42 years, 9 months and 4 days ago
Friday, September 5, 1980
New York City, New York
Madison Square Garden
This was my first Yes show and it changed my life for ever. 40 + shows later and I get just as excited as I did on this evening when I was 16 years old.
Rolling Stone, November 27, 1980:
The new Yes: still living in the past
By David Fricke
HERE COMES THE new Yes, same as the old Yes. Original vocalist Jon Anderson and flamboyant keyboardist Rick Wakeman may be gone in body, but their spirits still hang like Damoclesian swords over the heads of their replacements, Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of the electropop duo the Buggles. And judging by their performance on the second of three nights at the Garden, Horn and Downes are not holding up well under the pressure.
Instead of adding a few New Wave wrinkles to the British supergroup's baroque art-rock song and dance, the ex-Buggles continued to belabor the old ones without improving on them. Visions of Jon Anderson in his silken sugarplum-fairy robes surely danced in the heads of the 20,000-plus faithful gathered here when Horn - looking pitifully alone on a raised platform in the center of the circular, revolving stage - hit several horribly flat notes during the old Yes song 'Yours Is No Disgrace.' In Wakeman, rock's answer to Liberace, Downes had an even tougher act to follow. But he didn't try very hard, playing familiar lines from such Yes hits as 'And You And I' and 'Roundabout' as if he were reading them from an exercise book. His only acknowledgement of the Buggles' success was a snippet of their hit 'Video Killed The Radio Star' in his otherwise inconsequential solo keyboard spot.
While the Buggles were busy entertaining the ghosts of Yes' past instead of exorcising them, the rest of the band - bassist and charter member Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White - tried to beat a little life into a new repertoire, which included four of the five songs on Drama (the group's first album with Horn and Downes), two as-yet-unrecorded songs and selected warhorses from the past. Howe's hot flashes of Indian modality and twenty-first-century Chuck Berry, and Squire's volcanic bass variations on 'Amazing Grace' in the middle of Drama's 'Tempus Fugit,' came as welcome relief during a show that was remarkably only for the group's overreliance on the amateur mysticism and pseudo-orchestral maneuvers that made them famous. Yes are apparently more concerned with re-creating former than getting down to the business of being the new band they claim to be.
The potential is certainly there. Of the songs on Drama, 'Into The Lens' is the most engaging compromise between Horn and Downes' cloying commercialism and Yes' earnest, arty pretensions. But if this show was any indication, the new Yes still have a couple of Buggles that need to be worked out.