Sunday, April 14, 1991
East Rutherford, New Jersey
Brendan Byrne Arena
31 years, 11 months and 6 days ago
i had so much joy watching all 8 members of YES (missing was vocalist trevor horn) that i want to see a RE-UNION TOUR.
I had not seen Yes since the Tormato tour, so to say I was psyched for this would be an understatement. Thanks to a friend of the producer we had 5th row seats, so I had high expectations for the evening. As it turns out, they were completely exceeded.
Hearing the strains of Firebird Suite always puts me in a state of ultimate anticipation, and the segue into, and rendition of Yours is No Disgrace left me breathless. I've always thought that the version of this song on Yessongs has probably the best lead-in jam session of any live song I have ever heard; they didn't quite match that this time, but coming out of Firebird Suite it was still completely satisfying.
I won't go into details, as I'm sure the other descriptions here are more accurate and objective than anything I could produce. I was so starved for live Yes that the rest of the evening was more or less a eurphoric haze. However, things did take a turn for the better during interemission. The two seats in front of me were occupied by a father and his son (13-ish). When they left during intermission, the father asked me to watch the jackets they left on the seats. As I was not going anywhere, I happily agreed. When they returned, the kid turned to me, said thanks, and handed me two passes to the after show party. As I scraped my jaw off of the floor, the houselights went out, and we were into the second set. So it wasn't until the concert was over that I showed the passes to my wife, and told her the evening wasn't quite over.
So we got to wrap up the evening with lame refreshments, while chatting it up with all the members of Yes. Wow. All the band members were quite nice, and patiently answered all questions posed by the crowd of about 20. It was in talking with Jon Anderson (who was just as groovy as you could ever imagine) that I learned Yours is No Disgrace is about soldiers in Viet Nam; something of a revelation (to me, anyway). Steve Howe, who was the total understated Brit, laughed when I asked to see the calluses on his freakishly long fingers; of course, the ends of his fingers are as hard as marble. I talked with almost all the band members; I hope never got too stupid with my comments, as I was pretty giddy by that point.
All in all, an utterly mind blowing evening of listening to, and then meeting my favorite band of all time.
I was fortunate enought to sit second row for this one. The show was incredible. It is hard to describe how awesome all the assembled talent sounded. By far, the highlight was the intro for "And you & I". The hair stood straight up on my neck.
I could continue for hours for this review, but I know there are many controversial opinions regarding this lineup. I will choose to remain true to my belief that all Yes music is and has always taken me to a place that no other music can...and this show was the best that I had seen up to this point. I have seen Yes since the early years.....many, many times.
A real cool thing happened during the show that few have mentioned. I watched Howe from less than 15 feet away as he blazed on the frets and nodded to Wakeman for his turns. On one riff, he turned it over to Rabin. As Rabin did his thing I saw Howe look to Wakeman and mouth the words "he's reaaaally good" meaning Rabin...
Wakeman nodded back as if to say "you take it back, dude".
Howe did and the remainder of the evening it was clear as to who the LEAD GUITARIST was for the evening.
Although there are few, if any, recordings of this show floating around, I have this show engraved in my grey matter forever.
I would love to hear from anyone who may have a burn of this show for trade, as it would mean the world to me. (email@example.com)
Thanks for listening.
Yes, reunited, a force to be reckoned with
By Barbara Jaeger
Record Music Critic
April 16, 1991
Bigger is definitely better when it comes to the expanded Yes lineup.
And considering that Sunday's sold-out concert at Byrne Arena was only the third stop on the veteran British band's "'Round the World in 80 Dates" tour, the stirring, hypnotic music made by this reunited, rejuvenated group probably will get even better.
(Yes performs Saturday at Nassau Coliseum.)
with eight extremely talented musicians - many of these stars in their own right - sharing the stage, the situation was ripe for one-upmanship. But any artistic differences obviously have been settled and all egos checked at the stage door as the artists, who span several Yes lineups, joined forces to form a united, all-star group.
Yes is a band in the truest sense of the word. But, more importantly, it's a band with a mission: to show itself not as a commercial entity (a "reunion" band, more interested in money than music), but as a creative, artistic force to be reckoned with in the future.
Given the group's legion of hard-core fans, who packed the arena to its rafters, it would have been easy for the band merely to go through the motions and recreate its classics. But instead, Yes has recast its repertoires with rich, dynamic textures and dramatic, multihued tones. The result is that such familiar songs as "Roundabout," "And You and I," "Yours Is No Disgrace," and "Heart Of The sunrise" sound fresh and invigorated.
In a show packed with magical, memorial moments, "Awakenings" was the most dramatic, Jon Andersons' sweet heavenly tenor soared above the tune's mystical, majestic instrumentals, which demonstrated the mettle of bassist Chris Squire, guitarists Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin, keyboardists Rick Wakeman and Tony Kaye, and drummers Bill Bruford and Alan White.
"Shock To The System" and "Lift Me Up, " new songs from the soon-to-be-released album "Union," where filled with Yes' instantly recognizable orchestral rock sound. But the powerful songs also built on the contemporary, rhythm-laden feel that the band began to cultivate in 1983 with the release of the album "90125," with yielded "Changes" and "Owner Of A Lonely Heart."
While Anderson handled the majority of the lead vocals, Rabin took over the spot for "Changes." His more muscular voice added a powerful knockout punch to the song.
