ROTTERDAM, 25 Nov. - After more than three years, the English group Yes finally returned to the hall where they played for the last time, the Ahoyhal. The first of two sold-out concerts, yesterday and tonight, started more than two hours late. If they had also let the ex-flower child Donovan "Mellow Yellow" Leitce show up as support act, it would have been even later. So Donovan expired, and nobody shed a tear. Yes long gone from the bleak British tax climate for better places, , is embarking on an extensive world tour to appropriately celebrate the success of the tenth LP Going for the One and the return of keyboardist Rick Wakeman. On the way to Rotterdam, the group had stopped at the German border, so that the technical equipment, such as large batteries hanging loudspeaker boxes, was not in position until well past ten o'clock. In the early 1970s, Yesas one of the nicest groups in the symphonic rock genre, especially thanks to a still fairly light-hearted LP like Fragile, which contains the best material the group has written so far. In the years that followed, the now established group thrived on the immense success in America, which in general should be seen less and less as a recommendation for quality. Since then, undeniable technical skill has gone hand in hand with creative poverty at Yes . Rick Wakeman made way for Patrick Moraz in 1974. Their solo projects, like those of the other group members, were even more disappointing than the listless, stiff Yes work of the time. Wakeman's solo performances, top-heavy keyboard playing, had the most resonance in relative terms.
His reunion with Yes brought some order to this musical land of five streams: Wakeman, the frail vocalist Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White. After a thunderous fanfare, these five emerged from behind the white pleated curtain that initially obscured the stage. The new LP would be worked through in its entirety in the course of the two-hour performance. The rendition of Parallels, the title song^ as well as the single hit Wondrous stories, was technically not much to criticize. The decor, multicolored stretched giant tights. which spanned the stage with large arches was really beautiful and also well lit. Despite the equally beautiful background projection, along which fire, cloud fields and snow passed by, Awaken, the key number, was able to not captivated by its ugly structure, too sharp contrasts between Anderson's thin vocals and the gaudy trumpeting instrumental passages. The choice of instruments was plentiful: timpani, harmonica, Celtic harp, xylophone, a three-necked guitar and even a slide guitar on wheels. Wakeman framed all this with several orgasmic swelling keyboard parts. It was regularly too much of a good thing. Anderson. whose vocals were complemented by those of Squire and Howe, amid the extensive smoke effects, at times resembled a semi-soft oracle from Delphi. In between the acts also came the best-known work of a three-neck guitar and even a slide guitar on wheels. Wakeman framed all this with several orgasmic swelling keyboard parts. It was regularly too much of a good thing. Anderson. whose vocals were complemented by those of Squire and Howe, amid the extensive smoke effects, at times resembled a semi-soft oracle from Delphi. In between the acts also came the best-known work of a three-neck guitar and even a slide guitar on wheels. Wakeman framed all this with several orgasmic swelling keyboard parts. It was regularly too much of a good thing. Anderson. whose vocals were complemented by those of Squire and Howe, amid the extensive smoke effects, at times resembled a semi-soft oracle from Delphi. In between the acts also came the best-known work of Yes addressed, All Good People and Close to the Edge. On the encore, however, the group broke away from the overdose of ethereal soaring with robust, flowing versions of Roundabout and Yours Is No Disgrace. The fact that this relatively old work was the highlight was in itself a serious sign on the wall.
Take last night's first performance by the English group Yes (a second one will follow tonight) in a packed Rotterdam Ahoy Sportpaleis. It would start at a quarter past eight. But none of that. It is said that the equipment coming from Germany was held up at the border for so long that construction could start much too late. Wait until a quarter past ten!
Of course it was really sad for Donovan, who is already having such trouble with his comeback. His support act had to be cancelled, otherwise it would have become all night work. He will hopefully have more luck tonight.
Yes was eventually still cheered by eight thousand musically starved fans. That makes you think. Because there may be a lot of talk about punk, that complex, symphonic rock of Yes is still very popular. No expense has been spared in the decoration. A kind of giant spiderweb forms the decor and later on a gigantic screen even pieces of the universe and cloudscapes are shown.
My first, and one and only concert of Yes. Indeed we waited many hours but it was worth it. I remember very well the background projection which accompanied 'Wonderous stories'. An animation of a ballerina dancing. Almost 18 years old, it was for me an amazing experience. After so many years I still love the music although it ends for me with Tormato. Ok fellowfans I hope to see you all when they visit us again.
I remember that the band indeed was held up at the border. Coming from Munich all trucks (10 or so) had to be examined because of fear for the Rote Armee Fraktion (a German terrorist organization at the time). We could witness how fast and skillful the stage was being build up and the sound was quickly checked. Rick Wakeman only played 3 chords and was satisfied :) The support act of Donovan was dropped and then all hell broke loose. It's without any doubt one of the best live shows I've ever seen and at after the show we (my friend and me) were even able to shake hands with a few band members at the artist exit. After some hesitation Steve did shake hands and I can understand that he's reluctant to do it .... I've never seen such long and fragile hands in my live!! On the other hand (no phun intended!)I wonder how Rick is able to hit only one key one his keyboard. I have pretty big hands, but I could not see them anymore when Rick shook hands :) Wearing a big grey furcoat, he's the size of an adult grizzly bear! :) I have very warm feelings thinking back of this amazing show and I'm shocked to see that it's been over 30 years ago! I'm getting old! ;)
The best show I ever seen of Yes. The delay wasn't caused by snow. In fact there was no snow. They were held up at the Dutch-German border. A custom-officer had the idea that the Yes-truck was loaded with terrorists (there was a marxist group in Germany very active at that time). Anyway we had to wait a long time before the show started. But it was worth waiting. It was an amazing evening!
I remember the show on 11/24, 1977 in Rotterdam still very well, because of a delay of a few hours. The reason of this was a hold-up in Germany caused by snow. When we came in the AHOY-arena the stage had to be build up and all good people that came to watch the show could see that happen. The ground was covered with boxes. The PA-system had to be checked. The guitars had to be tuned. The supporting act, Donovan ,was skipped. The show, all though it began to late was very good.