Wednesday, June 13, 1979
New York City, New York
Madison Square Garden
43 years, 9 months and 15 days ago
This was the first concert I ever went to. What can I say? It was a religous experience.
I had been a Yes fan since 1974 and had been pleading with my mother to let me see one of their concerts (Me being a little young made her a bit apprehensive).
By 1979 I had worn out at least 2 copies of Yessongs and seeing them open the show with Siberian Khatru/Heart of the Sunrise was intense. Steve Howe was a friggin monster and was really pumped.
The two things I remember most about the show:
1) The fact the my cousin Albert (who had a cast on his leg because he had recently broken it) was jumping up and down in the aisles.
2) When they began playing Awaken, Steve Howe was on the other side of the stage from me (due to the revolving stage). Just as he was about to bust into that first frenetic solo that he plays in the tune the stage had just turned around to the point were he was totally in front of us..........He friggin ripped!!!!!!!!!!
P.S I was supposed to have seen Styx a few months prior to this and had taken ill. I'm so glad that happened and instead Yes popped my "Concert Cherry"
New York Times
ROCK: YES, BRITISH GROUP, PLAYS GARDEN
Yes, the English rock band that used to specialize in fanciful lyrics, extended suites, surreal instrumental sounds and elaborate stage sets, came back to earth for an appearance at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. For several years now, the group has been curtailing its tendency to self-indulgent flight of fancy and becoming more song-oriented. Its presentation at the Garden reflected this change in direction. The group played from a revolving stage in the center of the arena, with the front row of the audience just a few feet away, and for the most part the players avoided their former penchant for cosmic meandering.
Nevertheless, this listener didn't find the group's performance, which lasted well over two hours, very interesting. So-called progressive rock groups that have achieved as much success as Yes are in a real artistic bind; their desire to move on musically is often frustrated by the expectations of the audience, which wants to relive the experience of their earlier records.
The sound of Yes, which used to be one of the most distinctive in rock because of the group's pioneering use of tonal modifiers, seems curiously frozen in time. And the individual musicians are still trotting out their specialties - Steve Howe his jazzy ragtime guitar spot, Rick Wakeman his stately synthesizer feature and so on. The rhythm section remains buoyant, but doesn't seem to have learned any new tricks and Jon Anderson, the lead vocalist, is too affected a performer to be really effective in a setting as plain as the group's Madison Square Garden concert.
Yes's conservatism seems particularly stodgy compared to the recent work of English rock performers like David Bowie or Peter Gabriel, who could have settled for a life of artistic stagnation, but have chosen instead to forge ahead.