YesFest '94 was held at Manhattan Center in New York City, New York on Friday and Saturday, September 9 and 10, 1994.
Monday, July 27, 2015 3:30 PM
Well, what a way to end your first Yes sojourn in the USA – a concert at the legendary Madison Square Garden. Following previous adventures at Jones Beach and New Haven CT, there was no travel trauma prior to this gig. Instead, it was a pizza and beer nearby, then time to settle into my seat midway back in the front stalls, with a superb view of both the stage and the venue.
Strangely enough, MSG (for me, one of the iconic places to see Yes, alongside Philly, the Royal Albert Hall and Wembley) didn’t seem quite as large as I had imagined. It is certainly an imposing building, however. Back in the seventies I would never have imagined being ensconced with my favourite band in this august arena. But here I was. Despite the disappointment of no tour programme (there had been false rumours of something emerging tonight), I was thrilled to be at this show, and wasn’t disappointed.
Some of the YesFest ’94 attendees had picked up another meme about Yes throwing in a surprise for the last night of the US tour. They didn’t. Nonetheless, the performance was strong once again, and the sound where I was sitting was fabulous. I would love to get hold of a ConcertSonics recording from this show. The quad swirled around my head at times, with a thunderous rendition of ‘Heart of the Sunrise’ being one of the standouts of the evening.
Given that this was my third Yes concert in a row, the set list and arrangements were by now well imprinted on my mind. In those circumstances the occasion provided an opportunity to focus on some of the details – the cascading Rabin piano solo for ‘Silent Spring’, the interplay between Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood, Jon Anderson’s delicate coda to ‘And You and I’, Alan White’s tumultuous drum sound, and more. I’m not sure ‘Purple Haze’ added a huge amount at the end, but it was a cute twist.
The people sitting behind me had got into Yes through ‘90125’, so leapt for joy when the opening sequence of ‘Changes’ began. By this stage I was wishing for a little for magic dust from the 1970s. Even so, this was a fine concert and a memorable MSG occasion. Yes’s New York state of mind.
Thursday, July 2, 2015 7:15 AM
Wow! what a great show, although not a sellout some empty seats in the back I was right in the middle of the quad setup which sounded so good. Purple haze blew me and everyone of my friends away. what a great encore and Trevor riffed on it. another great Yes concert. My heart is saddened with the passing of my favorite musician Chris Squire. RIP!.
STEVE FROM THE BRONX
THIS SHOW WAS DIFFERENT IN THE FACT THAT YES PLAYED PURPLE HAZE FOR THE ENCORE.TREVOR RABIN ROCKED ON THIS ONE AND BILLY SHERWOOD WAS ALSO WONDERFUL.ITS GREAT TO SEE A DIFFENT ENCORE INSTEAD OF ROUNDABOUT, IN MY 31 YEARS OF YES SHOWS ONLY THREE TIMES HAVE THEY NOT PLAYED ROUNDFABOUT FOR AN ERNCORE AND TO MY DELIGHT THIS WAS ONE OF THEM.ALTHOUGH THE LAST TOUR UNION WAS FAR MORE SATISFYING YES ALWAYS IS A TREMONDOUS SHOW. GREAT OPENING WITH PERPETUAL CHANGE ALSO.
I went to this show like many Yes fans knowing that this was probably the last time Yes would play MSG. I had never seen a show there before and this seemed sad and momentous, it's hard to explain. The set-list was really disappointing, relying as it did on RabinYes. They did a wonderful version of "And You and I" and Chris Squire had the audience in his hand for "Heart of the Sunrise" -- but it seemed funereal. Not a vibe you generally get from a Yes show.
It took 16 years, but I finally got to meet THE WORLD'S GREATEST RHYTHM SECTION---Mssrs. White and Squire! Please indulge me as I tell you the strange tale that got me there.
My wife and I were sitting in our seats at Madison Square Garden waiting for the band to take the stage. Although we were both really excited about the concert, I was also feeling kind of melancholy wondering if this would be the last time we would see Yes at MSG due to the lackluster ticket sales on this tour. I was also lamenting the fact that we had missed most of YESFEST due to various prior commitments, etc. Real mixed emotion type stuff.
Then we saw it. A backstage pass. It was stuck to the back of the chair in front of us. I peeled it off and stuck it on my shirt. Needless to say, moods improved considerably. We were both extremely happy campers. A few minutes later the show started, and it was AWESOME!
The only other show we had seen on the TALK tour was Middletown, NY. Let's just say that the MSG show left Middletown in the dirt, or should I say mud. ;-) They pulled out all of the stops.
