This tour stop in Charlotte had some projections above each side of the stage which did little I remember other than flashing the 90125 logo. Perhaps an experiment.
The stage consisted of metal grating ramps. Visually uninteresting but perhaps easy for roadies to set up. A far cry from the Martyn Dean stage set for Tales from Topographic Oceans [which set the high standard by which all Yes stage sets are to be judged].
The keyboard player's playing was not notable so it is hard to believe that he was the founding keyboardist of Yes. The keyboard was mounted on a pivot. Occasionally he would swing it away when it got in the way of dancing.
Tales from Topographic Oceans led me to expect the members of the group to all be wearing something otherworldly. The only outfit I remember was Chris Squire dressed as a doctor in a lab coat with a dozen hypodermic needles pinned onto the lab coat. He also wore a stethoscope.
I remember thinking that without Roger Dean's cover art, the loss of Rick Wakeman, the loss of Steve Howe, the loss of Jon Anderson, and the new emphasis on three-minute pop songs that could get top five radio airplay; that the Yes that brought complexity to art rock and progressive rock was gone as a creative force. The jury is still very much out on that verdict. I am suspicious about fans brought to the group by singles hits. They expect all the wrong things and lobby for the group to be like every other band. Yes evolved as an album group without the need to crank out top five homogenized white noise.
So after this concert I made no effort to keep abreast of when the group was touring or its latest reccordings for almost twenty years.
My goodness, I grew up with this group and a friend (who is younger than me!) actually was listening to them from their pre-Roger Dean days. I guess no one really hears the music. They just hear their own experience and their own memory. [Case in point: two fans disagree on what the opening song was which, in turn, differs from the official playlist].
Not even close to my favorite tour, album or lineup, but since no one else who saw this show has said anything about it I may as well.
Having been lucky enough to have experienced Yes in 1978 I was both curious and pessimistic about what they had wrought in 1984. The very idea of Yes Buggled had kept me as far as I could get from the Drama Tour, but now with at least Jon back and a mere 5-minute car trip from front door to venue it seemed I had little to lose.
From the very beginning there was no comparison. Despite theretofore unknown Trevor Rabin's very impressive playing and a few other bright spots, this Yes fizzled like a wet firecracker from Grandpa's cellar. Alan and Jon were distinctly bored, and except for a reasonably well executed "Fish" Chris was nowhere to be found. Why bringing Tony Kaye back to Yes was even jokingly discussed after the likes of Patrick Moraz and Rick Wakeman I will never fathom. Jon had just spent a year recording and touring with the amazing David Sancious [who would have made as fine a Yes keyboardsman as anyone alive]. What could he have been thinking? Yet there Tony was, plodding along with only one hand on the keys; managing to make the others look even sillier than their new market-driven album, choriography and costumes alone would have. To an ensemble of geniuses like Yes he had no creativity or technique of his own to offer. I remember with a smile the local newspaper's concert reviewer writing something about Yes' technical virtuosity being "intact". Maybe she meant four fifths intact, but when she went on to suggest that "Gimme Some Lovin" represented a direction Yes should have been taking all along there was not much left to say.
All in all it wasn't a bad concert, really - just a far far cry [pun very much intended] from what Yes was created and developed to be capable of. Even Big Generator and its tour were more Yes-like than this, and I understand they had a keyboardsman with some distinguishing ability hidden backstage to fill in the gaps.