I went to this show! I wrote about it on my blog at [Link]
I really enjoyed every aspect of this show. I had recently moved to New York from Toronto as my wife was from there and now had the opportunity to see the lads in NYC. I had always read and heard about the band's popularity there and now was going to experience it.
I was working near Columbus Circle at the time and headed up Broadway around 5pm with a nice 16oz can of Bud. I met some folk at The Bear Bar just up the way from The Beacon where Yes tunes and fans filled the joint right up to show time. Actually, it was almost enjoyable as the show itself. We got to the show a little late due to my wife taking her sweet time in getting there. Thankfully, we are no longer together.
The show was incredible and Steve Howe really was the standout for this one. The crowd was truly electric too. Very happy about the beer sales at The Beacon as this doesn't happen at most Canadian venues.
Sadly, I don't live in NYC anymore and missed the show at MSG in 2004.
So, the show at the Beacon (10/30). Much has already been made of the set, the band members, etc. My impressions are conflicted but mostly I share in the feeling of a welcome return of some long lost memory. Yes really has created a setting for the chemistry of Anderson, Howe, Squire & White to possibly flourish. They sound like a band, the band, again, rather than that slightly session player-ish vibe of ABWH, or the lurching mess of the UNION band. Khoroshev is really, really good; his sound and his style is much more cohesive with Yes than anything I've heard from Wakeman recently. He recreated the old keyboard parts with a rhythmic kick and an uncanny accuracy ("And You and I", "Sunrise"-excepting a couple voicing changes in the piano break, and he played "Revealing" with a commitment we've never heard even from Wakeman). Sherwood's backing vox were almost all spot on and definitely helped to make the ensemble singing the best I've heard at any Yes show. His rhythm parts were fine but his few lead breaks were marred by a shrill non-guitar sound.
The real treat was to hear the core members get down to work again. Howe warmed up in "Rhythm of Love" then delivered a performance in "Khatru" that had my wife leaning over afterword and saying (Butthead voice) "Uh, he's been practicing..". He was on all evening long; all the way through to a truly shiver-inducing break in "Wurm" (before Sherwood and Squire started the trading licks bit). Anderson sang with such gentleness and fire; his entrances were precise and his pitch near perfect, even in the obviously really hard-to-sing "Open Your Eyes". Squire, as all have said, was in fine form, putting his prodigious talents to use for good, finally, instead of evil. And did I mention the singing. No, really; even Howe and Squire were audible and in tune ("And You and I"). Along with White's unflagging, if somewhat undermixed, power (really refreshing after Bruford's noisy prescence of late), our boys recreated with real attention to detail several early epics. '"Revealing" was delivered with passion, dynamics and amazing vocals; stunning when your consider they'd already been onstage for nearly two hours when they started the opening chant. Overall it felt like a classic-era Yes concert, pacing and all. I even got a little misty during the crecendo of "Your Move". All I can say is that they must be kicking themselves that KEYS is the current document of their stage show, cause everything was light years ahead in terms of cohesion and energy.
The mix was not great. Everything could be heard but there was a spike in the sound in the upper mid frequencies that caused pain when any guitar, bass or vocal wandered into it (see Sherwood's lead guitar). To be a part of the crowd that turned out for this show was strange, indeed. Different segments of the crowd got fired up by different songs; some could not contain their enthusiasm for the show and screamed and screamed during the quiet parts ("STEEEVE";the guy in front of us). For the most part, we felt nothing in common with the folks who showed up, except for an abnormally intense feeling for this band's strange music. It's like a curse.
Anyway, the new material was interesting, but too breifly glimpsed to reveal a new direction. "Children of the Light" reminded us of that Savage Garden song, and "Open Your Eyes", well, the sitar is striking, the bass and vocals erupt with a streamilned quirkiness, but the whole thing is just a little awkward. Still, the band seems comfortable with its rocking side yet willing to experiment, which is as good a starting point as they've had in years.
PS: "Soon" was beautiful and I knew it was being performed on its own beforehand- I had accepted it; I enjoyed it, ...but...didn't it need something to come down from prior to it? If not "Gates" in its entirety, something else big. (Um. Remember the "Perpetual Change" segue from the '79 medley; Where they also generously included
WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW(repeat 1000 times).........................The show Thursday at the Beacon was outstanding!!! As I arrived at the Beacon I had to take a double take to make sure that I had not stumbled into a bar accidentally. The lobby set-up was 4-5 vendors pushing every type of alcohol you could imagine, I said to myself "hooray a glorious night of drunk fans" well I was right but that's another story. The "Art Show" was so-so; only 2 items : ( , a 1997 Reprint of the Topographic cover, and a 1997 painting of the YES logo. I could have sworn seeing Roger Dean huddled within a small group of people, next he was gone (another once in a lifetime chance gone : (I had row M dead center in the upper balcony (row N is the last row) so at first I was not too happy about my seating arrangement. That feeling of despair ended within 30 seconds of the guys taking the stage. Perfect show all around. a few things that made an impression to me: "Was it me or did they forget to have Igor's volume turned up for most of the show??" the guys got talent, why hide it, I'm sick of people comparing him to Rick, from what I've heard I think in time he will succeed in making his name part of the YES family and be accepted by all.
Billy Sherwood: : ( nothing else to say.
