25 years, 7 months and 3 days ago
Tuesday, October 28, 1997
Thursday, February 21, 2013 9:42 PM
I went to this show! I wrote about it on my blog at [Link]
After reading a few posts on this one it jogged my memory about a few things:
I had not heard that Yes was coming until the day before the show like another person wrote. I told a buddy of mine about it and asked if he wanted to just drive down to Hershey and see what kind of seats we could get this late in the game anyway. He said OK and we walked up to the ticket booth a half hour before the show started and asked what they had available. We got 10th row center seats!!
Awesome show IMO, and I hate The Arena for sound quality as a rule but the sound was incredible where we were. At one point I had to hit the restroom, and as you walked up the steps to get to the level where the bathrooms are, there was an invisable wall where the sound changed from wonderful to horrible.
I didn't make the show (shame on me!). I would like to comment on one thing, however. Every posting mentions the half full arena. Well, I live 5 minutes from the arena and I only found out about the show the day before it took place and it was too late for me to change other commitments I had made. I saw a newspaper ad tucked in the corner of the page in the middle of the living section, where I can assume most "Classic Rock" fans rarely tread. My wife was reading the paper and I was walking by and the YES logo was in the middle of the ad and it caught my eye. I was never exposed to one singe radio ad. The marketing for the show was terrible! I hope the band reads this and comes back to Hershey/Harrisburg area with a new promoter who will let the public know when the show is.
After reading some of the comments (and seeing they played Heart of the Sunrise... a great live song) I'm pissed I missed it. I hope they come back.
All these years as a YES fan and this is the first time I've seen the essence of the 'classic' line-up (sans Wakeman)... can't count the Union tour or ABWH.
I didn't have the opportunity to see them in Philly (I heard they were sold out at the Tower... any truth to that??) so I spontaneously drove 2 hours to Hershey Park Arena, which admittedly is not a 'classic setting' for this band. And yeah, it did pain me to see less than half the arena filled.
All it meant was that another 2500 fans or so could have caught a great show.
After the first two or three tunes, the band tightened up considerably and played some things we haven't heard in decades.
* "Soon" and "Revealing Science of God" were two of the highlights of the show for me. I'd never heard either in concert and the the band's energy and deft touch playing both pieces made it worth the price of the ticket. I know some people feel Jon's metaphysics are too unworldly, but before the band began into "Soon" he reminisced how he innocently penned this song over twenty years ago. Today, he has greater appreciation for the song's metaphors of each of us as pieces of light returning to a higher consciousness of light. Bravo, Jon, call it as you see it and the critics be damned (not literally!). It was an honest, poignant moment. And Steve played the pedal steel sweetly with a caressing touch. Inspiring.
In the last instrumental interludes in RSOG, the welling of Khorosev's organ and keyboards and Howe's soaring guitar gave it a broad, huge, orchestral feel-- it sounded like a powerful hymn.
* Is there a better rhythm section than Squire and White??... talk about the Hammer of the Gods! The sound was loud but clean and it rained down on the crowd-- felt it as much as heard it, with those clean bass lines running right through your heart and spleen! I could have listened to a half-hour of their jamming. With nothing else competing with them, they played several teases from their storied past-- don't forget this has been the steady rhythm section since Yessongs/Topographic Oceans... that's more than 20 years folks... and in this concert I just loved their work from "Relayer" and "Drama" and "90125." It's sobering to know that I will never hear all of "Tempus Fugit" in concert, because it was one of the finest creations among Squire, White and Howe.
* Khoroshev and Sherwood were decent-- Khoroshev sometimes hitting brilliant lines, especially in the "Starship Trooper" encore, but by and large they did nothing to spoil the songs. Occasionally I thought Sherwood's vocals were out of place and he did very little to uplift the 80's Yes music, especially since Howe was only dutifully playing Rabin's lines.
*I know there are hard-core fans who think Yes took a vacation in the 80's-- but I'm one of those Yes fans that loved the Howe-Wakeman years and yeah, I loved the Rabin-Kaye stuff too! And now in concert, the 80's Yes songs definitely suffer. The only time Howe seemed alive on those songs was when he added his own licks that were never in the songs in the first place. Only Squire and White and Khorosev's improvisations brought real life to that era of music in this show.
* New stiff was good, too, especially "Open Your Eyes." Nice fresh sound and feel to it. Jon kiddingly said "it's been released as a single and is currently racing up the charts."
