42 years, 5 months and 22 days ago
Thursday, December 11, 1980
Brighton, United Kingdom
It's a shame that this concert, along with most of the UK dates on this tour, will be remembered mainly for the sour audience reactions and Trevor Horn's strained vocal chords. In spite of it all, the instrumental playing was top notch. Howe and Squire, in particular, blazed during 'Tempus Fugit' and 'Yours Is No Disgrace'.
Squire's solo included a floor-shuddering 'Amazing Bass' sequence. Since the seats were built into wooden rafters at the newish Brighton Centre, and as I was sitting bang centre at the top of the second tier, my body recalls that they – and I – really did quake, as the pedals were unleashed!
‘We Can Fly From Here’ and ‘Go Through This’ seemed pretty unremarkable, and it was perhaps unwise of the accomplished Geoff Downs to reprise ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ (given the sensitivities surrounding Anderson and Wakeman’s departures). But ‘White Car’ was chillingly effective: an epic in less than two minutes, recalled as a pure vocal harmony for the final notes of the evening.
In between, ‘Starship Trooper’ stormed along after an uncertain beginning, and ‘Machine Messiah’ showed the true potential of this line-up. Squire’s covering of Horn’s missed lead vocal lines was pretty heroic too, even if he did get the poor lad into the mess in the first place (by all accounts).
Being a huge Yes fan at the time it was an unbelievable nightmare that Anderson and Wakeman could be replaced by the Buggles. Never the less Brighton was too close to home to miss the show. It was disappointing from the outset. Trevor sang the all of first song off key. The poor guy looked terrified. The audience was pretty hostile and I remember a familiar voice calling out for the return of Rick Wakeman at the end of Geoffs keyboard solo (incorporating Video Killed...) which was met by stunned audience silence and the old two finger salute from said keyboard player..Oh dear.. A memorable night!
It had only been a couple of years since I had really discovered Yes, 'Going For The One' Being the first album I bought and is still my favourite of all their works. Then disaster struck when Anderson & Wakeman were replaced by Horn and Downes...
I quite liked the Drama album, it wasn't quite Yes exactly, but it still had some incredible rock music on it, in particular 'Into The Lens' and 'Machine Messiah' have marvellous playing from all the band.
In 1980 Yes decided to play smaller venues in the UK, and Lewisham Odeon was just a few miles from where I grew up in south east London. This was my first chance to see the band albeit not quite the classic line up.
Yes appeared thru a cloud of smoke on the final note of the Firebird Suite and kicked into a set mainly comprising somgs from Drama and The Yes Album. During 'Yours Is No Disgrace' It was wonderful to see Howe & Squire do their stuff and Geoff Downes was very good too.
The main problem was the vocals; poor Trevor Horn; After a long tour his voice was in a bad way. I particularly remember 'And You And I' where Horn sang completely flat throughout, it was extremely awful especially during the quiet parts where he sang only accompanied by Howe's acoustic. Some members of the audience called out insults to Horn - Oh dear..
I remember making eye contact with Chris Squire, he didn't look happy - I think my expression told him that this Yes was not happening, and indeed, very soon after this tour, it was all over.
When Yes played the Brighton Conference Centre in December 1980 as part of the DRAMA tour, a pretty characterless show was made memorable by Trevor Horn saying, 3 or 4 numbers in, and in a big-rock show flourish, "Hello, Birmingham!". Brighton is a quiet audience, but you might have thought it was Glasgow that night. No, they didn't support a puppet show.