28 years, 10 months and 5 days ago
Thursday, July 28, 1994
Blockbuster Desert Sky Pavilion
I don't remember seeing Billy Sherwood at that concert. Does anyone else? By the way, that was my favorite concert of all time. Front row seats. Fantastic.
This was the third Yes tour I caught. Union and 90125 before this. It was a bit of a letdown when the Union tour ended and the super band went their different ways. But in hindsight, Yes is best as a five piece, so it was going to happen. The thought of the eight making a cd though was appealing and seeing them wind up with the 80s lineup one more time was a little dissapointing in comparison.
That said, Talk turned out to be a good cd and this tour turned out to be the best and most musically authentic of the three this lineup did. So by the time this show was announced I was into the idea of seeing this cd live and this lineup again. It seemed the Union tour taught these guys a thing or two about playing 70s Yes music as the oldies here were played better than on previous tours, closer to their original forms. Well most, sans that keys intro Rabin put on AYAI. I remember Heart of the Sunrise in particular being stunning that night. The tease of Perpetual Change at the being of the set though was cruel. Nice they finally played it all on the Ladder tour.
This show was poorly attended, true. But those that were there were very into the set. The dust storm prior to the show was enough to make us wonder if the show would happen at all. I remember being in the parking lot and seeing this big, ugly yellow cloud approaching. Soon it was on us and you had to walk to the venue with your eyes closed, or get them pelted like sandpaper on eyeballs. The crew rushed to cover the gear up.
But it did pass and the show that followed was tight and inspired. Endless Dream with the mirror ball in the tube going off was the hilight, I suppose, though that "epic" never really hit the mark for this fan. The version of I'm Waiting they did was a real gem too. This tour was a fitting finale for what was Yes' most popular lineup. Well, if your counting album sales, anyway....
As a fan of the "classic" yes line up I was one of the older fans who had grown a bit disenchanted with the boys during the 90125 and BG years. ABWH and Union brought my love for the group back to a boil and I was determinred to give Talk a fair shot when it arrived. I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it and decided I would be seeing them on tour. I called my best childhood friend in Arizona, (at 16 this guy turned me on to the band back in 74), to see if he was going to be attending out there, (I live on the east coast), and he said that he had nobody to go with so I said - if I fly out will you go? Bang, the next thing I know my neighbor, (big progrock fan) and I are having a morning Sam Adams, (9:30 AM) in the Fridays in Pittsburgh Airport waiting for our connection to Phoenix! Being a city boy this was my first trip out to the desert and the intense beauty of it all makes the whole trip seems like a surreal dream at this point.
We originally had Lawn seats on this very hot evening and we were just cooling out on a blanket late afternoon when the mother of all storms begins rolling in - not just a T-storm mind you but a serious blanket of red dust that you could see off in the distance creeping twords us. When the tremendous thunder boomers started hitting all around us this city kid was about ready to wet his pants! Some serious evidence of natures violent furry! I kept thinking that I'd flown across the country to see a show that wasn't going to come off and be cancelled. After about an hour and a half or so when the storm subsided we settled in to our 7th row orch. seats and the show did indeed begin. Trevor was a lot more restrained than the Union shows I'd seen with him and I enjoyed the festivities very much -the setlist has already been described earlier but I will say that Endless Dream came off perfectly and I was completely sold - I saw this tour 3 more times back east. During the begining of the 3rd movement of Endless Dream a bunch of the Yesheads casually began walking up to the lip of the stage and before I knew it I was standing right off to Jon's right side - my friend tells me he wishes he had a camera to capture the expression on my face - I'd never been so close to the band at any show even tough I'd seen the 25 times or so.
The whole 3 day excursion remains in memory as 3 of the most fun filled days of my entire life and the 3 of us who attended are looking forward to recreating the magic out in Phoenix for the 1997 Summer tour if they play there - I'll keep you posted.
The show did not sell well, and that was made even more obvious when you consider that Blockbuster Desert Sky Pavillion seats 20,000. You could upgrade your lawn seats to reserve at the gates! Furthermore, a huge lightning storm rolled in about a half hour before showtime, and the high winds kicked up so much dust that the show had to be delayed over an hour. Finally, when the dust and lightning had subsided, the show would go on, even though it was well after 9 p.m. The roadies quickly set up their gear, and Yes came out and started the show without a soundcheck. By this time, I had great seats, because there couldn't have been more than 1000 people there who had weathered the storm. The band skipped Perpetual Change, and launched right into The Calling. They played remarkably well for the circumstances. Trevor Rabin was definitely on all night, far overshadowing the performances of the usual stars Jon and Chris. Perhaps it was the dust, but Jon didn't sound all that good, and he didn't talk much in between the songs. The set list was the same as all the previous shows on the tour, but they omitted Where Will You Be?. There was also no intermissions, and nobody was using the headphones, perhaps because much of the electronics were setup so quickly after the storm. The band played well, very together. And then, Endless Dream started, and the night would be complete. They pulled this epic off wonderfully, and Trever soloed a lot towards the end, in contrast to some boots I've heard from early on on the tour where there was no more soloing than on the studio version. I mean, Trevor rocked! The song had to have been longer than 20 minutes. The band left the stage, and I don't think they were planning on doing an encore because the turnout was so low, but we were loud. Those of us who remained were the true Yes fans. Finally, after almost 5 minutes, they came back out and did Roundabout, the complete version, and it rocked hard as well! All in all, they performed masterfully considering the storm and poor turnout, and I was extremely impressed. In fact, I was disappointed to hear of Trevor's leaving the band, because if everyone could have heard the way he rocked this night, he would be much, much more popular!