I saw both stops in Philadelphia. Great show especially loved the "theatre-in-the-round" stage and the opening act - Bugs Bunny! N.B. Saw them again more recently in 2017 in Bakersfield, California. Really fun show though minus Jon Anderson and Chris Squire (of course) but Steve Howe killed it and Geoff Downes and Alan White did cameos.
This was not just my first Yes concert, but my first concert ever. What an experience. Opening with "Cinema" was exciting, and I never really liked "Leave It" until I heard it live. But the highlight for me came only three songs into the show.
"Yours Is No Disgrace" has always been one of my favorite Yes songs, and on this night they nailed it. Trevor's extended guitar solo proved that this lineup could improvise well, and that he was more than up to the task of performing the older material. I especially liked how he kept to the framework of the classic songs, but stretched out a bit to add his own signature.
But Rabin really shined on the 90125 material. The extended intro to "Changes," the addition of the "Make It Easy" instrumental opening to "Owner of a Lonely Heart," and the longer version of "City of Love" really showcased his understanding of Yes as a live band - translating the shorter album tracks to the live setting, as opposed to sticking to the recorded version.
The lights and lasers were amazing, especially during "Hearts" and "Starship Trooper." The sound was loud and as a result a bit muffled, but once the show was underway and the sound crew was settled in, it cleared up.
For those who thought that Yes without Steve Howe was not viable, this show should have changed their tune.
Items of Interest:
There was no opening band. Picture this: The house lights dim and the crowd goes wild. A large projection screen lowers from the lighting rig over the stage, and instead of some video montage or laser projection to open the show, we see the Warner Brothers logo with Bugs Bunny's big mug! The Looney Tunes theme blares from the PA, and soon we are watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Of course, it was the one when they all get high on ether at the end. The crowd loved it! Nothing like watching Saturday morning cartoons with 19,000 people...
Little known facts:
Both before and after the show the sound crew played Jean-Michel Jarre's Zoolook album, which was considered highly experimental electronic music at the time. Still is, I suppose. Interesting choice. It's also been said that Casey Young played additional keyboards from under the stage.
I had first seen Yes on the Tormato Tour, but hadn't seen their last two Philly swings. I regretfully missed the 1980 Drama Tour(LOVED that album!) and I'd had tickets for the 1979 show but had had to sell them off since I was not able to attend that one either. After that Yes broke up and it looked like they would only be part of music history after that. AAH, but NOW, they were BACK! And with a SPECTACULAR album! I COULDN'T afford to miss them this time! The tickets went on sale and......SOLD OUT VERY QUICKLY! I was miffed! Come on guys, I'd been a fan from way back. Not like all those new Owner of a Lonely Heart Johnny Come Lately bandwagon jumpers. Don't get me wrong, I was glad my band was doing well, having hits and attracting new fans, but I wasn't appreciating being left out in the cold. Then...Trevor Rabin was injured in a hotel pool when someone reportedly came down a sliding board straight into him. OUCH! Ruptured spleen! The tour was postponed enabling my buddy to grab me some when the show was rescheduled for April 30th. I arrived in front of the Spectrum as the sun of a beatiful day was setting. I spotted a former co-worker and his wife by coincidence(Actually she spotted me first). He hadn't seen them since the Topographic Oceans Tour 10 years prior! After 2 Bugs Bunny Cartoons(Bully For Bugs and Water Water, Every Hare a classy way to open the evening's festivities!)we were off to Yesland! I already knew they would open with Cinema/Leave It since it was logical and I'd already read a review of the Columbus, Ohio show. The multiharmonies on that were tough to manage but Yes did their best. Tony Kaye even threw his voice in there as well. GREAT SHOW!
I saw Yes twice during the 90125 tour, both times in Philadelphia (first leg and second).
There was a tour book. I can't remember what leg, but I did buy one (I think it was $20). I think it was about 8 pages, with Spark O Matic ads in back. Nothing spectacular.
Stage was a round metal grillwork, the rear 3/4 tilted slightly upward toward the back, filling up one end of the hockey rink. It was very clean; apparently, emphasis was placed on having the stage clear of anything except the performers and musical instruments currently in use. Drum set was the only major feature, placed on a low riser that protruded slightly from the angled section of the stage.
