Yet another version of "The Trevor Rabin Show" with the rest of the members backing. It was ok at the time, considering all the conscessions he had to make in doing the "Union" tour. I very highly doubt I would attend this concert if I knew then what I know now, though. The big highlight, however, was "Hearts", which for some reason was neglected in the above setlist. Chris' power during the big change in combination with the lighting effect was UNREAL. The playing was tight all night long. Other than that, Trevor took Yes and their fans to the cheese-factory, especially as he was doing the keyboard solo that led in to "Endless Dream". After frenetically playing the intro, he made a dramatic flourish that let us know that the intro was now being played digitally. Ugh... I've seen them countless times and this was barely ok. Better than not seeing them at all, I suppose...
Performing most of Talk, it was obvious that Yes were distancing themselves from the nostalgia-ridden Union tour and moving on. Which was good, although I would have liked to hear some additional material from Yes' vast repertoire. But this lineup was as much about new Yes as it was about their history, so it was appropriate they focus on the new album.
Talk didn't really grow on me until I heard it live. This show along with the 6/21/94 Allentown show really solidified Talk as my favorite Yes album involving Trevor Rabin. The power of songs like "Real Love," "I Am Waiting" and especially "Endless Dream" can not really be appreciated until experienced live. The band elevated these songs to the status of classics by the shear musical power they emanated live. "Endless Dream" left me in the same state of mind "Awaken" did during the Union tour - filled with awe.
Unfortunately, the promoter (if he can be called that) really dropped the ball on this tour. Much of the arena was empty. The building that Yes had a history of selling out had at least as many empty seats as full ones. Many didn't even know the band was in town - I spoke to several who said they would have gone to see them if they knew they were coming. It was at this point in Yes' history that the progressive backlash was beginning to take effect. Grunge was in, prog was out. I guess there's no accounting for taste.
After the triumph and high exposure of the Union Tour, the band was beginning to experience a downturn in popularity for the first time in their(now) 25 year career. In a year when everything was seemingly "going grunge" Yes was having a hard time selling their new music and their concert seats. Ed Sciaky, a local dj and Yes fanatic, interviewed Trevor Rabin who implored, "Come see us. Please, come see us"! I really liked the Talk album and found it to be alot more cohesive than the disjointed problematic Union. I was sorry that the band were seduced by a slightly better offer at Arista and left their home at Atlantic to go there in 1991. They probably would've still been with Atlantic today if that hadn't happened. Arista pretty much abandoned them after Union failed to sell multi-millions. I was just recovering from a broken leg and temporarily out of work that summer when the guys came through town so I didn't have alot of disposable income. I went down to the Spectrum on that nice clear August evening to take my chances. I was lucky enough to run into a couple whose friend got stuck on a business trip and left them with a 15th row ticket. They were nice people, and being big Yes fans like myself, they let me have it for half price since that was all the money I had. Besides, they would've been totally stuck with it otherwise. I'd never been that close to the stage for them before so it was a real treat. The band opened with Perpetual Change, well at least the intro anyway, before jumping into The Calling. I LOVED The Calling but would've also loved to hear the whole version of PC too! Oh well, the rest of the show more than made up for it. This tour's high point for me was Endless Dream. Breathtaking! It was also, more or less, Trevor's swansong as he left the band early the following year. I was sorry to see him go. What a talent he was! I know alot of the traditional Yesophiles never totally accepted him but you can't argue with the fact that it was much of his material and sound that gave the group their renewed success in the 1980s. I loved BOTH eras, 70s and 80s! The reunion of the mid 70s lineup after that served to cushion my disappointment. I headed back to my car limping badly from my still tender-from-the- break leg only to find......I'D LOCKED MY KEYS IN! I had to limp all the way back to the Spectrum to use the security office's phone to call for my sister to bring me the other set so I could get in(These newer cars are all almost impossible to break into by us owners who lock our keys in!) Even that misfortune was not enough to spoil a tremendous evening!
The "Talk" tour started out in my hometown -- Binghamton, NY. But at the time I was living three hours away in Philadelphia, just a few blocks from the Spectrum in Navy off-base housing.
When I drove by the Spectrum the afternoon of August 26, 1994, and found out just who was in town that night, I freaked out. I'd been wanting to see Yes for as long as I could remember, maybe even longer than that. I knew nobody else who agreed with me that Yes was the best band in the whole world. But I did know someone who would go to the concert with me, like it or not.
