face melter rather than the elegant acoustic piece that he played. This spotlight gave way to 'Make It Easy' and then 'Owner, with 'Yours is No Disgrace' on the heels of that, a power section of the show. Things mellowed again for what turned out to be a bass/vocal duet of 'Nous Sommes du Soleil' and then it was spotlight time for Chris and bass pedals and a fuzzy version of 'Amazing Grace.' The climax of the night awaited in the form of a graceful yet powerful 'And You And I' with the 'Apocalypse' ending drawn out to heighten the emotion, and then in the wake of the end of the song and rapturous applause they launched into the 'Wurm' jam and all of its euphoric lift. An energetic finish, followed after a few minutes by encores of 'Love Will Find A Way' and 'I've Seen All Good People.' Another bow and wave session, then offstage, only to be called back for the inevitable 'Roundabout.'
An unforgettable first Yes live experience.
**NOTE TO FY SITE MANAGERS** this is a continuation of the earlier version of the review I did years ago (also listed on this page). It seems to have gotten truncated.
Hershey Arena is an intriguing place to see a show. It is a smaller version of a hockey arena & the lack of large glitzy booths selling t-shirts, beer, and food makes for a somewhat more intimate scene. Upon entering, I felt a tremendously mellow atmosphere. There were a few tables on the floor near the mixing console where t-shirts were being sold and there was a Greenpeace table where people could stop by and sign petitions. A large Greenpeace banner had been secured to the right of the stage as well, but the rest of the arena was free of advertisements, banners, and the like. For quite a bit we were all kept waiting while some of the roadies did lighting repairs above the stage. There was no great screaming throng, just this subdued anticipation. Popeye cartoons were shown in place of any sort of warmup band while the crew worked on the lights, which seemed to add to the mellow feeling of the evening. It was as if we all knew there would be a show, as soon as the lights were up, these few cartoons were shown, and the band assembled. The only surprise I had was at the stage. Having grown up with Yessongs and Yesshows, I expected a stage strewn with a panoply of instruments: mandolins, acoustic guitars, spare basses, and an array of keyboards. I was a bit surprised by the streamlined & futuristic slanted stage with its single keyboard rack & drum kit only.
At somewhwere around 9 or 9:30 the lights dimmed and the "Rhythm of Love" intro tape started. The band walked onto the stage waving to the crowd in the near darkness, then lit into the song midstream. It was a heavier sound than I had known, but there was no mistaking the stage presence. After "Rhythm," Jon ensured that it was Hershey & that they were in the right place, then introduced Alan, who did a short solo accompanied by a bit of a lightshow that struck me as more heavy metal than Yes, and they then kicked into "Hold On." I had a moment of worry where I wondered if the scaled down stage meant that they were going to eschew the classic songs, but as soon as "Hold On" ended my fears were allayed. Jon said, referring to the "Hold On" sunshine lyric, "Without the sunshine we cannot see; without the sunrise we cannot dream. We cannot dream..." With that the band launched into "Heart of the Sunrise" with such power and tight precision that I was riveted. Jon left the stage for the instrumental intro, then returned and sang the rest of the song in a white light that lent him the aura of an angel. The band was really tight on the intricate parts & delicate on the lighter moments, with the lights enhancing all the respective movements of the song. It was astounding to see this complex song sound so good in an arena, and great to see Jon on tambourine. I was hooked.
They continued with "Big Generator," which featured a bit of band choreography with the lyrics & lights. Following this was "Changes," the keyboard intro backed by Trevor and Chris, tight once again, and Jon playing an auxilliary keyboard through the rest of the song. "Shoot High Aim Low" was next and was absolutely mesmerizing. I feel that a quality of Yes' music that distinguishes it from all other is its complexity & ability to mesmerize the listener. "SHAL" did this without fail live. It built slowly to an incredible climax, evoking the war/peace content of the lyrics, and was one of the most memorable parts of the show. It also steered the show & audience toward a more mellow section. "Holy Lamb" followed, with Jon in a glistening robe he donned for the song. The simplicity and clarity of his voice, with the guitar/keyboard accompaniment again gave him a heavenly quality and brought the emotion of the song to the fore. After this, Jon introduced Tony and Trevor and told us all to "sit back & relax" while listening to Trevor play. Trevor's solo was stunning; I had been told by my brother to check out the guitar solo--he had seem them the night before in Philadelphia--and I figured it would be a fast-paced electric solo as Trevor seemed to be an aggressive, percussive player, but "Solly's Beard" was delicate and beautiful, and seemed to give Trevor his own legitimate place as a Yes musician. "Owner" (with its instrumental intro) followed & was a highly energetic piece. After this was a similarly energetic and aggressive "Yours Is No Disgrace," with Trevor flaunting his dexterity on the electric guitar in the flamboyant solo/jam within and Tony providing the Hammond backbone of the song. After this high-powered classic, Jon and Chris took center stage to perform the "Nous Sommes du Soleil" duet, after which Jon introduced Chris, who did his pedal-enriched "Amazing Grace" in mesmerizing fashion. "And You and I" follwed this, the intro done in electric fashion a la "Yessongs," with the "Apocalypse" segment slightly elongated to produce a highly emotional effect. The tightness and dexterity of the band were evident here as well, with Jon's spirituality bringing the experience to a higher, almost magical level. I had tears in my eyes by the end. Following this emotional climax was the Wurm jam, Trevor leading the ascending, uplifting crescendo with a few bars of the riff sounding like he was playing an acoustic 12-string. Tony joined in on keys, then Chris and Alan launched in, and the audience clapped in time with the anthem. Jon played backing keys here as well, freeing Tony to go off on a mammoth Hammond showcase before Trevor took over with his own solo that first sped & then slowed before the band concluded the set with a thunderous ending. They went offstage for a few minutes & returned to play "Love Will Find A Way," then "I've Seen All Good People" as initial encores, and were then summoned out again for a slightly abbreviated version of "Roundabout." At the conclusion, Jon, under white light, bent into the crowd to hand his tambourine over to a small child an adult had lifted up over his head to receive it! This, and the bunches of flowers tossed onto the stage for the band, made for a rather incredible spectacle. I left feeling I had seen something truly inspired, a gifted band and a gifted singer with an ability to lift spirits and guide listeners on