Well, last night I attended the Yes show at Blockbuster Pavilion in San Bernadino, CA. In addition, I taped the show making use of the new "ConcertSonics" system being utilized by the band. This message is intended to provide instruction and pointers on using this method. However, I do not wish to incite debate over the legitimacy of taping live performances nor do I wish to receive flames for what might appear to be condoning or perhaps even promotion of taping. I merely wish to provide information to those who wish to engage in such behaviour.
--Law Student Mode Off--
While I am certainly no expert, "ConcertSonics" appears to be an independent Company/service employed by the band to provide a low level FM signal from the Soundboard mix to the audience. I do not believe that special tickets for the "listening section" could be bought, BUT I know that they can be won via radio stations. Radio winners at last nights concert proudly walked through the gates wearing their newly-won high-end Sony walkmen, T-shirts, and special "audio-enhanced section" tickets. These seats were located directly in front of the soundboard. I should mention that I spoke with several winners after the show. None of them seemed overly impressed by the system. The chief complaint was that the natural (amplified) sound was so loud as to impair their ability to reap any auditory benefit from their headphones.
Anyway, we sat directly in front of the radio winners section.(3 rows up) There is an antenna which stands approximately 8 foot high at the soundboard which I presume is the source of the "ConcertSonics" transmission, although that is only a guess. Despite earlier reports, the frequency on which the signal is sent is not fixed, but rather is changed from night to night. Someone earlier reported that the frequency was 97.4 and last night it was 88.7. The 97.4 intrigues me a bit since the walkmen which were won had digital tuners. Thus, they would have had no way to access 97.4 since the digital tuner only scans at odd number intervals. This brings me to my first bit of advice. If you have a walkman with a digital tuner, bring it. One of the most frustrating aspects o using a manual tuner in the heavily polluted airwaves of L.A. was the inability to accurately find 88.7 (A big thank you to the classical station that parks itself at 88.8 ;) Anyway, as for what frequency your show will be broadcast at, you will not know prior to going, so you may want to try and bring both types of walkman just in case? They come over the PA 15 minutes prior showtime and announce what frequency "ConcertSonics" will be broadcast at.
The next hurdle that stands between you and your crispy soundboard copy of the show is the extremely low level of power at which they broadcast. Even though I was less than 50 feet from the soundboard, I had somewhat of a hard time keeping a clear signal. This will sound familiar to all of you who have tried keeping a station on your walkman by moving the headphone cord (which acts as its antenna) around in a silly fashion while contorting your body in various poses. Thus I recommend that you try and sit as close to, and in front of the soundboard as you can.
As for equipment, you will at least need a walkman, and some means of recording the FM signal that the Walkman receives. I used a DAT which I connected to my walkman by running a stereo-mini (1/8 inch) cable from the headphone jack of the walkman to the "Line In" jack of my DAT. However, a more simplified method would be to use a Recording Walkman with the capability to record from the radio. In addition, the press release information indicated a need for a walkman which uses at least 2 AA batteries. Having experienced problems which owed themselves to the extremely low level signal, I urge you to follow their advice. In fact, if you can get your hands on any professional/High-end equipment which has the ability to increase reception, do it. In addi
BAM Magazine July 15, 1994
+ Whenever Yes plays live, you've got to check to see who's in the lineup. Well, this time out they've got the right singer (John [sic] Anderson), bassist (Chris Squire), and drummer (Alan White). But they've got the wrong guitarist (Trevor Rabin over Steve Howe) and keyboardist (Tony Kaye over Rick Wakeman).
Los Angeles Times July 19, 1994 Frank Farrar
Devore, Calif.--In the wake of Pink Floyd's gargantuan stadium tour earlier this summer, Yes, another cosmically oriented classic-rock warhorse, has hit the road with its own smaller-scale, high-tech, quadraphonic production in tow.
For about 2-1/2 hours on Sunday at the Glen Helen Blockbuster Pavilion here, the band dished out a bountiful serving of its astro pop, sprinkling a handful of chestnuts throughout a show built primarily on its new album, Talk, and 1983's 90125.
At its best, on songs such as Changes and Owner of a Lonely Heart, when guitarist Trevor Rabin takes charge and sends alternately crunching and swirling flourishes cutting through the strong, angelic harmonies, the band can still deliver an invigorating, uplifting escape from reality, kind of like rock 'n' roll mood chimes. At its worst, when the band's Toto-ish tendencies grab hold and lead singer Jon Anderson's free spirit goes over the edge with talk of galactic love, one could only take solace in the fact that he stopped before asking the audience its collective astrological sign. And for those seated in a section of the audience where a special stereo mix could be received on portable radio headphones, there was always the option of switching to another channel.
After countless listenings of "Talk", and having seen 6 shows on the current tour, I feel like I _finally_ have a grasp on the state of Yes - 1994. This has been quite a summer, starting with 8th row seats for the first SoCal venue, the Blockbuster Pavilion. The fact that I was able to get the tix by phone only 2 days before the show is a sad indication of the business state of the band, but the concert proved to be a wonderful indication that musically the band is alive and well.
Entertainment Today July 22-28, 1994 Chris J. Walker
With over 15 albums and 10 different personnel rosters over a 26-year period, Yes' music is still as vital and recognizable as ever. Performing at Blockbuster Pavilion to a half-capacity house, the remarkably perennial supergroup consistently enthralled a by-turns youthful and graying audience.
Choirboy-like vocalist Jon Anderson floated around the stage and was cheerful and glib between songs. Other band members meshed well, jamming fluidly throughout the show. Interestingly, their new CD Talk, was not the focus of the show. Instead, they played many old classics with an occasional new tune thrown in. Selections from the '80s hit album, 90125, and early '70s albums dominated the opening program and continued at the beginning of the second half. Concert goers responded well to the 90125 material and even stood for the hit Owner of a Lonely Heart. Bassist Squire's talents were spotlighted during the opening of the progressive gem Heart of the Sunrise. Later, guitarist Rabin joined the bassist for a spirited exchange that excited the crowd. One of the characteristics that has always put Yes in high regard is their sophisticated integration of acoustic music, vocals and kick-ass electric sounds--a hallmark that was reinforced in the band's rendition of And You and I. As almost an afterthought, Anderson and crew mixed in some new compositions with old favorites that still generated substantial audience response.
Concluding the evening's program was the new piece Endless Dream, which was structured like a suite: it was the most complex and intriguing of all the songs played. Moreover, the lighting sequence for the composition was equally impressive. Again, Yes' uncanny knack for blending both incredible instrumental and vocal interludes was spotlighted.
At the end of the suite the audience reacted slowly, as if dazed by the intense performance. Eventually, however, they emphatically cheered for an encore. The group reappeared to play Roundabout, their most popular hit.
Although it was a fine outing for the veteran group, they could stand to take some chances by playing some lesser known, more challenging material.