Concert: Yes . Heard in Sportpaleis Ahoy 'Rotterdam.
by DAVID KLEIJWEGT
ROTTERDAM — Musicians playing symphonic rock are beginning to resemble an endangered species. They are getting scarcer and scarcer.
To make things easier for everyone, a few surviving copies have named their group Yes , after the genre's godfathers. And so it could happen that under that name eight excellent musicians took to the stage of the sold-out Sportpaleis Ahoy .' stood. With the help of the fans in the hall they struggled with difficulty through the classical repertoire, supplemented with new songs and of course the hit Owner of a Lonely Heart.
The original members of the rock dinosaur have grown old. You only had to listen to your ear in Rotterdam for a moment to absorb the verdict of the cynics among the public: bassist Chris Squire is an ugly transvestite at age, and if guitarist Steve Howe resembles Paulus the Boskabouter then singer Jon Anderson must have retired. In short, Yes visually made a somewhat ridiculous impression. But in the end, of course, it's all about the music.
They can play like no other, which therefore had to be widely shown to the world. The musicians were given sufficient space to display their skills on the instruments. The people in Ahoy ' were thus saddled with a barrage of ego-tripping that was hardly kept within limits by compositions.
As befits good old 'progressive' rock, the music burst at Yes constantly almost at the seams. Because of the large line-up — with no fewer than two musicians for guitar, keys and drums — this version of Yes sometimes even resembled a double dose of the original.
It's nice that this music is still being made, you might say as a result of this performance. But on the other hand, with the passing of the years, the repertoire has also started to show many worn spots. The sole purpose of the current Yes seems to be to activate the time machine. It was indeed 1971 for a while, but on the way home that dream had already been resolved.
"All good things come with age," singer Jon Anderson said. The members of the recently reunited Yes in the original line-up have not exactly become more beautiful in the meantime. The rotating disc on which the group performed in the middle of the Ahoy' was reminiscent of a cheese platter full of overripe Camembert, which had leaked in all directions. Is there anything more repulsive than a slightly overweight 40-something in leather trousers that are just a bit too tight?
Okay, that's lame, whining about appearances. So let's talk about the music. Symphonic rock, the most bombastic offspring of the pop music family. We thought we'd put an end to it for good by the end of the 1970s, but Yes is still going strong.
Eight gentlemen were on the podium. Gentlemen, each with some very large egos. No sooner had one solo come to an end than the next candidate started to play a song 'playing fast. With Yes, a solo is not about something as vulgar as a melody, but about extracting as many notes as possible from the instrument in question in a short period of time.
The result consists of 'songs' that hang together like loose sand. Bombast and powerhouse. And all this presented with a view as if something very special is happening, as if there are really super musicians on stage. Slightly misplaced; the acoustic, semi-classical interlude alone, which was inserted halfway through the show for guitarist Steve Howe, is easily corrected by any freshman conservatory student.
PETER VAN BRUMMELEN
My first Yes-concert was at this very evening, and to be perfectly honest: this was a true eye-opener for me of Yes-music, and it sure was the very best musical experience in my whole life today!
I recall very vividly that this show was recorded officially: Just before "And you and I", Jon was joking about things getting better in life: like good wine, good music, good sex, then blaming Rick about cracking jokes all the time (and still laughing about this "good sex"), then: "Actually, I have to tell you some: we are recording tonight the concert..."