so these guys are my childhood heros.... i wanted to hear future times, and i wanted to hear south side of the sky. however i was pleasantly suprised with america, the revealing, onward, siberian, and of course awaken. turn of the century is the very 1st yessong i ever heard & it's one of my favorites. it was really cool that they played it. personally, i think they could have practiced it more. however, this show was like a dream come true. my brother (a.j. schuermann) and i had been yes fans since our voices were higher than andersons. we were young. i was about 10, and aj was 12. going for the one and tormato were 2 of my favorite albums. you could imagine how thrilled i was for this to be happening nearly 20 years later. my brother and i always wanted to see this particular yes line-up, and now, we would. and - we walked from his apartment to the show, it doesn't get any better than that. i must admit that even though i am first and foremost a fan of the classic yes music, their live performance was just not as powerful or clear as the 90125 yes. i would like to hear my heros playing my favorite songs with the sound quality of the trevor rabin yes.
My comments: They were amazing. Chris and Jon somehow looked "young". They had almost as much fun as I had. Everyone sounded great (I particularly noticed Alan). Very intimate setting. Beautiful theater with nice acoustics. Great extended jams on America and the closer Starship Trooper. Powerful version of Awaken, best i've heard. Powerful version of Revealing Science, I was amazed they pulled it off. Very energetic on the last two songs (Roundabout, ST). Jon seemed too staccato on Turn of the Century (not smooth enough), and seemed to have forgotten how the vocal melody to GftO goes. Steve seemed relaxed, so did Wakeman. Overall, probably the most spectacular show I've ever seen.
I sat in the 11th row, aisle seat, Steve Howe side. A great seat!!! Sleeping out paid off, the 1st time I've ever done that. The highest point for me was Going for the One. Steve ripped, it was tight and flawless and ripping at same time. A really appropriate song for playing live - one that sounds ten times better in person than on disc.
Jon seemed really down to earth in-between songs. It was nice hearing stage banter that hasn't been repeated and honed over a 50-show tour, instead is them at times being natural - a big part of why I wanted to see at least one of these shows! I've seen Yes a few times before, but this is the most I've heard Jon talk. I guess I figured someone who'd tell the town newspaper that he and his wife met during a past life in Atlantis, might not sound down to earth, but he didn't seem at all 'lost in space' - quite the contrary, if anything.
I really liked the parts where they were just talking to each other. One part Rick evidently said some really cutting remark or something. Jon paraphrased: "(Rick, Chris and Jon laughing) It's always the quiet ones (more laughter) Rick, he's the quietest guy on stage, but sometimes you'll hear the most amazing remarks drift over the background from his direction." Later Jon called him Rick Wake-up - not sure if that meant Rick was tired - he wasn't very animated for the 1st half of the show - or something else.
Song-wise, other highlights for me were the first song, Siberian Khatru - (don't want to start the show off slow or anything). Onward - got to see Steve do those parts on acoustic guitar that always sounded like taut rubber bands to me. All Good People - And You and I - America - Roundabout (I know, but I liked it) - Starship Trooper.
Despite the fact that they haven't played it for a long time, the Revealing Science of God didn't do it for me particularly - it sounded very noisy, I couldn't catch much melody at all,... wonder what others thought.
The crowd sang Happy Birthday to Chris. The yesmag site reports they did this on the 3/4 show, too. One of Chris's comments afterwards, in a wry ironic way, was it's going to be a long birthday. My best guess was he was referring to the previous songs, which sounded great, but some had a small flaw in one section - I wondered how it felt to be trying to record a CD, put a lot of effort in, and ten minutes into it one thing gets flubbed,... ouch!!! Some songs in this category - Awaken, Revealing Science of God, Close to the Edge. Once Jon got a massive feedback burst, other times the volume was off when Rick or Steve came in on a part and only came up part way in, once they got lost coming out of one part and in to another. Anyway these songs were still great for the audience, just not if you're looking for your flawless gem to put out on CD.
I got a great view of some of the technical problems too. In particular, whoever was running the lighting for Steve Howe had a rather long night. He wanted a bright light on the pedal steel whenever he played it, I imagine so he could see what he was doing, and he wasn't getting it - first time he spent 30 seconds playing, looking at the light, gesturing at the light, playing again, etc. before it came on. He was pissed... The second time he kept gesturing, it never came on. His last gesture was a 'slit throat' sign to his guitar technician, intended no doubt to be relayed to whoever was running his lighting. Not that you could tell if any of this was interfering with his playing - he ripped!
