Sunday, May 19, 1991
31 years, 10 months and 1 day ago
On the Union tour, when Yes came to Portland, Oregon, May 19, 1991, they played "Awaken" for the final encore. Mr. Anderson said 'we'll be playing something off of GFTO' and I was like, oh goodie! The title track! Uh-uh. Sure wasn't "Roundabout." Oh, yeah, they did that too, but it wasn't the closer. Whatever it was, it was off GFTO, it was a double-yawner, I liked it, and that explains why Yes ain't touring here on this go-round.
The venue for the Portland, OR visit during the Union tour had ??? instead of a name. It was, in fact, played at the Portland Memorial Coloseum. It is also known on occasion as the Glass Palace in reference to the vast amount of windows surrounding the building. This venue is not to be confused with the Rose Garden (Portland's NEW concert and sporting facility), and it was not torn down. It's actually just a block away from the Rose Garden, and is still used quite frequently for concerts and other attractions.
I happened to be at the concert that night. I won tickets to the show via a local rock station, and sat in the "Golden Circle" section. The overall feel of the performance was good, and all members played true to their capabilities. I was a bit displeased with the crowd, however. Audience participation was at a minimum. Even during the best of participation songs, like 'All Good People' where Jon attempted to entice the audience to sing along because Rick was supposedly recording the song for a bootleg, a majority of the fans only sang half-heartedly, incoherently, or not at all. Maybe that's why they only played one encore...
Reading over a lot of the statements people have made about Yes in general, I've been surprised at how little has been mentioned with regards to live performance.
The audience reactions are usually just as interesting as the performances themselves at these concerts, because there is a constant interplay between what the people do and how the musicians play.
In reference to the UNION show, I was impressed by the grandness of seeing the band in the round, but there was something missing. One of the things that helped make Yes' music work for me was that the music was the focus of their artistry, not their method of delivery. At the UNION tour, there was less humility on the part of the players, but even less humility on the part of the audience. I have never been told to get up and dance at a Yes concert, but I was that night. The audience was confused, I guess, as to what was going on. They didn't sing "All Good People" when the band asked them to. It was very discordant. And Trevor's guitar was too polished. It reflected the lights into people's eyes and was very distracting. His playing was excellent in his own way, and so was everyone else. I'm afraid, however, that there was not enough humility involved to allow the music to exist as intensely as it had during the ABWH concert.