31 years, 9 months and 28 days ago
Wednesday, August 7, 1991
I got off work early and headed to the box office 3 hours before the show. I was second in line but the first guy left when they opened the gates. A minute later the box office open and I said give me the best single seat you have. She said FRONT ROW-Center!!! As you can imagine it was the BEST Yes show I have seen. Bill looked bored much of the time, but doesn't he usually? Trevor played that solo right in front of me, but Steve's was better. I had Jon in front of me all night! The highlight was easily when they started my favorite Yes song, Awaken. It gives me chills even now thinking about it. For those of you at the show I was the guy in the bright tye-dye dead center. I would love to get a tape of the show or a picture. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
At Concord they were loose and relaxed and very good. Someone set a dog loose across the stage.
The Concord Pavilion is one of those outdoor theaters with regular, covered seating for about 2/3rds of the audience and an open lawn up in the back. At one point Jon asked if "the people smoking on the grass, uh sitting on the grass" were having a good time; to general laughter, guffaws and applause. I'd seen them in-the-round at the Oakland Coliseum (indoors) back in May. As with the earlier show, the highlight was 'Awaken'. The quiet section in the middle was very mystical with the lights low and a few colors dancing and flashing here and there as the band did little 'plinks' and 'plunks' on their various instruments. The various band members took it in turn to leave and return to the stage to allow for certain songs to be played by only those members who appeared on it originally. They only did this for a couple of numbers (and I can?t remember which) but I do recall that at one point there were Jon, Chris, Bill, Steve and Rick on stage only and at another time there were Jon, Chris, Alan, Trevor and Tony. (Jon and Chris, of course, were only off-stage during various members' solos.) Each time there was one of these personnel changes, the audience would applaud as if to congratulate that particular line-up for all of the Yesworks they'd created. All members were on stage for the big numbers including ?Awaken?. This song was particularly well suited for a larger ensemble. [Evidence of this can be heard on the 'rare' recording 'Round The World In Eighty Dates' which comes off much better than the version which appears on 'Keys To Ascension'.] Of the two keyboard solos, Tony's was earlier in the show. Of the two guitar solos, Steve's was earlier. [While it seemed appropriate for Tony to go first (Rick being a hard act to follow) I couldn't help feeling that it was somehow insulting to Steve that he should be asked to solo first.] Although he doesn't get credit on the album, Bill played the electronic drum parts on 'Lift Me Up'. [This contribution of his is also evident on the YesYears video during a sequence where Bill explains his use of a computer to organize the sounds on his electronic drums for different songs. As this was the second-to-the-last show of the American leg of the tour, the band were probably tired and ready for a break. The performances were just as wonderful this time, but the boys were a little more loose. For example: at one point when performing his solo, Trevor Rabin started to bend his guitar strings all over the place and then started fiddling with his tuning keys. He'd tune the strings way low and then way high with his right hand while sustaining and bending the strings with his left. It was all very bizarre but also very entertaining from a stage performance perspective. The audience loved it. The moment that most sticks in my mind happened during Rick Wakeman's solo. At one point while performing excerpts from his "Six Wives Of King Henry VIII" album ("Catherine..."?), Trevor walked on stage and started to accompany Rick with the guitar part that is on the original. This was something that had not happened in May. I later read of an interview with Rick where he described when Trevor had first tried this. It was during a rehearsal when Rick heard Trevor start playing. Rick said that he stopped playing to ask "what are you doing?" when someone (other than Trevor) said, "he's playing the guitar part from your song!" Rick responded by saying that now Trevor would HAVE to accompany him like that for the rest of the tour - which he did! Being very fond of the 'Six Wives...' album, I was thrilled to get to see some of it 'live'.] Though I'd seen Yes before and have seen them since , this show remains my one of my best Yes experiences. While the band were obviously having a great deal of fun, there was something very powerful about having all eight of those talented individuals all pumping out for you. It was a truly unique event.
Jon was truly in another world at Concord. His long, babbling, cosmic introductions (which I think are really great), were the most bizarre I have ever heard by a long shot. When he distantly introduced "Heart of the Sunrise" by saying at length that it was "time to wake up and dream" and referring to "the golden dust of wisdom from the wings of ...moths... ...moths..." many in the audience were turning to each other and saying "What? What? What is he talking about?". The whole situation was hilarious.
OK! Enough of this negativity stuff. All of these guys in YES are way superfine musicians and could totally shut down any you whiners on the net. What's with kicking Tony? I saw a UNION show at Concord - one of four shows I saw on that tour - when Rick's portable keyboard wasn`t working. Son on "Rhythm of Love" Tony took the solo while Rick walked around the stage shaking maracas. Tony' solo totally cooked!