But if you're his guitar technician, you better be on your toes! One moment with that was Steve trading an electric for an acoustic in one of the parts where the whole band goes silent and Steve's supposed to kick in with the acoustic. The guitar tech realizes the guitar isn't plugged in, grabs for the wire/alerts Steve, plugs it in and Steve jumps in after a slightly pregnant pause - but right in time. Whenever Steve switched guitars it was like a race car coming into the pits, and speeding on out again.
Jon and Chris had a good laugh when one of their techs rushed out between songs to put up song charts on Chris's music stand - Jon quickly looks at the tech and shakes his head - the tech immediately runs off and dives off the back of the stage - Jon and Chris look at each other bemused - they play the song, I think it was Onward - then aftewards Chris grabs the sheets off the stand and tosses them high in the air onto the ground, and he and Jon crack up. Don't know entirely what it was about, but something...
Whatever new songs Yes come up with, I hope Steve works in some of his kamikaze-like guitar work. The sheer spectacle of watching him physcially getting into these mind-boggling guitar lines is a really compelling part of the show and the music. I think he must be happy that his name has been reclaimed in the new Yes lineup.
For me, the Revealing, along with America, were the highlights of the shows. That's what bugged me about them adding a show before the first two. If it weren't for Monday's show, which I couldn't make, Tuesday would have been the first time in my whole life this song was played live. Not including Steve's Tales medley from NNA. Then, I really must have waited all my life for that moment. For those fo you who weren't there, or haven't heard bootlegs yet, RSOG was slightly rearranged, and improved. The chant, instead of being calm just builds in intensity. It's unbelievable. Those couple minutes of that chant were worth every cent that I paid. And so much fun to dance to!
There are two outstanding moments that I can think of. First is the fact that those three women from the east coast were totally manipulating Jon's time back stage at the aftershows. (Not only Jon's time, but also Chris S. was being "swarmed" by them.) This is very disheartening since the first night, they seemed to just wear him out and he didn't want to talk to ANY fans after they had bent his ear for (at least 1/2 hour). I mean, just how much can you say? What's wrong w/GREAT SHOW! and some other small talk. the LEAVE HIM ALONE so that the rest of us can say something to him w/out HIM being in a bad mood since you completely bored him with whatever nonsense was coming out of your mouth. (Can you tell how I feel about them?)
The highlight of my trip was the second night's aftershow party. With Jon once again being the center of attention, I chose to not bother the poor guy. After all, I'm no one special to him, just a fan, just a face. So, I decided to just have a nice time and chat w/the other fans. I was pretty worn out. So, I'm going outside to have a cigarette, and Jon is standing by the door. He moves sideways so that I can go thru, then he kinda stops me, takes my hand then hugs and kisses my check! Speechless, I half mumbled "thank you" and walked out. I was in heaven! So, at least by my not bothering him, maybe it worked out for the better that way, huh?
Before the concert on Tuesday night I was able to get a note to Jon that I was there. About 15 minutes before the concert we saw him drive up. We yelled "Hi Jon, we love you!" as he entered the back stage area. He smiled and waved at us. We watched as he stopped to look at something and talk to someone. Next thing I knew he was walking out to see me! He stumbled a bit in the parking area, and I said, "Hi Jon, it's Wendy!" Jon said my name in his beautiful musical voice and gave me hug. I introduced him to my husband Curt and my friend Laura. Jon said some very nice things about my writing, and that he had started some pictures to go with it. He told me he had a thousand things to do, but he would coordinate with me soon. I was speechless. Laura started to ask him something, and he motioned to his throat saying he had to be careful about talking too much before the show. Jon said my name again and gave me another hug!
Laura asked if we could see him after, and he invited us for a glass of wine. When we asked if we needed tickets, Jon said, "yes you need tickets, but it's rubbish if you see me! He went in to perform, and we found our third row seats!