Chris and Trevor each had a single mike on a stalk, on opposite sides of the frontal area, with unobtrusive pedal sets recessed into the stage below the mikes. No guitars were propped around on stage; when it was time to change, a stage hand passed the new one up through a trap and took the old one. Both had wireless sets for their axes. Sometimes, they would switch stage-sides with each other, or share a mike during harmonic vocal parts.
Chris wore an anke length white coat with a red cross (medic-type) on back. I think Trevor wore a red silk shirt with long, billowy sleeves, and a black leather vest over the shirt (I think, I can't remember - maybe that was BG tour). Trevor was pretty active, sometimes hopping off stage onto the huge speaker stacks between the stage and the security line.
Jon used an unobtrusive headset mike and occupied front center stage primarily. Sometimes, he used a pair of synth drums mounted on a thin metal stalk to the right of the drum riser, opposite the keyboard setup. During instrumental segments, he would stand near the synth drum pair and use a tambourine. Jon wore a frilly, loose, purple silk shirt.
Tony had two keyboards, one mounted above the other on a slim but sturdy stalk; he really worked those keyboards over. He wore a white sport jacket over a T shirt, and white slacks.
Alan had a huge hybrid drum set and used headphone monitors. He wore a white muscle shirt and made extensive use of a towel during the show, as he got quite a workout.
All the speakers were mounted in a huge semicircular array above the stage, plus some in front of the stage. I can't remember if there were any monitors on stage.
Light show incorporated a lot of lasers during the first tour leg, including a cool cone around Tony during "key" sequences (pun intended). The second leg dropped the lasers, but whoever did the light show more than made up for it; I think the lights-only show on the second leg took more creativity than the lasers did on the first leg. The lasers seemed gimick-y, only three actual effects (web-around-stage, cone over Tony, fan above crowd).
Sound was great. Every instrument was clearly discernable during every song. My only complaint is, it seemed too loud. It was my first concert ever, so maybe excitement exacerbated the ear situation (they were ringing all the way home).
I am a big fan of any great bass player, so I was looking forward to any bass solo Chris might play. Turned out, it was Whitefish, essentially the one on the 90125Live album. It seemed too drawn out and pretentious, resting-on-laurels, so to speak; not as raw, ambitious, creative and "jamming" as in his youth of the "Yessongs" years. Just my opinion, not like I could do better myself. It was still really tremendous, and better than no drum solo at all (I read somewhere that Alan does not really like to do drum solos). I think on the second leg, Chris also did Amazing Grace befroe the Whitefish portion.
I was impressed with the relative maturity of the crowd (behavior that is, not age).
Musically, I am always impressed with Yes' ability to end a song in live performance creatively, without the usual cliche, drawn-out drums-and-cymbals-a-beating, guitars-a-scrubbing, notes-a-rising, ending with everybody jumping. (Best example: Siberian Khatru on the YesSongs LP). I was not disappointed on this tour, except perhaps the encore (Roundabout).
Overall, a really excellent show, both times. Both were sold out, I believe, but I don't recall having any trouble getting tickets for either show through the normal channels. I seem to remember something about Trevor busting his spleen in a diving-board mishap just prior to the first Philadelphia show, which caused it to be postponed. Maybe it was the second leg, I can' remember.
I remember the show selling out in 10 minutes so I was ticked at not getting a ticket. But then a brainstorm as I knew the local radio station WMMR, which I loved and still do, were giving away tickets to random callers, I took a picture of my cars license plate which is a vanity tag with the letters WMMR (yes I like the station that much as to spend an extra 60 bucks a year for that tag!) and sent it to them with crossed fingers. Two days before the show I just gave up when at the last moment a registered letter came to my door from WMMR!! YES I'm going to see YES!!!!! I in the section with all the WMMR people including DJ's Pierre Robert and Larry Richman who both saw the picture of the tag and loved it. Anyway about the show. My 1st memory was the announcement of upcoming shows. Judas Priest and the Scorpions were both announced as playing the Spectrum in June. The Booos were so loud I thought I was at a Phillies game. Then they announced David Gilmour solo dates at the Tower Theatre with nothing but cheers. Well after watching Bugs Bunny get stoned on ether it was Show time. Yes played "Cinema" and "Leave It" and that was great but I wanted classic Yes and did. "Your's Is No Disgrace" was next and it sounded good with this Rabin fueled Yes. Actually it was a great show with new and old mixed together, though I would of liked to hear some songs of GFTO or Tormato. Though not the the best all time lineup this was a great show and a good lineup for 1984 and a well spent 60 dollars!!