28 years, 9 months and 27 days ago
Sunday, August 7, 1994
Coca-Cola Lakewood Amphitheatre
It's been about 4 years since I saw this show, but I will do my best to recollect this day's event. It shouldn't be too hard for me, since I do have the benefit of a bootleg audience tape to refresh my memory! It was also very memorable to me in that it was my first Yes concert!
I've been a diehard Yes fan since I first heard "Close To The Edge" at age 13. My uncle Gary passed down an old cassette copy to me and I listened in stunned silence on one particular afternoon. Listening to it was like taking a journey and a blissful one at that! I sought out everything I could find by them afterwards. Yet it would take me 10 years more to actually witness the magic firsthand.
I was accompanied by another devoted Yes fan, a guy named Ric Burton. Ric exposed me to a wealth of unreleased Yes recordings that he has collected over the years and would manically expound upon their greatness. As though he needed to tell me! It was fun hearing him worship at the altar of Bill Bruford though! It's always good to go to a concert with someone who has a clue about the band you're going to see.
It was a very pleasant and sunny afternoon in Atlanta. A perfect day to see Yes at an outdoor venue! Our seats were about 18 rows back from the stage, so I was grateful that we wouldn't have to squint from the lawn to see them. Having arrived early, we went to a bar on the amphitheatre grounds for a quick round of beers. We talked and mellowed out a bit before walking towards the amphitheatre itself.
When we heard the opening chords of "Perpetual Change" emanating from the hall, we broke into a full run! We were missing the beginning of the concert! Within minutes, we found our seats and basked in the glow of the stage lights. That's Jon Anderson standing just 50 feet from me!
Admittedly, I have always been partial towards the Anderson/Bruford/Wakeman/Howe/Squire lineup and was not initially a fan of 90125. But I immediately sensed a newly found appreciation for this lineup. Trevor Rabin had a sort of smug confidence in his stage presence. While he tastefully re-arranged some of Steve Howe's guitar parts in the classic repertoire pieces, he was certainly more at home with his own showpieces. Hearing him blaze through the cascading scales in "Changes" was enough to silence any detractors. He made sure to double the notes in this run just to make the point absolutely clear. Trevor was not content to be in anyone's shadow.
It was also a great joy to see Tony Kaye playing with them! He may not be Rick Wakeman, but his style helped form the foundation of the classic Yes sound without a doubt. His diversity can be seen in the contrast between songs like "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and "Perpetual Change". He's gone totally gray, but lacked no energy in his performance!
Just as ageless was that kindred soul, Jon Anderson. While his vocals might not suit everyone's taste, I thought he sounded wonderful in Atlanta. As far as I could hear, he sounded dead on! He sounds particularly good with this lineup, since he has the benefit of Rabin's harmony vocals. Sorry Steve, but Trevor does have a somewhat stronger voice for harmonies!
We mustn't and couldn't forget the contributions of Chris Squire and Alan White, who both make it look so easy! Chris plays these insane runs and makes them look like afterthoughts! His intro to "Heart Of The Sunrise" was a real highlight at this show. Alan has always been a wonderful drummer and deserves so much more credit than he's been given over the years. Although Bruford played on some of Yes' landmark albums, White played on some of the most complex music that Yes has ever created (1973-78).
The new album "Talk" is a fine combination of the classic Yes sound and their more updated and commercial approach."Endless Dream" was a fine effort at recapturing their more adventurous epic spirits and was a treat to hear them perform live! "I Am Waiting" and "Where Will You Be