And so to the last of Yes’ three nights at Wembley and five concerts in England, which also concluded the European tour. (It’s a pity that Scotland and Wales didn’t get a visit. I’m guessing that’s as much to do with the cost and technical issues around fitting the stage set-up into different venues as it is to do with the logistics of the schedule.)
Proceedings got off to a slightly uncertain start when Chris Squire’s bass lost it’s output. With Wakeman’s keyboard bass triggers prominent in the mix it didn’t notice immediately, and no sooner had Jon Anderson indicated that they would improvise until the sound picked up “because it isn’t really fair to Chris”, the technical problem was resolved and the band ploughed on.
The rest of the concert was strong, though perhaps with tiny signs of tiredness creeping in. Those hoping that Yes might make at least one set change to mark their last stop in their home country were disappointed. There was a small party on stage with the musicians’ children during the encore of ‘Roundabout’, but that was the only variation.
I couldn’t help noticing how oddly redundant Bill Bruford looks during ‘Owner’, clapping along while bopping tidily to the beat in a slightly self-conscious manner. It’s not really his musical zone, but he’s remarked that he prefers a well-written song to straining at dated prog mannerisms. This tour turned out to be a well-paid holiday for him, rather than a precursor to any further involvement, so this would be the last time we would witness his live percussive skills at the service of Yes in these islands. He was as impressive as ever, but rarely stretched.
There was an area of Wembley Arena curtained off this evening, indicating that although Yes have sold well once more, their pulling power is not what it used to be in the heyday of the ’70s. No surprise there, but they still have a large and loyal following, who were rewarded with some memorable concerts in Britain, concluding with this one.
The way I remember it, the band launched into YIND and it was fantastic. But Chris was gesturing wildly that there wasn't anything coming out of the bass, and though it didn't really matter too much in the whole opening section, the B minor riff into the quieter second section was rapidly approaching. It arrived. Still nothing out of the bass. Jon apologised, and announced that in these situations, the only thing they could do was - IMPROVISE! Oh my, I thought - this is going to be monumental! Two drummers, two keyboard players, two guitarists - now we'll really see what this motley crew of people are made of. And then some sound guy pressed the right button, and before we could experience this promised wonder, the band picked up from the B minor section. Bit of a shame, really.
The rest of the concert was OK, but not outstanding. Cheesey moments abounded, such as the 70s-style battle of the drummers, and in the way Trevor Rabin went round all the guys hugging them at the end.
This show was the last of the European Tour and I remember one of Jon's daughters joining the band on stage for Roundabout as an encore.
I went to all three shows at Wembley, but I recall the one on the 30th had many empty seats whilst the others were sellouts.
At the start of "Your's is no Disgrace", Chris broke a string on his base and brought proceedings to a halt. Jon explained that they had to stop as "We are recording tonight".
It was the last gig of the Tour and Jenny Anderson's birthday too, so there was a big party in the Wembley Arena's backstage. Also a lot of London friends and families were around, and to get a backstage pass was impossible for many of the Fan Clubs.
I had the honour of getting one of the best seats of the arena, and the show was fantastic. I think the round stage is definitive the perfect stage for Yes, I wish they could always use it live. When introducing "I've Seen All Good People" Jon said that the concerts were being recorded, I wonder if we will ever see that stuff, and Rick Wakeman told me that it has to see the light one way or another.
Jon was also joking with Trevor Rabin's new pose on his solo, sitting in a stool!!.
The end of the show with Roundabout was a great party, with the audience standing up clapping and dancing -which is quite a lot for a London audience- . Jon dedicated the song to the Yes children. They were all around that night : Bill children, Steve children, Jon children -including Jade's friends- . Just below my seat was a door where Jon family was standing. It was Jenny who looked like if she was 20 years old dressed in white , and looking like a model -and I swear she was Jenny , not her daughter Deborah-, and there was Jade with her friends too who were all dancing and clapping. Jon went down from the stage and approached his family, kissed to Jenny, and took her 11 years old daughter up to the stage with a tambourine. Jade looked quite impressed in there... In the end the roadies started getting out crazy stuff from below the stage floor : a plastic chicken, balloons in the shape of a leg, or a fish, Burt Simpson's head, and things like that. The roadies started to dance in the first row -by this time all the seats of the arena were empty and the audience was dancing in front of the stage-;
One of the roadies tried to take to dance one of the tall guys around not knowing that he was a security man, and he almost get knocked by him, it was hilarious!!. A very beautiful moment, unforgettable.
Chris's bass packed up right at the beginning of YIND, during the final night of the Union Tour at Wembley Arena in '91. I seem to remember an engineer scurrying around by the amp. while an embarassed Jon was apologising, saying this was the first time this had happened during the tour. Sort of spoiled it, as this is my favourite track, but it was amusing.
I also remember Jon kept waving to a bunch of children to the right of me throughout the set - I assume this was his daughter with some friends. During the Roundabout encore, a trapdoor opened in the centre of the revolving stage, and she was pulled up to join in the final few minutes of the concert.