Rabin, Squire, and Howe all contributed distinct harmonies throughout the show, and each of the players stepped into the spotlight for solos.
The solos proved to be the only thorny area in the concert. Rather that weight the second set with solos, the band would be wise to put several into the first set, where Howe is the only featured player.
Performing in the round - on a dramatically lit circular stage that slowly revolved - lent an air of intimacy to the three-hour show.
But one suspects this show would have worked even on a standard stage because of the warmth and obvious camaraderie of the players. The teamwork and respect demonstrated throughout and the hugs and handshakes at the end of the group's two sets were proof of the renewed commitment to the wondrous Yes legacy.
The following is my review of the Yes concert on Sunday night, April 14, 1991, at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey.
The concert was scheduled to begin at 7:30, and although I left home about 6:20 for what would ordinarily be a half-hour trip, I didn't get inside the arena till almost 7:45, mostly due to very badly handled parking at the arena (my first time there). I was concerned that I might miss the start of the show, but knew that concerts rarely start on time. However, less than a minute after getting through the entrance I heard a roar from the crowd and the all-too-familiar start of the Firebird Suite. Fortunately I had entered at the correct gate, and got to my seat immediately, just in time to catch the entrance of the band (exactly 15 minutes after the officially scheduled start time).
The stage was circular (the concert was in the round, as in the days of pre-90125), with eight "arms" (for lack of a better description) connected to the top of the stage where the lights and speakers sit going nearly straight down to the edge of the stage. The "ceiling" of the stage had lots of fake stalactites. Almost certainly a Roger Dean-designed stage. Along the circumference of the stage were two drum sets directly opposite each other, one with an electronic drum kit -- clearly Bruford's -- and one of a more traditional style -- White's. There were also two keyboard "areas" set up, one with at least eight keyboards -- Wakeman's -- and one that looked more sparse (just two keyboards on a common stand) -- Kaye's. These were arranged to leave three unfurnished areas, which Howe, Rabin, and Squire would fill. And in the center of the stage was a clear area for Anderson. I thought having the drums as far apart as possible, and similarly for keyboards, did not bode well for group dynamics, but after the start of the show I realized the setup was that way on purpose -- since the show was in the round (a round stage in the center of the floor that verrrry slowwwwwly rotates), this gave everyone in the audience equal time near a drummer, guitarist, and keyboardist.
As the show began and the band came on stage the arms emanating from the top of the stage began to rise, giving the stage the look of a very large spider. After reaching their apex the arms began to rise and fall in different patterns, and did so at a few others times during the concert. For the most part, however, they stayed fully upright (which must have made the view better for those in the "cheap" seats).
As the final notes of the Firebird intro ended the entire band appeared on the stage and launched into the first song of the night -- Yours Is No Disgrace. Since hearing of the concert I was very curious how the concert would be divied up: who would play what and with whom. The show started with all eight members, and that was the way most of the songs were played. The song was played very much as it was originally recorded, with brief solo highlights first by Howe, then Rabin with White. The audience was on their feet through the entire song.
After finishing this song from their early days, the band -- all eight members -- moved straight on into Rhythm of Love, again in keeping with the original record (and none of the dance embellishments of the 12"). At the song's completion we got to hear the first words from Anderson, who was the front-man for the entire concert. He welcomed people, and asked if people wanted to hear a new song. You can guess the answer. Although he didn't give the name of the song, it was probably titled "Shock to the System", and was reminiscent of the ABWH album. This led into Heart of the Sunrise, again by all eight members.
Upon the completion of Heart of the Sunrise all the band left except Steve Howe, who launched into the Clap, with Mood for a Day spliced into the center. Again, a fairly traditional rendition, but with occasional interesting twists thrown in. As he finished the rest of the b
Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, men were Men and musicians were Musicians - especially pop stars, who, starting in the mid-'60s, were expected to play torturous scales and master complex time signatures that would humble a virtuoso classical music student. Toward that end, groups like Yes, with their 20-minute songs and zig-zagging instrumental interplay, took rock to its cosmically pretentious extreme. Now, after personnel changes and intergroup lawsuits, the band has reunited for YesShows '91, a tour that crams all eight principal members(some playing together for the first time), along with piles of keyboards, drums, and guitars, onto a revolving round stage.
Sounds like a joke, but judging from Yes' April 14 show at New Jersey's Brendan Byrne Arena, the result is more like a high school reunion: You recognize some of the faces, vaguely recall others, and leave with the gnawing sensation that perhaps it would have been wiser to stay home. The eight musicians(singer Jon Anderson, guitarists, Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin, keyboardists Rick Wakeman and Tony Kaye, drummers Alan White and Bill Bruford, and bassist Chris Squire)took three hours to play only 12 songs, laboriously re-creating intricate album-rock like "Long Distance Runaround." Anderson still sang in that wistful-elf-from-the-planet-Zontar voice, and each member took and unaccompanied solo that lasted longer than a dance club hit.
Songs from Yes' new album, "Union", were greeted politely, as was their '83 pop hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart." With its harder snap and hip-hop-rooted James Brown sample, "Owner" indicated that, at one point, Yes may have considered adjusting to changing times. No longer. Despite the appeal of some of the group's music, YesShows is merely a nostalgia tour with trickier tempo changes. Ironically, a band that once epitomized rock at its most absurdly adventurous now represents little more than show business. Indeed, the second and third concerts of the tour took place at the grossly overdecorated Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. And next month, Yes will play Las Vegas.