I remember getting up early to line up for the onsale of this one- we were stoked when we snagged 9th row floor seats for the face value of $9.50. When we got to the arena we found ourselves sitting only two rows from the stage, on the aisle, thanks to the in-the-round stage setup - it seems our section started with row one over yonder 'round the bend.
I had been blown away by Yes' performance at the Long Beach Arena on the Tormato tour, but this show was much better and still ranks as the finest live performance I have ever seen. Every tune played from the Drama album was flawless and superior to the studio version.
Behaving like the 17 year olds we were, we felt the need to "rush" the stage from our 2nd row seats during the encores.
number one-zero dude
Although my first Yes concert was during the Tormato tour, the Drama show eclipsed my first experience. I was a Yes fan and a Buggles fan, so the new roster was perfect. Both Tormato and Drama are great albums, but Drama went deeper into my veins and supplied more oxygen to my heart. After enjoying "The Age of Plastic," what more could one want for Trevor Horn and Geoff Downs, other than the most killer rhythm section on earth? Alan White gives a tight, crisp punch to "Machine Messiah," which pauses to reveal haunting acoustic guitar and keyboard passages. Trevor Horn sings is impassioned and disturbingly sincere prayer asking for an extended lifespan and for relief from physical discomfort. And Steve Howe and Chris Squire run all over their fretboards, just the way they should.
Yes recordings and concerts are analagous to Olympic Gold Medal victories. Few musical experiences match the depth, the imagination, the dexterity and the taste. The live performance of Drama was exhilarating. Of all the great Yes concerts I went to (about 30 altogether), Drama was the best, so far, with Open Your Eyes being second.
I was seventeen-years-old at Drama, and our seats were fantastic. They would have been on the side risers, but the concert was in-the-round, so they were twelfth-row, (at eye-level with the band!) The sound was fantastic. The guys played great. The "Video Killed the Radio Star" keyboard solo was great (I had never seen a computer monitor display an interface with different sounds and effects. What planet were these guys from, and how could I get there? How come more people don't aspire to join these ranks?)
I would have enjoyed more re-worked Buggles material and less Jon Anderson material. Trevor Horn could have sang re-worked versions of Jon's songs, to reduce straining. Some of the flat high pitches were downright painful to hear, even though the majority of his notes were sung flawlessly.
Unfortunately, the lyrics of the Drama album played-out their self-fulfilling prophesy. "Life is short, time is running out..." Suddenly, the band split in two: Asia and Trevor Rabin Yes. A step backwards in some ways and forwards in others. Tremendous financial success was accomplished, sacrificing the positive, life-affirming, uplifting lyrical messages that Yes was invented to deliver. Suddenly, we had two bands spouting tales of adolescent heartbreak. Leave it to the music industry to measure success in dollars. Thank God that Yes is never over! Even at it's worst, Yes is always better than "flavor-of-the-week."