25 years, 6 months and 23 days ago
Wednesday, November 5, 1997
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Van Andel Arena
Nick Van Zanten
I went to this concert. It was an excellent concert. I went with my dad and my Uncle Dave. Both of them are huge yes fans. We entered the Arena. We went to a souvenir booth and they were selling Yes sweat shirts and T-shirts. The lower level booth was selling them for cash only. The upper level booth took credit cards. My dad bought one of them for me. I put it on. We got inside the arena area. We all sat down. While we were in our seats, we could here the secret ambient track from Open Your Eyes. Firebird Suite started playing. Then the band tore into Siberian Khatru. After the song was over, Alan White did this drum beginning and then the band moved into Rhythm of Love. I never expected Rhythm of love. I was like suprised. I sang with the band on the songs that I only knew. I knew most of the songs from Highlights the very best of Yes. For the rest of the concert I just enjoyed. After when Chris Squire and Alan White did their solos, they tore into "Owner of a Lonely Heart". They guys made an instrumental mistake. When they did that they were like, "Whoop, thats gotta be ''Owner of a Lonely Heart''." Alan White did his drum beginning. When Billy Sherwood tore into the guitar riff, I ran right up the front with other Yes fans. For the rest of the song, I was on the floor dancing. I was like so enthusiastic. I sang too. I was on the floor the whole time. This was an excellent concert. I was 13 years old when I saw this concert. I was in 7th grade too. This was a wonderful concert.
Let me start off by saying the Grand Rapids crowd was a *rowdy* and very enthusiastic crowd, and I think the band fed off that energy all night...all except for Steve, which I shall get to later.
I attended the show with the one and only merry celeste, who had tickets for the front row. We took our seats, which were ok except that we were way off to what was going to be Steve's right side, meaning we probably weren't going to get a really clear view of everybody onstage. But then another couple came along and told us we were sitting in their seats. As it turned out, they were right; ours were in a different section -- front and center! Merry and I were sitting *right below* Jon when the show started. (By the way, for anybody who may have been at the show, I was the big guy wearing the white "Larks' Tongues" t-shirt and a Western Michigan U. baseball cap -- I was also the one pounding on the stage with my hands and cheering on Chris and Alan whenever I got the chance.) :-)
Preceding the show, there was a tape being played of environmental sounds and featuring random acapella vocal snippets off the OYE album. Very intriguing...The guys took the stage about 7:45.
All told, the show lasted about 2 hrs. and 45 minutes.
This was the third time I've seen Yes (also saw them in '91 and '94), and this was by far the *best* show of the three. The guys seemed really excited and happy -- there were a lot of big smiles onstage from Jon, Chris, Alan, Billy and, at one point early in the show, Steve. First, I'll break down my observations by band member:
Jon -- didn't hit a bad note all night; sounded and looked great. He made it all the way through the opening and closing chants of "RSOG" with only one small slip -- he sang "accept that reasons will relive..." instead of "accepting" at the end. Of course, Merry and I were coaching him from the front row by mouthing back every word, so it's no wonder he did so well! :-) He told the story about "Children of Light" being for his wife, and -- this being the first Yesshow after Nov. 4 -- he mentioned that KTA2 would be released, and I'm paraphrasing, "sometime this week, I think." Yeah, right! Before "And You and I" started, Jon told his story about telling Eddie to start rolling the tape as Steve was warming up in the studio, but, as seems to happen with this song from time to time, he also added a few comments that could have been construed as sly remarks about the substances the band members may have been partaking in at the time. He startred off by saying that in those days, Eddie was responsible "for rolling our ... (long pause) tapes," which prompted one audience member to shout out, "Rolling our what?" Jon smiled as if he knew we were onto him. He also mentioned something about drinking mint tea in the studio, except that back then they called it "magic mint tea." Hmmmmm!
Chris -- A ham as always, extending notes here and there to get a reaction from the crowd and just playing as sharply as ever. Chris seems to be evitalized on this tour, after putting in what I thought were good-but-only-average performances on the last two tours. He was wearing that strange black outfit that he apparently has worn all through the tour. I don't care what these guys wear, but those tight, short pants, white socks and black Speedo slippers just don't look that good together!!!! He was standing about 3 feet away from me at the edge of the stage during his "Heart of the Sunrise" solo and then again during "Whitefish" --God, that was incredible! When Alan took his solo, Chris turned his back to the crowd, dropped to one knee and outstretched his arms facing Alan -- and stayed that way, motionless through the entire solo. What a showman! Oh, and his vocals really shined on "Open Your Eyes."
Steve -- His best moment was on the "America" solo, which he played faithful to the studio version but still was having a heck of a lot of fun with it -- and getting th