Now on to the show : Everything was amazing, the lights were a nice accent to the stunning performances by Jon, Chris, Steve, Alan & Igor (sorry Billy maybe next time) I was speechless during most of the show. Sib Kat. WOW, RSOG WOW WOW. Soon, WOW WOW, You get the point I can't say anything bad about the show, Even the 2 visits to the 80's ROL, ooaLH were memorable, uncalled for but memorable.
I hope to see the next leg of the tour when it comes around, for you those who have not seen the show yet, you are in for a real treat.
Went to my first Yes show on Thursday at the Beacon in Manhattan.
The show was amazing. I'll be going to more Yes shows whenever I can.
But I did have two (only two -- in three hours) problems with the show.
First -- their first set. I got seriously worried when they got up and started playing the most boring, un Yes music I had ever heard. It was OK when they did a great ending to that piece and went into an awe inspiring Siberian Khatru, but I would have been happier if they had played Tempus Fugit to begin with (starting the show with that "Yesyesyesyesyesyes" reverberating at the end).
Second -- did they really have to play "Owner of a Lonely Heart". Personally I hate that song. It made it big on the radio (which I guess was good for Yes) by being a good '80s dance song, and not showing nearly as much of Yes's musical ability as their other songs.
But out of three hours of music, those were my only two qualms. They did an amazing show, ending with a Starship Trooper ecore, which (because I had never been to a show) I had never seen live.
I love Yes.
This isn't really a "review." (My review: They were GREAT and I enjoyed it all tremendously! ;>). Since Thursday at the Beacon was the last show I'll see this tour (and I took the day off to recover), I just feel this urge to ramble.
First some odds and ends you may want to know-- SPOILERS!-- then some of impressions, for anyone who cares for that sort of thing.
The Pre-Show-- Sitting in the 4th row, very near the sound system, I was able to pick up a few more parts of the pre-recorded vocals:
"Always on the edge of what could be the greatest moment in this life" (At this show, the "waiting for the moment when the moment has been waiting..." line was on full volume just as the guys came on stage. In NJ, the line used for that had been "Open your eyes.")
"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. All good people [snip]" (This is no nursery rhyme or countdown-- as I suspected in New Brunswick-- it's more an amusing allusion to _Abbey Road_. Would have been funnier if Jon's voice had followed Chris and added "We have heaven!" :>)
Howe's first solo Thursday-- "Second Initial" (he said so too)
The Merchandise-- Now includes black sweat shirts that match the baseball caps ($50) and posters ($25). These seem to promote Dean's California show and are the classic logo with some ad copy for that. One looks basically like the cover of "OYE" (but doesn't say OYE over it) and the other uses a blue logo, both on black.
No true "art show" (if Dean was autographing Thursday too, I must have got there too late as I didn't see him). But a rather nice framed print of Tales art, number 2 of a pressing of 5 created in 1997 (anyone want to put a price tag on an edition like that?) and a blue on black classic logo, similarly dated, which looked to be one-of-a-kind. Obviously ties into Dean eventually "presenting" this to Yes, as alluded to in Notes (or somewhere-- I think I'm OD'ing on Yes news lately...).
Interestingly-- the OYE-style logo is now on Alan's drum skin (and he seemed to be wearing orange, green and yellow sweat bands on both wrists!). From where I sat in NJ, my memory may not be right on this, but I think that's a new addition.
The Stage Chat-- If first they played "America" because White wanted it, then Jon, now it's because Paul Simon is "out there somwhere" and he asked them to. Of course Simon probably was in town "somewhere" just not in the theatre...
For a guy who strings together such interesting words choice in his lyrics, Jon seemed incapable of describing New York City as anything other than "amazing. An amazing, amazing, amazing-- amazing place." No sports references this time. I got the feeling he wasn't going to reach for "local" things to say in a town that has too many (I thought it was cute, personally).
------- (now the impressions part, which you may want to skip. No "news" here.)
YesWest & Oldies fans-- There was an audible (hardly overwhelming, but definitely there) stir of approval from some at the first few notes of "OoaLH." Enough for Jon to twice urge the crowd to sing with the chorus. Which they did. This crowd seemed to sing a lot, relative to NJ. It wasn't loud enough to be distracting (not everywhere in the theatre) but I found myself thinking "some of these people have heard these songs *far* too many times for their own good." They'd ceased listening, in a way.
I can't really explain the subtle difference I felt between this kind of reception and the one they'd had in NJ, except to say I'm glad I went to both. Musically, New York was the superior show, with some of the rougher edges polished away through more appearances. But in terms of genuine crowd interaction, as opposed to reaction-- I felt far more of that at the State Theatre than the Beacon. (The band seemed to linger on stage a lot longer after the encores at the State, too-- maybe just the early-on thrill of being back on tour
Does anyone know who that little girl on the stage was? I hope the poor girl had earplugs because her mother had her sitting right in front of the peakers all night! Being a father of a four year old now I worry about these things! By the way, the show was great, and I think the band is really settling in and finding thier groove. Was it just me or did anyone else notice that Alan White looked a bit tired last night? I hope he's okay. His playing was great, as usual, as was everyone else's, almost. I still don't see the need for Billy Sherwood being there. He seemed to have some trouble with some of the music, even while reading from the sheetmusic.