exciting solo.
Bill Bruford, the drummer, added much accent during the songs and came through with a really nice solo. Overall their smooth sound is quite pleasant and emotional and definitely all their own.
Rockin' the roof J. Geils shakes up the crowd by Billy Altman and Tom Bogucki
Lettin' go in Buffalo is not the easiest thing for a Kleinhans audience to do. Groups come and go and even the likes of Eric Clapton have failed to induce, seduce or reduce the crowd to even a mild frenzy in the sterile atmosphere of the big K. And so, when it does happen, as it did last night with the boys from Beantown, you take notice. Not only did J. Geils and his band of desperados shake things up, they shook things sideways, over, under and down.
It comes as no surprise to any rock 'n' roll lunatic (and you better believe we're crazy), that such things should happen when a group like J. Geils steams into town. These guys do it, plain and simple. No bullshit, no long, boring solos, no intellectualizing, non sense. Just a super heavy dosage of good, dirty rock 'n' roll.
They know where the magic of the music lies, and they know how to do it, because it doesn't matter what you do. If you know how to do it. They're out front, all the time, playing music that drives you nuts. And they're the most energizing, inspired band I've heard since the Stones, whom they undoubtedly must be compared to, both live and on record.
A. J. Geils set always begins with "Sno-Cone," a crazy little thing that features knockout solos by everyone, each no longer than two minutes. And such class - a drum solo on the first tune. And, god, do they dress up for the folks. I mean, they care about you and me. Like the Wolf said before the double encore number: "We don't take the money and run. We stick around and have some fun."
Magic Dick is gonna disappear soon, he's lost so much weight. How his body holds up that head of frizz I'll never know. J. wears his black silk "gangster of love" shirt and he's quite a good looking guy without his hair greased back. The silent one, Danny Klien, has his red jump suit on and the customary bass player's hat. Stephen Bladd was simply outrageous in hot pants, jeans and red tights. And considering how often the drummer stands up so you can see him ... Class.
'I said wait!' So after the instrumental, the Wolf enters. Long black outfit, buttoned down the front, the shades, silver boots made for sliding, the works. The band wails into "Wait," one of the best bar songs ever written. They yell, "Wait!" and they stop the music for the beat or two. Tongues, as Meltzer would say. The beautify of successful rock, anticipation and expectation rewarded by deliverance and climax. As a matter of fact, the new live rendition of "Cry One More Time," with the whole band freezing for agonizing seconds before release, was just incredible.
They did all their usual killers, and then some. The little raps by the Wolf were a joy. ooba Looba, etc. "Right about here, we usually do a few selections from West Side Story, but lately, we've been getting thousands of telegrams asking for some tunes from Jesus Christ Superstar." J. plays the JC theme in the background. Later, a recreation of the Last Supper. "Judas says, 'I want some,' Peter says, 'Take me with you when you go, baby'." The band takes off, lookin' for a love: Later, a testimony is in order'.
"Three years ago, this man couldn't walk, he couldn't talk, he couldn't see. He was stupid. And now three years later, he still can't walk, still can't talk, he still can't see and he's still stupid. But boy, can he blow his face out. Magic Dick on the lickin' stick!"
And what else but "Whammer Jammer," with old Dick boppin' and blowing his brains out and the rest of the band banging away on all sides of the stage with tambourines. This is one that gets everybody out of their seats, and with good reason. Dick is just about the best white harp player ever to walk the earth.
J. Geils might strike some people as a rather mediocre guitarist. But his guitar notes stay with you for days after you hear them. He is vicious, deliberate. His guitar kills. You can see it in his eyes as he works through "Serves You Right to Suffer," I've never hear anyone play just that way ever. He could probably destroy mountains with his screaming notes. And that downward slide on "Suffer." Too much.
Splits and jumps Through all of this the Wolf dances away, doing jumps and splits and waving his arms and falling to his knees and knocking mike stands out of commissions. With his slippers, he does his "Grease Slop," slippin' and slidin' around the stage, bobbing and weaving around the rest of the band and the music. Too bad he's got his moustache back, though. He looks better clean shaven. But he never took off his shades this time around and that's neat.
Almost all the songs were don't faster than the records, and that just made everything crazier. "Pack Fair and Square" went at such a frantic pace that I couldn't believe Dick could match that solo on the album, but he did.