Well, during the "Jimi Hendrix" portion of Roundabout we made our way through the web of security guys. The pass worked like a charm, and we strolled right past every checkpoint and we were backstage! We met bodyguards, industry types, other fans, and the woman who danced in the cosmic-tube-thingy during Endless Dream. She was a petite woman with a French accent. She was also wearing a sticker that said "Guest of Trevor Rabin", hmmmm.
We didn't get to where the REAL action was though. You needed a coveted All Access Laminate to get to the band. Alan White did come out to pose for pictures and sign a few things. He was very gracious and stayed for only a few minutes. Then the head security dude told us, "Yes has left the building. Goodnight." The next stop was The Harley-Davidson Cafe on 56th street. The buzz backstage was that there was going to be an after hours party for Yes at the Cafe.
When we got to the Harley-Davidson we found the place was packed. A surly bouncer-type was standing in front of a velvet rope holding a guest list. Since we weren't on the list it looked like our little backstage escapade was over. We turned to go out the door and who was coming up the walk but Chris Squire! I yelled "Christopher!" He looked right at me as if to say "Do I know you?" I walked right up to him and said, " You played a great show tonight!" He grinned a big grin and said, "Why thank you!" and we shook hands. The guy has HUGE hands!
I suppose I could have pressed my luck and asked Chris if he could get us into the party, but shaking hands with THE GREATEST BASS PLAYER IN THE WORLD was good enough for me. :-D
Mission accomplished, it was time to go home. I know it probably doesn't sound like much of an encounter to some of you veteran concert-insiders, but for me it was a real thrill.
(Slightly sexist comment follows)
By the way, Chris had a beautiful and scantily-clad babe clinging to his arm. Way to go big guy.... ;-)
Speaking of being HOT and ON the concert at MSG just had to be the best show Yes has done in this incarnation, while the setlist remained the same, the music was intense, even Tony who had complained about his hands was playing with BOTH hands MASTERFULLY, I never thought he had it in him. I don't know if it was because of it being their last gig in the states, the YesFest, or all the bourgeoisie that attended, but this was the show you HAD to see.
Long Island Newsday September 11, 1994 Greg Fasolino
Yes is an easy target. Perhaps more than any other prog-rock giant, save ELP, the English group epitomizes the Paleolithic arena pretensions generally vanquished in the 1980's by rap, speedmetal, alternative and other genres. Yet Yes plowed through that decade, releasing albums like 90125 and Big Generator drenched in slick pomp-rock closer to Foreigner or Asia than to the band's own ambitious early 70s prog-opuses. Then came the confusing spectacle a few years back of two separate Yeses (ABWH) and the subsequent Union album. The years have not been kind to the members of Yes--all in their late 40's--who now resemble headband-wearing art professors more than archaic artrockers. Singer Jon Anderson is perhaps the most true to his pat; an unreformed hippie in baggy white robes and turquoise acoustic guitar, he still possesses the highest pitched male voice in rock. His airy soprano caught every updraft of the group's panoramic classics. And while Anderson's utopian vibe--reflected in stage patter about singing flowers and something called Zongonians, and the rhythms of the earth--was ultra new-agey, it was inoffensive. Bassist Chris Squire, the only member to have steadfastly served in every Yes lineup, gave the groups music its spine with intricate Rickenbacker bass runs. Contributions from Trevor Rabin, Alan White, Tony Kaye and musical handyman Bill Sherwood were solid but undistinguished. The show was a 2-1/2 hour pompathon. The songs were elephantine and arty to the core but the best of the crop--Heart of the Sunrise, And You and I, I've Seen All Good People--received good treatment, perched frequent moments of acoustic CS&N-style harmonies in the enjoyable bombastic grandeur.
Unfortunately, the bulk of the set came from this year's Talk album, which continues to tie Yes to the days when Journey and Styx ruled the airwaves with a Velveeta fist. Though the title track contained a few intriguing neo-industrial sound effects, the group seems incapable of returning tot he madrigals of its youth. Lacking original taut grace, a predictable encore of Roundabout was ungainly. But, an awful closing version of Purple Haze was downright pointless. Still, the quad sound system was remarkable, with every instrument and note rendering clear and undistorted.
I'm really quite overwhelmed by the events of the past week. I went to Yesfest in New York, explored New York, and saw Yes in New Haven and MSG. Both shows knocked me out. Especially MSG. They really pulled out all the stops. I've never seen them tighter and that includes some older 70's show.