28 years, 10 months and 5 days ago
Monday, August 1, 1994
The Woodlands, Texas
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The
They played the Cynthia Woods Pavilion in Houston, an outdoor venue, and the playing seemed fine. However, the sound mix was Horrible! I was shattered! It was as if the guy at the controls had never heard the band perform. Yecchh.
August 1 was a typically hot and humid summer day when my friends and I arrived at the outdoors Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion for the Yes Talk concert. The concert was poorly promoted here; I only learned of it about a week before tickets went on sale. Fortunately for me (not for the band), I was able to get tickets in the second row of the orchestra pit. The usual lines just weren't there. Texas has a big scalper problem, competition for seats is intense and prices are inflated, but they couldn't unload these tickets.
Attendance was poor. The security guy at the pavilion said the band had been upset all day, probably due to poor sales. It's too bad, because they put on a hell of a show.
They did play Hearts and Where Will You Be?. The encore was the single edit of Roundabout and Purple Haze - intro only.
I had misgivings about the amount of canned material in this tour - "computer accompaniment," etc. But I was relieved to be truly knocked out by the band that night.
Trevor, Chris, Alan, Tony, and Billy made their entrances and proceeded into Perpetual Change. Jon made his entrance after three or four minutes. I spotted him at the back of the ramp, stood up and screamed, "Hey, Jon!!!" Jon gave the slightest smile, picked up camera, and snapped my picture! Wonder what scrapbook I'll wind up in? He took pictures of the band all night long. Overall, though, Jon seemed pretty detached from the audience, not making much eye contact with those of us up close. He seemed tired and thin, and less animated and jovial than before. In the Houston Union concert, he quipped about fairy dust on the wings of moths... can't remember the quote, but he got a big jeer from the crowd and shrugged it off. He made the same remark again on this date, and added, "...if you recall." Not many did, but it was a special moment.
Trevor, who I've held a grudge against for some time, softened me up a bit with his technical prowess and occasional antics with Chris: Chris bending to his knees in front of Trevor, peering into his guitar and arranging his hair, then Trevor dusting the dandruff off Chris' shoulders; Chris putting a finger to his lips during Heart of the Sunrise, and he and Trevor playing pianissimo. And early in the show, Trevor's son brought out a guitar to his dad. But Trevor was pretty distant from the audience, only looking down at us once or twice; the rest of the time focused in the distance or interacting with Chris. Chris, on the other hand, was happy to see us. We made instant eye contact when he came onstage. (I've always wanted to be on stage with Yes - big confession here - and I probably got as close to realizing my fantasy that night as I ever will - hell, the stage lights lit the first five rows.) When Chris made his pregnant pause during his Heart of the Sunrise solo, he scanned the audience and settled on me as the note sustained and the tension grew. So I gave him a hand signal to proceed, and he did! Wow - I conducted the band!
It was hard to tell much about what Tony and Alan were doing - the mix was bad for those of us so close, and they were partly hidden by their instruments from my vantage point. Most of our sound came from the monitors, I think, and even the vocals were a little hard to distinguish. A woman behind me was having screaming orgasms for half an hour, which didn't help. Trevor and Chris were talking to each other and looking at her. I turned around and asked her to shut up when Jon was singing the conclusion of Hearts. At the end of the concert, Alan visibly mouthed to Jon, "I've never heard such screaming in all my life!"
The Talk concert stands out among those, not as the greatest musical event, but as my most personal experience of interacting with Yes.