The second night in Birmingham was a contrast to my experience of the first. The seat was better: lower tier east terrace. From there it was possible to see more of what was going on, and to notice (for example) the intricate double guitar work in ‘Awaken’. However, this didn’t feel quite such a high-octane performance. ‘Hold On’ was dropped. Other than that, there were no set changes for the rest of the UK leg of the tour.
This time the identical solo spots started to pall. It would have been so much better to have included ‘Close to the Edge’ or a couple of other ensemble pieces in the set. Yes is a band that has always depended on a creative tension between its different personalities, but it is best when the egos are pulling together rather than clawing for the limelight.
It was another appreciative audience tonight, even if some of the arena was screened out. Filling arena-sized venues for five evenings over six nights is quite a challenge. The band and audience took a day off before the forthcoming sequence of three consecutive concerts at Wembley. I met several people who were planning to make the trip down to London from Birmingham for at least one evening, just as I had headed the other way for these two.