35 years, 1 month and 28 days ago
Wednesday, March 30, 1988
Neal Blaisdel Arena
I read the description of the concert and I feel an important part of the show was left out, during the latter part of the show the band broke into 'Starship Trooper" [Wurm] and made use of their wireless equipment when Trever, Jon and Chris left the stage and went to the isles jamming with the audience, I had fond memories of this because Chris was playing his bass with us while me and my best friend Jim Johnson had our arms over his shoulder, which was wow! If you look at my photos you will see a close-up of Trever that was taken during the ending of their jamming with the audience, when Trever & Jon were passing down the isle to get back up onstage, I was able to squeeze off that photo. I had front row tickets to that show (I spent all night in front of a ticket vendor to get them, which turned into a party in itself!)
This was the first time ever in my life to see a YES concert, no one would understand how excited I was after being a YES fan for ten years and I had a chance to see them live in their 20th anniversary. The concert was announced on the radio a month ago and I was one of the earliest who bought the ticket. The concert was held at the Neal Blaisdel Arena in Honolulu, THE MOODY BLUES played in this arena last year and ex-YES member Patrick Moraz was with them. At that time, I thought Patrick would be the only YES member I would ever see; but no, I met YES the night before in a pre-concert party and I was in their concert tonight. It's really wonderful, I still couldn't believe what had happened, it's just like a dream, a sweet dream!
The concert was scheduled for 7:30pm and there was no opening act. I got there around 7:00pm and a lot of people were already there. Tour programs and T-shirts were sold outside the arena. When I went inside the concert hall, many people were anxiously waiting for the band to show up. This was not a sold-out concert, but I think nearly 85% of the seats were occupied in this ten thousand seat arena. A local DJ said a few days before the concert that it's easy for them to hit the big cities but Honolulu is just a small city, that's why they didn't come here until now. Since they were heading out to Japan, so they might as well stop by Hawaii to set some sunshine and play here.
The stage was small compared to the one showed on the "9012-Live" video. There wasn't any stage design at all, I only saw Alan's drum set, Tony's keyboards, Jon's keyboard, several guitars and basses and that's it. The big difference was Tony only used two keyboards, the reason for this was they had shipped most of the production to Japan. I saw a guy (a roadie?) with another keyboard below Tony's side of the stage, I didn't know if he was helping Tony out or not, but I saw he played when Tony was playing in several songs. Jon had a keyboard on the right rear corner of the stage, he only played it on two songs: "Changes" and "Wurm". Trevor used five guitars, four electrics and an acoustic. Chris had three basses with him: the Rickenbacker, the green Chris Squire bass built by Mouradian and the new five-string bass by Tobias, which, Chris said, he used entirely on the "Big Generator" album.
Everyone inside the arena was waiting anxiously because the show might start at any time. Finally, at about 8:00pm, some familiar music came from the speakers. It was the remixed version of "Rhythm of Love". Then light was dimmed and smoke curled out from under the drums, everyone went wild. After a few moment, the five gentlemen came from the back and kicked off the night with "Rhythm of Love", their most recent hit.
Jon was wearing a flowing white suit, Chris was in a post-Thunderdome survival jacket, Trevor was in spandex pants and glittering jacket and Tony just wore a grey sack-coat. I could not see clearly what Alan was wearing, but I think it was in black color with white stripes on it.
Jon's voice was really great and everyone else was looking good, too. "Rhythm of Love" sounds like the original version on the album, it's not that interesting. After "Rhythm of Love", Jon said: "Hello Hawaii! On drums: Mr. Alan white", then Alan played a short but excellent drum solo. Without any pause, they started "Hold on". At this time, the band was already in good shape and "Hold on" was performed so smoothly. The next song was "Heart of the Sunrise", although this was an old song, it still sounded fresh. As Jon said in one of the interviews: "On the stage, all the songs sound the same", which is true. Trevor played s song a little bit different than the original version, it still sounded very good.