The concert was like a dream. All the music was wonderful. My husband had never heard "The Revealing Science of God" or "Close to the Edge" live. We both enjoyed hearing "America" too. Jon smiled and waved at me, and blew me a kiss at the end of the show. I waved back as hard as I could!
After the show we went around back and waited for Jon. Sure enough he came out with Jane on his arm. As he passed by I said his name. He came over and took my hand. I was speechless again! He turned away. I said his name again, and he asked me what was your name again? I told him and he took out three passes, handing them to each of us. Saying our names. We followed him in!
The party was fun. I met a sweet lady named Ann who is from the same town my husband Curt and I are from. She took pictures of my friend Laura and I with Rick. He was very sweet and easy to talk to.
Laura stopped Chris for a photo on his way to the food table! We had a chance to thank him for this later, and tell him a story about Laura and I finding his house in Surrey, 20 years ago. Chris gave us both a kiss! He told my husband, I won't kiss you! And shook his hand.
The highlight for me was going up to talk with Jon. My friend Laura came with the camera. I told Jon that I didn't get any pictures at the concert, and he told me, "Don't worry about that!" and "smile for the camera!" The picture turned out cute. Jon then introduced me to Jane, telling her I wrote beautiful poetry to him at America on line. I took her hand and told her it was nice to meet her. Jon was looking at me, so I told him, "we've been talking for a while, haven't we!"
In Jon's own words.....I must have waited all my life for this moment!
"There's NO WAY I am not getting tickets!" That was my reaction when I first heard of the YesShows in San Luis Obispo, but I quickly turned it from this double negative into an AFFIRMATIVE statement:
"I am DEFINITELY gonna get tickets!" (In short, I would not be SOL in SLO!)
The only trouble is that I didn't get 'em, my sister did--for me and my brother Chris. What is truly WONDEROUS about this is that, as I sat here in San Francisco feverishly punching numbers & hitting the re-dial button in utter frustration, my sister was in her suburban New Jersey home doing the same thing, and SHE got through! Twice (!) -- once to secure the tickets, and again later to give my credit card number to the incredibly gracious and accommodating guys at Boo Boo's Record Shop, who held the seats for her.
....all my life for this moment, Moment...MOMENT!
Chris, with whom I attended the now infamous [sic] 1976 Roosevelt Stadium concert well over ten true summers ago, flew to San Francisco from Portland, OR the night before SLO-2 (the Tuesday night performance). The two of us drove down to the charming college town the following day, taking in the beautiful Golden State vistas. (Later that evening, Jon Anderson would liken the views [if you'll pardon the pun!] in and around SLO to a Roger Dean painting...) Our anticipation during the drive was palpable, and thoughts of "Man, I wonder if they'll play ___" abounded.
We had incredibly good seats -- FIFTH ROW -- just about directly in front of Steve Howe, and before the show we both strode to the spot directly below the Fender double-neck pedal steel. It's okay though, we didn't touch anything. I won't run through the whole litany of highlights from the performance (it's been thoroughly done by others already), but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised, not just once or twice, but throughout the show. I mean, who ever expected to see The Revealing Science of God in its entirety -- in 1996?! And AMERICA...I mean AMERICA? Steve was unbelievable, and GOING FOR THE ONE was a shock! During the latter tune my brother and I sang along a la another Chris (Squire in YesYears): "Going for the O - N - E ! ! !" (a Great scene from the video, btw...).
Overall, I was struck by the intimacy and the interaction--especially among Jon, Chris and Rick. Jon quipped that the "quiet one" Mr. Wakeman was surely writing a joke book, and it was obvious to us that he and Chris were zinging Jon throughout the show. There was a bit of rust -- JA flubbed a lyric here and there, but this didn't at all detract from the evening, and was undoubtedly the SOURCE of the Squire/RCW jabs! Alan was right on throughout -- great stamina, powerful non-stop rhythm. To see Mr. Howe put through his paces with the vintage material was a pleasure. For me it was even better than seeing him from first row on his two solo tours.
I'd have to say in closing that to experience sheer joy of performance, all one needs to do is watch Chris Squire for a little while!
TO NFTE: Thanks so much for the tickets! I am sure it was difficult organizing everything, yet from my vantage point it all went very smoothly. Thank you for your service.
