35 years, 5 months and 11 days ago
Sunday, December 20, 1987
Despite the "official review" article from below, this was not the first time Yes played Stabler Arena. The Drama Tour hit Stabler in October of 1980.
I was lucky enough to have a friend who was a local roadie at this show. I showed up at 3:00 in the afternoon and was given a full tour of Yes' setup. Got to see everyone's rig and I was most impressed by the racks of processor's under the stage that Tony Kaye used. All of this without a backstage pass of any kind.
I had to meet people who were going to the show with me back in Easton, so I had to leave the venue only to come back for the show. My friend who was the local roadie later told me that if I hadn't left, I would've gotten a backstage pass and been able to hang all night. Figures. Didn't matter though as I was impressed enough with the equipment tour I got to feel as though I received VIP treatment.
Shoot High, Aim Low was the best song of the night. I was surprised by that too. It is a great song.
ENERGIZED YES CONCERT PROVIDES LINK FOR OLD AND NEW FANS ALIKE
From the first chords of the opening song, "Almost Like Love," to the last notes of the second encore, Yes delivered a concert charged with energy Sunday night that kept the near-capacity crowd on it's feet.
In their first appearance at Stabler Arena, Yes proved that they are one of the top live bands around Trevor Rabin's guitar-with a range from subtle to screaming-and Chris Squire's bass were a perfect compliment to Jon Anderson's strong vocals. Alan White on drums provided a driving backdrop to the performance while Tony Kaye shined on keybards.
Visually and musically, it was a concert that was nearly flawless.
The band played to a diverse crowd. Young, new Yes converts were in evidence, but there was a strong presence of older long-time fans. This mix of the old and new came through in the music as well.
While Yes opened with material from their latest album, "Big Generator," the band kicked back early in the concert and let loose with some classics. "Heart of the Sunrise" was an immediate hit with the audience. The lengthy song features a healthy combination of hard-rocking instrumentals from Rabin and Squire with Anderson's clear, crisp vocals.
Despite some early doubts, Rabin, especially on "Heart of the Sunrise," proved he could play the classic songs with the same kind of flash that original guitarist Steve Howe displayed.
Anderson, who doubled on keyboards during several numbers, sane "Sunrise" while bathed in a golden light. This effect only added to his already bizarre look.
The lead vocalist came on stage dressed in white satin with white warpaint, looking like he just stepped off the astral plane. This, combined with his New Age tai-chi dancing, gave the concert something of a 1980s flower child feel. Of course, his rambling discourses on universal energy and the nature of time and Mother Earth didn't hurt.
Songs from "Big Generator" came off much better live than they did on the new album. "Shoot High, Aim Low" was much more effective and the song's link to the classic Yes sound was very obvious. Less successful was the new album's title track. Even with live embellishments, Yes could not save that lackluster song.
But that was one of the only low points in the concert. Both Rabin and Squire offered fantastic solo instrumentals. Rabin's acoustinc solo combined classical Spanish guitar with jazz and blues elements, while Squire's distortion laden rendition of "Amazing Grace," was nothing short of amazing.
The show closed with an instrumental version of "Starship Trooper," but in the first encore, the band returned with the first single from their new album, "Love Will Find a Way." Added to this was the classic, "I've Seen All Good People." The second and final encore featured "Roundabout."
I was at this show, bought 8th row tickets the day of the show. I had tickets for thier Philly show the month before, but was not able to make it. So I get home from work on the Friday before, and heard about this show in Bethlehem. My buddy and I drove up on Sunday afternoon and were treated to a great show.