went to the show with about 5 other people my gf, brother, best friend, and others. it was a great show but the last song, though great could have been a Yes song and i would have enjoyed it more! one of the folks i was with was HOOTING the entire night long in a very loud and futile manner as we were so far from the band that the only thing he did was annoy the people in our row and the next 8 rows in front of us! but that did not destroy the night! it was still great!
Toronto Sun Lima Lacey
The rock group Yes - meaning, yes, as in the Universal Affirmative - has always been a fan's band. There are people even now walking the streets whose consciousness apparently blossomed when they first heard Yes's Fragile or Closer(sic) To The Edge albums, and they've never quite got over it. You could tell them among the 20,000 fans who came to see the band Thursday night at the Canadian National Exhibition - the men have long hair the way the metal heads do, but they look more sensitive somehow, as though they've never completely descended from the misty lyrical pathways, multi-layer fugues with a backbeat and Day-glo album covers the Eniglish rock group helped to pioneer back in the early seventies.
The main tradition of rock criticism, mostly invented by smart-aleck New York writers, has little truck with Yes and bands like it; the idea of bringing musical counterpoint into rock and roll never seemed such a big idea to them because, after all, the excitement of rock and roll is supposed to be about racket and dissonance. But when stereos started getting good, and when The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper was already history, the lush sonic mosaics that Yes wove were the best trip you could take without and airplane ticket.
The CNE concert was not, strictly speaking, vintage Yes. Steve Howe, of the dark-fingered guitar work, was not there. Rick Wakeman, of too many keyboards, was not there, nor was drummer extraordinaire Bill Bruford. Obviously, it's not really possible to throw substitutes in for a band that was supposed to consist only of virtuosos.
Nor did the evening follow the change in direction signalled by the band's most recent album, World Tour (sic), with its new, more pop-oriented direction (a signal that Yes, like Genesis before it, is quite willing to fit the new times, whatever direction they may go). Instead, the new Yes does a very good impression of an old band called Yes.
Is it successful? The appropritate answer would be a definite maybe. Certainly, there isn't a better arranged band going. Chris Squire provided the brooding bass notes; Trevor Rabin did a clever impression of Steve Howe, and even offered one of those fiery-fingered acoustic solos that traversed a distance of several miles up and down the neck of the guitar, in less than the 10 minutes it lasted.
Drummer Alan White's popping fills were perfection without inspiration (is Yes the only rock band that actually tunes its drums any more?) and Tony Kaye, a prodigal original member now returned, managed to make all the right sounds on keyboards without bringing a tractor-trailer load of instruments on stage, which was impressive.
But, at this point, who's really concerned? Yes is about Jon Anderson, he of Vangelis fame and of the angel voice, and Anderson did things as superbly as he always does. The high, lilting voice and the accompanying harmonies from other band members were the strongest reminder that, no matter how silly Yes often got in the past, there is a deep source of musical coherence behind its idiom. Sometimes the singing was really beautiful, and really beautiful is something you don't get at many rock and roll shows.