We drove from Salt Lake to see this concert. I didn't notice the half-full arena or the distorted volume. I just noticed the band. Why they chose to skip Salt Lake this tour, I don't know. I still need to discuss that with Jon. They certainly would have packed the Salt Palace, as in tours past.
After the show, on our way back to the car we were invited to a Yes party. We went to a condo near the campus where we partied to endless Yes music and talked about this and past Yes concerts. I was among total strangers but there was abundant combustibles, potent potables and a cool vibe that took us well into the night and early morning.
Mesa Tribune: March 11, 1988 By Linda Romine
Yes came to Tempe this week. And the band played like a Wednesday night during spring break in a deserted college town.
It was, of course, simply that.
With the Arizona State University campus all but shut down, students apparently elsewhere, the "Activity Center" hardly lived up to its name. The hall was half empty; and perhaps as a result, the band was halfhearted. Too bad. It could've been great. Yes, after all, is a band that has been around for 20 years, producing some of the most mind-boggling messages and sizzling, progressive instrumentals in all of album-oriented rock.
A clue that Yes may be better left an in-home listening experience rather than a live one was evident when the quintet emerged more than half an hour late, after the ho-hum audience had been kept occupied by Popeye cartoons.
Oh, blow me down.
The band's current lineup, including co-founders Jon Anderson, lead vocals, and Chris Squire, bass, as well as drummer Alan White, guitarist Trevor Rabin and keyboardist Tony Kaye, produced a mighty sound for such few instruments.
A current hit, "Rhythm of Love," was offered as a painfully loud opener in which bone-crunching volume distorted and obscured all traces of the musicality for which Yes is so rightfully acclaimed.
Anderson, looking like a New Age messiah with his loose, white garb and flowing hair ribbons clipped to the back of his head, peacefully stepped around the start stage, occasionally taking a few delicate stabs at a tambourine and once or twice raising his arms in some sort of celestial greeting. His high, distinctive voice was penetratingly pure, and the boyish guru delivered song after song with unfailing pitch. The words he sang, however -- mostly cerebral, metaphysical meanderings -- were blurred by the overpowering sound system.
That aside, the musicians did display their acknowledged skill, if not enthusiasm, on instrumental interludes. The rhythm section crackled with intensity on the minimalistic "Changes," which was enhanced by effective use of an impressive, ultramodern light show.
In contrast, the audience was bludgeoned by the "Big Generator," the funky title song of the band's current album.
The bouncy "Owner of a Lonely Heart" brought the crowd to its feet. But nothing matched the excitement of the final encore, "Roundabout." Although the long-awaited number was rushed and Yes appeared to be merely going through the motions, the dwindling audience cheered in universal approval.