When my husband got home, I told him I was going to this concert and he had two choices -- go with me or find a way to stop me. We hadn't even been married a year yet but he knew how stubborn I could be; he knew better than to keep me from seeing my favorite band. So off to the Spectrum we walked, after dark, in a neighborhood where it was not unusual to hear gunfire from the projects to the west of our housing. Country boy was nervous about being out in the big city on foot after dark. I wasn't terribly sympathetic.
We spent our last $50 or so on tickets. We were sooooooooo poor. I'd just gotten back to work after being on worker's comp for almost a year. I think hubby was an E-2 or maybe an E-3 and we weren't getting a housing allowance since we lived in off-base housing on the government's tab. We walked to the concert because we sure as hell didn't have money for parking. I didn't know how we were going to put gas in the car until the next payday. I was sure I'd figure something out after the concert.
We were up in the wings, stage left, equivalent to third row on the floor. It was simply awesome. I didn't need binoculars to see Jon Anderson's facial expressions, which made me very happy. Concerts and hockey games suck when you have to sit in the nosebleed section.
Some people in front of us lit up a joint or two, and my husband started asking me if we should bring it to someone's attention. I couldn't smell it, and I wasn't going to let anything ruin my concert. Hubby had no idea it was sort of an accepted thing; he'd never been to a concert before. I, on the other hand, had never smoked one but learned what a joint was when I went to my first concert at 13 years old.
My overall impression of the concert was that it was great. I kept thinking it was such a shame that more people didn't get to hear it, since the Spectrum was less than half full. The crowd was very well behaved, too, so it was possible to really focus on the music.
The only real disappointment of this concert was that Jon forgot some of the words to some of the songs. When you've sang as many songs as he has, I guess a fan can forgive a forgotten word here and there.
This is the only Yes concert I've ever been to, so I have nothing else to compare it to, but I enjoyed the hell out of it and I'm looking forward to my next Yes concert (crossing fingers, hoping I can get time off from work when they come to Florida).
August 26 was a good day for me to see Yes in Philly. A good friend had spent his last day at work and I had to leave his happy hour celebration early to see the show. It was hard to get motivated for the show under the circumstances. That was compounded by a guy roaming the parking lot soliciting donations for the homeless and handing out "peace sign" stickers. And call me a stick in the mud, but darn it, I like getting programs at the concerts I attend. There were none to be found that night - only $25 T-shirts and $20 caps.
So my friend and I navigated to our floor seats, grumbling all the way. We were a few seats to the left of the light board. The show started a tad after 8:00. To be honest, I wasn't expecting a great show. I've been a huge fan for years, but some of these guys are about ready for Cycle 4, if you know what I mean. Pushing 50 or not, these guys put on an amazing show! Chris Squire was especially fun to watch, as he seemed to be having the time of his life. During "Heart Of The Sunrise", just as his solo part began, he strode to center stage, hit a note, and just stood there grinning from ear to ear, looking out at the adoring crowd as the note rang out. In real time he only stood there about 20 seconds , but it seemed much longer. Call me sentimental, but that was a great moment.
One phenomenon for which understanding completely escapes me is this "Troopers" versus "Generators" debate. I'm a Yes fan - period. Unlike our elected officials, I don't let party affiliation cloud my judgement. That having been said, I must now openly admit that I believe that Trevor Rabin is a tremendously talented musician who keeps pushing Yes ever more forward. Case in point: the piano opening for "And You And I". I love it! Granted, the faux-Classical part at the very beginning kinda dragged on a bit, but moving it from guitar from piano was a great idea. Now if only he could wrestle that damn harmonica out of Squire's hands...
Jon Anderson was in especially good voice. I almost feel bad about the earlier comment I made about Cycle 4 (then again, it was only a joke to begin with). He sounded better than I have ever heard him before. His voice was strong and solid, though he was not quite as animated as usual. Perhaps that slipped disc is still bothering him. Who knows.
Tony Kaye showed some promise by adding a touch of oboe/English horn to the end of "And You And I". Looking back on it, it reminds me of "Quartet (I'm Alive)" from ABWH. Similar feel - and a nice touch to a beautiful song.
Billy Sherwood was a vital part of the sound. Though merely a sideman, his parts added a lot to many songs.
The lights were absolutely amazing. The bulk of them were attached to three hexagonal platforms suspended over the stage. Like the 90125 tour lights, these could be raised and lowered. They could also be separated into three different units. And this show was the only place where I saw a mirrored disco-ball used to great effect. It showered the entire arena with starlight. And whoever invented the Varilite deserves to be canonized. These things are extraordinary! "Endless Dream" really proved its arena-worthiness, thanks in no small part to the lighting.
