I drove 282 miles from San Angelo to the Starplex on a beautiful July day. I arrived very early in the afternoon grabbed a bite to eat parked and just walked right in. The crew was setting up for the show so I just sat down and watched for quite a while no one said anything. I went to the bathroom at the time they began to admit for the show but since I was already in my ticket is still fully intacted, no one was any the wiser. The sun was beginning to go down when Yes took the stage. Trevor wore his shades for the first song. I had great seats 6th row right smack dab in front of Rabin. The sound was fantastic, the Starplex has excellent acoustics. Yes played very well it was a magical evening one of the finest concerts I have ever attended.
The highlight of my Yes summer was front row seats at Dallas' Starplex...right in front of Chris! By now you all know the song list and whatnot, so I'll just take this opportunity to make some observations:
>>>CHRIS SQUIRE RULES!!! Shame on any of you that have been implying that Chris is any less of a force to be reckoned with now as opposed to the earlier days. His performances were absolutely ripping! In addition to "Classicizing" his parts in Yes West tunes, I had close enough seats on enough occasions to see what it is he is really doing, and he is still the pre-eminent rock bassist. Even though he plays less notes on the newer tunes, every note he plays has the ATTITUDE, and nobody can reproduce that end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it tone!
>>>TONY KAYE SUCKS!!! I know that some people have posted about being impressed with Tony's Hammond work on this tour, but he muffed his few lame @#$%-licks more times than not in the shows I saw, and Trevor has to cover all the little intricate fills from the Classic era tunes cause Tony can't cut it. Yes has become more of a guitar band not because of Trevor, but because of Tony. It's a pretty sad state of affairs when a band's guitarist is a better keyboard player than the keyboard player, but Trevor's piano solo prior to "And You And I", despite being a bit schmaltzy, displays a far greater command of keyboard technique than Tony could ever hope to muster. Tony's insistence on playing with only his right hand (or is that his inability to play with both hands at one time?) while waving his left around like a rodeo rider is ludicrous within a band that plays such intricate music. With his bandana he looked more like a sushi chef than a Yes keyboard player, and he certainly sounded more like a sushi chef the way he butchered so many parts! BTW, that is not Tony playing the piano part during the intro to "Endless Dream" when Trevor stops playing to switch to guitar...it's a sequencer...I wouldn't want to have to count on Tony to play anything other than a whole note chord...after all, he can hold down a pad with the best of them! FWIW, I am a classically trained multi-keyboardist and an electronic music/MIDI expert...I know all the ins and outs of every piece of gear Tony uses, and believe me, I know how little he's doing up there!
Unfortunately, I feel that this might well be the last time Yes tours in any way shape or form. From a business standpoint, both the album and tour have proven to be failures. But Steve's attitude about Yes on his recent solo tour, and Rick's heavy commitment to his religious activities leaves me wondering whether such a regrouping is even plausible. It's safe to say that no existing or new band will ever reach us the way our heroes have through the years. Even though the flame might soon be extinguished, we have our memories and our CD collections to keep us musically alive through the coming years.
Dallas Morning News July 31, 1994 Teresa Gubbins
You'd think the big Yes reunion back in '91 would have been enough to kill the beast. That lineup brought together eight musicians who had, at one time or another, been members of the '70s-style progressive-rock monolith. If common sense prevailed, Yes would have gasped its last breath and we could have all put away the disposable lighters and gotten on with our lives. But Saturday night's show at Starplex Amphitheatre showed the monster still lives, beyond Spinal Tap, beyond any sense of reason.
Actually, you could argue about what is alive and what is not after two hours with these five goofballs in the poet's shirts and knee-high Robin Hood boots. Between the band's numb, "we've-been-here-before" professionalism and the dispassionate coolness of the music, it'd be hard to vouch for signs of life.
Older hits--Roundabout being the prime example--came few and far between generic newer material. During Real Love, a cut from the band's new disc Talk, the blend of Jon Anderson's howling-kitty vocals, Trevor Rabin's guitar and Tony Kaye's full-bore synth washes eventually acquired an almost magical, swirling property that transformed the moment. But the majority of the show wobbled between monotonous and leaden.
This is the same lineup that scored Yes' only radio hit, Owner of a Lonely Heart, a jaunty tune that stirred the audience from passive to active.
You couldn't look to the stage show for much of a lift. The ethereal Mr. Anderson prattled on as usual about touchy-feely spiritual matters, including an excruciating rumination on reincarnation during the intro to Where Will You Be. Bassist/showboater Chris Squire also fell to one knee a few times while playing and was rewarded with the bass-heavy opening to Heart of the Sunrise, a classic that also rewarded the old-timers in the audience--who were, predictably, the majority.
This tour's gimmicky selling point incorporated quadraphonic sound. Hmmm, hadn't heard about that four-speaker setup since its '70s heyday; how quaintly appropriate that Yes would seize on the concept. What it boiled down to was two additional clumps of speakers hanging at the rear of Starplex's seated area. It sounded--OK. Folks were also encouraged to bring radios and headphones for a concert simulcast. Some Walkmans were spotted, but few seemed to be on.
With only 10,000 in attendance--half-capacity--the arena had gaps aplenty. Yes may have had a revolutionary effect on some folks 20 years ago, but--as for today--it was easy to envision one of those timelapse sequences, where members of the audience disappear, one by one, until no one's left.