The title song from their latest album "Big Generator" was next. This song was pretty heavy, especially the intro, the ending was different from the album version. Then they played my favorite song from "90125" "Changes"; this is one of the two songs that Jon played the keyboard. After "Changes", Jon said something about writing songs for YES, he said the song "Shoot High, Aim Low" was actually two songs. One of which Trevor sang about the dreams of love and peace, and he sang about this unreal world and this song was dedicated "Beyond war". After Jon finished talking, they played "Shoot High, Aim Low". What a nice song! The next song was acoustic version of "Holy Lamb", Trevor played the acoustic guitar, backed by Tony's synthesizer. Someone told me that in one of their earlier concerts, Jon played the guitar and sang the song himself. After this beautiful "Holy Lamb", Jon mentioned Tony Kaye being a wonderful keyboard player. Yes, he is a good keyboard player, but he is never my favorite keyboardist. I noticed he is still playing with one hand most of the time and had the other hand in the air. Anyway, he played a brilliant solo that evening. This was followed by Trevor's acoustic guitar solo. Trevor's solo was even better than the one on "9012-Live", he was playing really fast. He was sitting on a chair when he played the solo, he seemed to be enjoying with what he was doing. After the acoustic guitar solo, Trevor switched to his electric guitar and started to play the intro of "Make It Easy", everyone knew they were going to play "Owner of a Lonely Heart", their biggest hit ever. All the people went wild and danced when they were playing the song.
"Owner of a Lonely Heart" was followed by "Yours Is No Disgrace". Trevor improved a lot in this song both his guitar techniques and the way he interpreted the song. There was a real good guitar solo in the middle of the song. After they had played "Yours is no Disgrace". Tony, Trevor and Alan left the stage, Jon told the audience that Chris and him were going to play a duet. He called it a memory song - an excerpt from "Ritual" - "Nous sommes du Soleil". Ah, it was twenty years ago today (not exactly this day), they formed YES and they gave us all those wonderful music. They stood close to each other while Jon was singing and Chris was playing the bass guitar. After they finished the song, they shook hands and bowed to each other. Then, Jon left the stage and Mr. Chris "Amazing bass" Squire took the stage and played "Amazing Grace". He played some special effects on his pedalboard and bass. I wish Alan could join in to play "Whitefish", but he didn't. After Chris finished his solo the other four members came back to the stage and began to play their classic "And you and I". Although there was no Steve Howe or Rick Wakeman, this song still sounded great. Then they went directly into "Wurm", finale of "Starship Trooper". This was the other song that Jon played the keyboard. Chris and Trevor had a nice long jam at the end. This version of "Wurm" was about ten minutes long. I think this was the best song they played that night. After this they all came up to stage and bowed to the audience in unison. Then they went backstage.
Everyone was yelling and clapping, hoping they would return for an encore. They did, the five guys came back to the stage and Trevor started to play "Love will Find a Way". There was no violin intro and they also left off the harmonica part near the end, I didn't know why they did that. I think they should be able to play those parts, too, especially the harmonica solo, everyone knows Chris can play the harmonica. Next, they played "All good People", another good old song and everyone was very high at this point and they all sang along. After the song, the group came up to the stage again and received an ovation from the audience and left the stage again. Nearly everyone stood up and some ran closer to the stage and they all shouted for another encore. After a few minutes, the group returned to the stage and started to play "Roundabout", can any YES concerts be completed without this song? This version of "Roundabout" was really great and everyone seemed to appreciate what the band had given us in the past two-and-a-half hour. When they were done with "Roundabout", they came up the stage once again and bowed to the audience as well as received a well-deserved standing ovation. Everyone looked tired, especially Alan, he played hard all night. Then they waved to the audience and walked off the stage, the lights went up as soon as they left the stage and people began to leave with great pleasure. It's too bad that they didn't play "Final Eyes" and "I'm running'. Anyway, this was a great show and I love YES even more after experienced the first YESSHOW in my life.