Review of "Talk" show at the Greek theatre, LA, 22 July 1994.
This was my first ever live Yesshow and what a beauty it was too. My wife, Kristie, and I travelled all the way from New Zealand just for this show. Imagine our glee when we discovered that our seats were 5 rows from the stage....and in the centre. Perfect. We were unaware of the setlist (pre-internet days y'know) so the opening which incorporated Perpetual Change was a massive surprise. The ambient keyboard composition that preceeded PC was also memorable in a modern/techno/metal sort of way. The concert seemed to go on for ever and the new songs, notably 'Where will you be?', 'Endless Dream', and 'I am waiting' were very well received. 'City of Love' was better than the only other version I'd seen at that time ie on the 9012Live video but the definite highlight was 'Endless Dream'. Chris' stage antics with Trevor fit together like Ham and Cheese and at one point Chris even used the reflective surface of Trevors guitar to adjust his hair! My wife thought Chris looked "impressive" in a pirate sort of way. 'Walls'....ugh. Tolerable, if only for the bonus soloing at the end. Roundabout seemed to fly by so fast and suddenly the show was over...wow...and I had to drive to Las Vegas the next day with a hangover. That'll teach me for drinking about 5 litres of Bud lite during the show. (obligatory restroom visit during HotS)
The shows were great! I'm a die-hard YES fan, and believe all incarnations of YES (including the Drama line-up) were part of a wonderful evolution. This group seems to love the music they're playing, and has a well-orchestrated, tight, and lively presentation. All three shows I saw were exactly the same (even tho' Jon announces an intermission 'So the band can decide what to do for the rest of the show.')
The LA crowd was rowdy - I sat midway back the first show and was treated to drunken brawling, spilled beer, and horrible attempts to 'sing along with Jon' by intoxicated viewers throughout the show. I did my best to shut them out, and the show was so good it worked most of the time! Front row the second nite was *much* better!
And I thought it was just me! I was also at the first LA show and was just shocked at the crowd - just didn't act like a regular Yes crowd at all; lots of jostling, scowling visages, etc.
FWIW, I thought the first set dragged and the second cooked. 'Endless Dream' particularly benefits from the live treatment.
The concerts at the Greek Theatre were awesome. The Greek was a different story, and the lighting was imaginative and creative. At two points a 'sock' came down from the lighting rig and images and lights were projected on it, creating a very surreal effect. The show was the one that they'd been performing (with the intermission, 'Cinema', and 'City of Love' still in the set; no 'Purple Haze' yet).
Seeing the band on more than one night gives one the chance to experience moments that might have been missed or were not remembered afterward. The show opened with a prerecorded instrumental of a variation of the opening theme from 'Perpetual Change', which the band picked up when they hit the stage. The arrangement of this shortened version was clever; Trevor and Tony played the main theme in unison while Chris and Alan played the fast counterpoint, then at one point the two pairs of musicians switched to the other part. Both 'Changes' and 'Hearts' sported extra introductions that added to the resonance of those songs (interestingly Jon left the stage for 'Changes', returning in time for his verse 'One word from you' and stayed to end the song). Billy Sherwood was all over the place on practically every song, adding the extra dimension that was a highlight of the double instruments of the UNION tour.
Though Rabin-era Yessongs were in the majority the older ones came to life equally as well. Trevor's keyboard opening to 'And You and I' was an original update, and when he repeated the same part later on twelve string it was processed to again bring a different twist to the tune. Even old standards 'Heart of the Sunrise' along with 'All Good People' were still a joy to hear. And considering Trevor had the flu you would have never known it from his near flawless performance, even throwing in themes from other Yessongs in his solo (like 'Yours Is No Disgrace' during 'Real Love').
But the real highlights were the new songs. 'I Am Waiting' was a real emotional powerhouse in concert, and the gentle 'Where Will You Be' provided some very nice moments. But I think that everyone who's seen Yes on this tour will agree that 'Endless Dream' tops anything else.