Smokey's "First I Look at the Purse," finished the set off, and the people were really going insane. J. looked like he was ripping his strings off on those chords. They tried to leave, but no way. There was genuine hunger in the air, there had to be more. Like the director of the Institute for Rock 'n' Roll Studies says, "the marvelous thing about a rock 'n' roll concert is the thought that it could go on forever, and that's what keeps it going." So, the place we should all try and get to, "Floyd's Hotel," is next showing off Tarzan Justman's chops (a la Little Richard). The join is swinging'! And to top it all off, "Hard Drvin' Man," with J. and the Wolf trading licks an the whole band defying all laws of anything.
The only thing I was ready for after that was the opening riffs of "Route 66," with Mick coming out and yelling: "Let me hear you say, Yeah." That wasn't gonna happen this time around though, so I went downstairs for a beer. It wouldn't be fair to anyone who sat through all of Yes to have me talk about them, so I'll shuffle of hummin' "Sookie Sookie" and let Tom tell you about Yes.
Different energies Well, I'll admit that the J. Geils Band blew my head off, and that Yes wasn't the right band to follow them. And I'll admit that it took me more than a little while to get into their music, but it was more than worth it. Yes is an English Band and their intricately constructed music was in sharp contrast to the pure energy of the Geils band. But if you stayed to listen to them, you found that the energy was still there, but in different places.
Yes's music has nothing to do with blues or rock, yet it's not program music or psychedelic insanity. It's extremely lyrical music that seems to float through the band as some force outside of them. Probably their most recognizable characteristic is John Anderson's high, high singing and the intricate harmonies that flow with it. The band never pushes the music, but flows in and around it. But Gils had already tore the place down before they took the stage, and Yes never had a chance to catch us.
After a rather ominous introduction of some piece of classical music, they took the stage and went into "Roundabout." But as the crescendos built up, the music seemed a little to composed and nothing happened musically. So they did "Your Move," which starts off very slowly with Steve Howe playing the mandolin. Then Howe witched to guitar and they went into the long ending which gave them a chance to work out a little.
Howe started to get a little funky and ran circles around the melody. To show off a little more, he did "The Clap," an instrumental on acoustic guitar, which caught everyone as he made the melody dance, and then seemed to go right through it and somehow come back.
It was here that you can see how Yes's music takes their form. They explode their music in a classical sense rather than just exploding. Their music is very deliberate, although sometimes a little too much for my taste. Howe never comes out with screaming licks, but riffs in circles around the melody. Rick Wakeman creates orchestras on the Moog, Hammond and piano, and somehow blends into the singing like a fourth voice. But it's not a pure head trip, though, as Chris Squire pushed on the bass like a lead guitar.
Cerebral frenzy "Long Distance Run Around" started off with a beautiful introduction on the Moog, and as the crescendos rose, I thought the band was starting to find themselves. The Moog and guitar danced around the sliding harmonies and they went into a long, long ending and the music seemed to float. Rick Wakeman did a beautiful piano solo and then switched to the Moog and Hammond, playing both together.
For my tastes, it was worth all of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. He wasn't just creating sound effects, but there was a definite form to it as he built up from moody introspective music to a cerebral frenzy. It sounded frightening. He wasn't just psychedelisizing classical music, but was using the forms to create something new. After working it up to a climax, they went into "Perpetual Motion."
The music seemed much freer than on the record as Howe was finally extending himself farther and farther and the music was finally a live force rather than something composed.
And then Squire went into some amazing bass work. Playing it like a lead guitar, with the treble up all the way and using a wah-wah and Hammond bass pedals, he started playing chards and then harmonies with himself, until he sounded like a one-man band. He would build it up, and then go back to a simple pattern, which was always changing. The audience was appreciative enough to ask for an encore which was "Yours is no Disgrace."
I hate to use the line about voices like instruments, but it's the only way to describe their singing. And conversely the instruments were like voices, but not human ones. Squire and Wakeman finally seemed to be enjoying themselves as they pushed the music in ever widening circles, stopping only long enough to play with it. It was a happy song, and it left me happy, which certainly wasn't any disgrace.
When taken on their own terms and not confused with J. Geils, Yes makes beautiful and interesting music. Their musicianship and tightness have to be heard to be believed, and I can only describe it as happy music. The intricate harmonies came off perfectly, even better than the record, and the music seemed limitless, as if they had captured some unknown force and made it come alive rather than working for a climax. Everyone left happy and you can't argue with that.
This concert was postponed to February 28 1972. I have the orginal contract of this concert. It was postponed only a few days before 20 February 1972, that is why the tickets do show the February 20 date.