28 years, 9 months and 18 days ago
Wednesday, August 17, 1994
Little Rock, Arkansas
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette August 18, 1994
Jack W. Hill
Call it progressive rock or art rock or whatever, Yes, the British group with roots going back to the late 1960s, refused to take the easy way out and perform a hits-laced set Wednesday night at Little Rock's Julius Breckling Riverfront Park. Rather, Yes opted to concentrate on its latest music from its most recent album, 1993's 'Talk.'
'Where Will You Be,' 'Walls,' 'Endless Dreams (sic)' and 'Real Love' from the new album were particularly well-done and appreciated by many in the crowd. 'Endless Dreams,' especially, featured a nice bit of interplay between musicians and light technicians.
No doubt many of the aging baby boomers in the crowd were disappointed at hearing music they had not heard before - indeed, some left, bailing out of an awesome sound and light experience. The group's vaunted quadraphonic sound proved to be worth a listen, as waves of sound frequently washed across the audience, much to the delight of those interested in hearing new music from a group unwilling to become a parody of itself- like the Beach Boys, for instance.
A smattering of audience members sported headphone radios to check out the special stereo broadcast of the show, with some reporting varying sound quality depending on where they walked or stood.
Some allowances were made for classic hits, of course. The group played a magnificent version of 'And You and I,' with the quadraphonic sound adding to the powerful guitar play of Trevor Rabin as elfin lead singer Jon Anderson, dressed totally in white, still managed to hit all the high notes.
'Heart of the Sunrise,' 'Owner of a Lonely Heart,' and especially 'Your Move' were done well and received enthusiastically by Yes fans. 'Roundabout' was added as an encore, as the band completed a nearly 2 1/2 hour show.
Bassist Chris Squire, organist Tony Kaye and special guest multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood augmented Rabin's guitar grace and Anderson's vocals.
The group employed a high-tech set, with steel ramps rising on both sides and splitting the middle. Pastel lights of every shade, plus bright whites, deep reds and blues, played over the band in constant changing profusion, making for one of the loveliest shows ever to grace the park.
Something less than a capacity crowd turned out on a perfect weather evening for an August concert outdoors."
-What a great concert! (James here). The sound was fantastic, the weather WAS perfect, and the music itself... WOW. "Endless Dream" (Dreams ;-) must have been 30 minutes long!, but wonderful and not endless ;-) I had the best time, and rank this near the top of my Yes live experiences (3- ABWH opener in Memphis, Union in St. Louis, and now this). Yes is alive and well.
On August 17th, Yes came to Little Rock. It was their first show there since the Tales tour! I have heard vague stories about the Tales show being shut down after only a few minutes because of some dispute with the arena management. Thus the long gap in Little Rock dates. Does anyone know the real story here? The venue this time around was different from the one in '74, by the way.
Anyway the tickets were cheap ($12 a person general admission. With the exception of a very tiny VIP section, Riverfront Amphitheater is entirely lawn seating). The amphitheater is right next to the Arkansas River, and the weather was great, so it was quite a lovely evening. I'd estimate there were 7 or 8 thousand people there, and the arena can hold a maximum of about 10 thousand.
The band played for two and a half hours.
No City Of Love, no Hold On, no Cinema, no intermission. I would have to rate the performance as average to above average (which is still really great as far as Yes concerts go), not quite as good as the KC show. Rabin was a lot flashier than at Kansas City, or at least it seemed that way to me.
Oh yeah...I almost forgot :) I taped the entire show off of the ConcertSonics FM broadcast. I carried in a small tape recorder that looked a lot like a Walkman, and I removed any markings that suggested it could record. One of my friends carried in a regular walkman, and my other friend carried the tapes in by sticking them down into his high-top tennis shoes. All of this careful planning turned out to be complete overkill, as we were hardly given a first glance as we walked in, much less a second. We got our seats pretty far down on the lawn. Patched the walkman into the recorder, made a few test runs to get the record levels set by taping off a regular radio station, found the frequency when the show started, and viola! A b**tleg recording.
The recording sounds far better than I thought it would. The highs and lows are all there. The only problem to be found is occasional static from people walking in front of us, or people standing between songs, or UFOs entering the atmosphere (Jon Anderson explanation). The first three songs have a few small sections with interference, but after that there is between 0-3 half second sections with static per song. The show is mono because the recorder was mono only.
But wait, there's still more. After the show my buddies and I got roped into helping to load the trucks. We were standing by the fence leading to the backstage area, when someone came by and asked us if we wanted to help out. Of course, if we knew it was going to take two hours of back-breaking labor we wouldn't have done it. I saw Alan White and Billy Sherwood standing outside of the buses, but I was too busy manhandling a huge speaker past them and didn't have time to speak to them. We were paid $15 bucks each, and got a neat T-shirt that has the Yes Talk logo and "Talk Tour Local Crew 1994" printed on them. My friends were sort of pissed when it was over, but we've laughed a lot about it since then.