Probably the greatest part of the lighting that night occurred during the latter half of "All Good People". To achieve a random-looking effect to the lights, the lighting guy brought in a 7-year old kid to bang around on the board. Seriously! A little kid was working the board! At the end of the song the lighting guy took over, thanked the kid, and sent him back into the audience. Very cool!
The sound was the best I have heard yet at the Spectrum. It's still an excruciatingly live arena, but the sound crew did their best with what they had to deal with. The lights were extraordinary. The people who invented the Varilite deserve to be canonized. What an amazing piece of equipment! After more than ten years they still amaze
As strange as it might seem, the best way to describe this concert would be to compare two other concerts from two other Yes tours.
In 1987, Yes- comprised of Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire, Tony Kaye, and Alan White- released _Big Generator,_ and then undertook a long tour in support of this album. Two years later, Jon Anderson left this incarnation of Yes and joined up with Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, and Bill Bruford (with Tony Levin on bass) to record another album- entitled _Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe_- and undertook a large tour in support of this album.
Seeing as how the second tour followed so quickly after the first, many people drew comparisons between the two configurations of Yes. The Anderson-Rabin-Squire-Kaye-White band was sometimes refereed to as "Power-Yes," while the Anderson-Bruford-Wakeman-Howe-Levin band was sometimes refereed to as "Finesse-Yes." The two descriptions were fitting, as the Power-Yes band was at its best when pummeling the listener with sound, and weaker while attempting more subtle musical moments. Finesse-Yes, on the other hand, pulled off the finesse aspects of the music beautifully, but noticeably lacked something while trying to convey the sheer power of it.
It is now 1994, and Yes- in the Power-Yes configuration (with Billy Sherwood providing backing vocals, guitar work, and keyboards)- is touring in support of another album, entitled _Talk._ If this particular concert was typical of the tour as a whole, then it is evidence that Power-Yes has mastered much more of the finesse aspects of the music than they had before.
Listening to one song from this concert- "Heart of the Sunrise"- and comparing it to a version from the _Big Generator_ tour reveals that Trevor Rabin has matured considerably as a guitarist, playing with appropriate subtlety at times, and flailing power at others. And Tony Kaye played the keyboard parts more crisply than I have ever heard him play them before. Comparing tonight's performance to the performance from the _Big Generator_ tour definitely shows the latter to be lacking.
As a whole, the concert was musically every bit as solid and entertaining as one would expect from a Yes show. The use of "Perpetual Change"- quite possibly the best pre-Wakeman Yes song- as an introduction went over rather well with the very appreciative Philadelphia audience, and the band segued directly from this into "The Calling," a straight-ahead rocker which also leads off _Talk._ Other highlights of the show included the aforementioned "Heart of the Sunrise." At the beginning of the song, Jon Anderson introduced Chris Squire to the audience, and the band started into the song. After playing the first few notes of his solo, Squire paused on the fermata before the repeating figure which makes up the bulk of that section, and was visibly pleased to receive a long ovation from the audience at the Spectrum.
From _Talk,_ the band played every song but "State of Play." Of the new songs, "Real Love" probably came off the best. Despite the lack of some of the keyboard effects which drive the song on record, it was as driven and powerful as one could ask.
The major disappointment of the night for me was "Endless Dream," the epic-length song which closes out _Talk._ Not that there was a single thing wrong with the performance. Quite to the contrary- there was not a wrong note that I could hear. Unfortunately, the song relied upon much blatant sequencing in order to be played live. Trevor Rabin started the song off with the fast, repeating piano figure, played on an electronic keyboard, and then simply pressed a button, allowed the keyboard to continue on its merry way, and then picked up his guitar and began playing. The overt use of sequenced tracks continued throughout the song, which disappointed me considerably. I had hoped that, somehow, Tony Kaye and Trevor Rabin would be able to co-operate enough with their keyboard wor
As for my 23 years as a Yes fan, I can tell you that I've been there for the good and bad. Some of the best memories are from camping out for concert tickets and enjoying Yes up close. For those who are interested, I'd like to share some of the especially good and the especially bad memories:
* Weird memories of seeing Yes at the Spectrum with only 7,000 on hand. The Talk Tour left 10,000 empty seats. For an old Yeshead who was nearly crushed at JFK, this was odd.