* Caught the encore close-up and that is the benefit of the smaller venue-- getting closer. The energy is positively infectious and it didn't matter whether they were playing to 2,500 or 25,000-- they played their hearts and souls out and what else could you ask for?
* I hope despite lagging ticket sales that this band finds a way to tour for years, because it's always an inspiration. I hope they come back this way again at the end of the tour.
Just got home from the Hershey show. Those of you who don't like to read negative stuff (not about the band, but about the seating and light show), skip the next couple paragraphs.
First off - the tickets I got from YesWorld BLEW! To be fair, I think it probably more Hershey's fault than YesWorld's, but these seats really sucked. Second row, but all the way to the right. The last two seats in the row (same as Friday at the Tower - I think I'm under a curse or something). We were facing straight into a big stack of amps that blocked the view of about three quarters of the stage. Alan was completely invisible, Jon and Chris were only visible when they stood all the way at the front edge of the stage, and usually all I could see of Billy was the top of his head. Couldn't see the stuff projected onto the background at all. These were two of the worst seats I've ever gotten for any concert. Words can not begin to describe how disappointed I was with these tickets. Those of you who couldn't get through to the YesWorld web site to get tickets - you might actually be better off getting them through Ticketbastard.
My other major gripe is with one aspect of the light show - this also bugged me Friday at the Tower. There's a blindingly bright spotlight around floor level behind Steve that the lighting guys keep shining out directly into the eyes of everyone in the front 10 or so rows on the right. That thing is REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING! You lighting guys - KNOCK IT OFF!
Ah, there, now that I've ranted I feel a little bit better. Now I can move on to the good part - the band.
Anyway, the set list was identical to the Friday and Saturday Tower shows. There did seem to be more improvision, and the band seems to be getting better with each show. Too bad the sound in the Hershey Arena is so booming and echoy - this was a really good performance overall.
Jon's microphone was off at the beginning of the show, so the first couple lines of "Rhythm of Love" were inaudible. The sound guys got the problem fixed, and Jon said "Can you hear me now? OK then, we'll start over". Without missing a beat, the band repeated the music behind the first verse and Jon took it from the top.
The only other slip-up that I noticed was just as the band shifted into the Würm section of Starship Trooper - Steve stepped on the wrong pedal and the first few bars came blasting out in super-loud super-distorted grunge style. He quickly switched to the usual sound he uses for that section, and looked like he was laughing about the whole thing.
Jon's story that leads into "And You And I" got modified a little: At the tower shows, he said that while the band was writing the song, Eddie Offord was "rolling the....tapes", and then said something about lighting a match "to...light the stove and make tea". Tonight he didn't beat around the bush at all - he came straight out and said Eddie was "rolling a joint". Got quite an enthusiastic response from the crowd, and Chris commented "This story gets better every time".
Just for the heck of it, I timed Igor's keyboard solo - almost exactly one minute. They need to give that guy a longer solo. Also, why is it that everyone gets a solo except Billy? Igor seems like more of an official member of the band than Billy.
About mid-way through the show, my wife and I couldn't take the blocked view and blinding light any more, so we moved back to the cheap seats. There were plenty of seats open - I'd say that only about half of the available seats were sold. Jon said something at the beginning of the concert about touring for the next two years and that they'd definitely be back to Hershey, but with the poor sales of this show, I'd be surprised if it happens.
Anyway, the light show looked much better from back there. There was a particularly neat effect during "Revealing Science" where a disco-ball was used to make points of light look like they're leaping from cen
You made a dream come true for me. Front Row Center ! Well almost ,Jane Anderson was center and I was four seats to her right, B1 row A seat 6, I was very happy Tues. night! Sorry to those that did not get such great seats through YesWorld. Yes and YesWorld are doing a great favor for us Yes Fans.
Now I must brag a little. I have not missed a YesTour since Tales in 1974 at the Phila. Spectrum but last night was the best, I was also at the Tower on Sat. night with my wife to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. The sound was was very clean,detailed, and dynamic. I was like the guy in the Maxell ad sitting in front of his stereo getting blown away by the sound. It was the first time I was able to see the guys up close and live, seeing every detail like Steve and Chris plucking the strings, Steve kicking the staff's walkie talkie off the stage at the beginning of Jon's solo, Chris and Billy Sherwood laughing and having a good time.
Everyone played exceptionally well. Jon's voice was perfect all night! And You and I, Heart of the Sunrise, Revealing Science of God, Chris and Alan's solo and the Encore were the Highlights of the Evening. An Evening I will never forget!