TO THE BAND: So great to see you guys making magic on the stage again! Thanks for going back to the classics again and using them as a point of departure for this next stage of Yes. It's thrilling for me to have my favorite lineup of Yes back together again.
ME: Yeah, I guess I'm what they call a Trooper. I own every album from the '70s and nothing from the '80s. I also have a bunch of boots from the '70s because I prefer Yes live as opposed to Yes overproduced in the studio. There's something missing for me on most studio albums. I've never flown to a concert before, but the opportunity to see Close to the Edge and any full version from Tales was something I couldn't miss. So, now that you know where I'm coming from, here are my impressions from the second and third nights at SLO.
VENUE: Thank you for playing in such a small and charming theatre. It was wonderful!
SOUND: Acoustics were excellent, but the mix varied more than I'm used to as one moved from left to right in the theatre. I guess I'm not used to rock shows in movie theatres. With a little more practice, I'm sure I could adapt. :*)
CINEMATOGRAPHY: I don't know anything about making movies, but I would guess there was about as much equipment for this as there was for "Yessongs". Let's hope the results are better. By the way, there's nothing more bothersome than wanting to see a band perform and instead being distracted and frustrated at having to watch edits of high school science films; you know, amoebas, lava flows, and celestial scenes. Furthermore, whatever visuals are added, they're guaranteed to look dated in twenty years. Keep it simple and timeless, show the band and feature the music - unedited.
THE MUSIC: Siberian Khatru Firebird intro into S. Khatru - goosebumps all the way.
Close to the Edge I felt that this came too early in the show. This is such an intense piece that it should come during the second half of the show - maybe as a closer. Please keep it on the playlist for future tours.
All Good People Not again!
Time and a Word Nice piano intro. Not exactly a masterwork, and this is already on Yesshows.
And You And I Best version ever. Played like it was meant to be played with all the guitar changes. Unlike All Good People and Roundabout, this one never gets old.
The Revealing Science of God Thank you for playing one of the TALES pieces. I never thought I'd see something from Tales live. I think you should have played a number of gigs around California to sharpen the selections before recording. Here, it would have helped with respect to the lyrics and some hesitancy in the playing. However, the time changes were magical and the performance was truly a spellbinding experience. I think that on each of your next four tours you should play a different piece from Tales, starting with The Revealing... on the first tour and ending with Ritual on your fourth tour.
Going For the One I never liked this song, but it sounds better in this lower key.
Turn of the Century This song is a gem. Great choice! Unfortunately, it seemed to me like it lacked passion because it was played too fast. During the '77 shows, the "I'm sure we know" change was improved. Good idea to use that, otherwise the studio version is the best. Jon needs to nail down the words. Here again, a little touring before recording would have helped. During the interlude, keep the piano mixed high so it's not drowned out by the steel. Wednesday night's keyboard accompaniment during the coda sounded beautiful.
America This was performed excellently. High-energy crowd-pleasing rocker. Lots of fun. Keep it on the playlist for awhile.
Onward Definitely not a masterwork, but a truly beautiful love song made even more beautiful by the classical guitar intro. A nice change of pace.
Awaken Missing the Steinway and a real organ. Could have used some touring as well. The climax was sublime.
Roundabout Not again! Why not skip All Good People and Roundabout and give us the long version of Perpetual Change; it has been a long time.
Starship Trooper This was an excellent concert version of the Wurm, with Steve and Rick trading solos like in '79. As for sheer climatic impact, and for a live recording, the '78 Wurm is better. The consensus seems to be that the Wembly '78 Wurm captured on the King Buscuit Flower Hour is the one to strive for.
It was great that you allowed recording of the shows; I hope this trend continues. I think we are all opposed to bootlegs of released material, but unreleased live recordings can only help Yes since you play so well live. I know that I like you much more as a result of the live recordings that I have, and consequently, I have spent more money on your official releases.
TO STEVE: Try using something stiff sewn into your guitar straps so that when changing guitars, the strap can be just placed over your shoulders without your having to make any strap adjustments. Your hands could be in position to play in half the time.
TO RICK: Low-profile mirrors reflecting your fingers would improve the audience's visual experience. Use a real piano and a real organ.
Well, I hope to see you touring soon with some inspiring new music.
Thanks again for the life-long memories of those incredible SLO Shows!! You all truly played and sang great.