Transcending the boundaries between mystical reverence and power-pop, Yes put on a competent 2-1/2 hour show Monday that was boring at some parts, rocking at others and occasionally chilling.
Touring to support the recent album Talk, Yes was tight and crisp with their loud, quadraphonic sound system. Some members of the scant 3000-person audience had been encouraged to bring in a radio Walkman, with which they were to experience "Concertsonics."
How well that worked I don't know. But the quad speakers did make for interesting effects during guitar solos. As the cool evening air wafted into the amphitheater, Yes opened with the beginning of Perpetual Change under dark purple lights. Just showing up, they received the first of many standing ovations they would get during the show.
From there, the show petered off to a rather lackluster beginning. The Calling, off their new album, had the entire audience sitting still, as in a movie theater. Another new song started off like a bad Asia recording, with lame power chords and chorus lines, but got better with impressive guitar work by lead axe-grinder, singer and Talk producer Trevor Rabin. Rhythm of Love, the single from 1986's Big Generator album, got the crowd moving for the first time. Tony Kaye, acting like a recent graduate of the Keith Emerson school of keyboard poses, made use of his many instruments. Other members of the band also had their chance in the spotlight, including bassist Chris Squire, drummer Alan White and singer Jon Anderson. But too much of the concert was filled with new material, which just does not have the power of the band's older stuff. If songs like Real Love did not exactly put the crowd to sleep, it was not until the classic Heart of the Sunrise that the music really seemed alive.
Owner of a Lonely Heart, the hit from the masterful comeback album 90125, brought the crowd up a bit. But the best song of the evening was And You and I, which actually brought chills.
At first, the show seemed to end predictably, with I've Seen All Good People, and an encore of Roundabout. But just when it seemed over, the band ripped into a cover of Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze. If more of the show had been this spontaneous, it would have been a lot more fun.
Box: Too much of the concert was filled with new material, which just does not have the power of the band's older stuff.