Thanks to YesWorld, I was 4th row center-left. After leaving the box office, I can't remember ever being much happier in my life! These seats could not have been better. Many thanks to YesWorld! Faith does pay off. (It is tough going for months not possessing any tickets or knowing where you will be sitting.)
The show was awesome. The reviews have been accurate! This is Yes at their prime. It was like a time warp back to 1974. The only thing that was different was that everyone was older. Of course the band is older, but I was amazed as I walked through the crowd before the show that no one looked under 35! This looked like a symphony crowd or something.
Bless them for playing "Siberian Khatru," "America," the acoustic version of "And You and I," and the most sublime "The Revealing Science of God." This last tune was the highlight for me. It was played so well. I have been listening to it almost since it was released, but have never seen it performed. Wow! I'm glad Steve convinced the band not to abridge it. What a treasure!
Everyone is talking about Jon's voice. And for good reason. It is amazing. Smooth and beautiful. Jon was so relaxed and natural. We were in his living room.
Jon's wife was two rows in front of us. She is obviously a big Yes fan--moving and grooving on every tune! (A familiar anecdote by now I know!)
As I recall, there was a standing ovation after every tune except "Rhythm of Love" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart." Might it have something to do with the over-35 audience?
"Soon" was also a *major* success in my view, but I do wish they would have played the "intro" to it (i.e., the entire "The Gates of Delirium")! The sweet, sweet blending of Steve's steel and Jon's vocals and Chris's understated bass. It was and is the quintessence of elegance. I could clearly see Steve giving that old volume pedal quite the workout on this tune and throughout the show.
Steve's solo was perfect. In my dreams (no kidding) I was 4th row center-left and Steve played "Diary of a Man Who Vanished." All my dreams came true on November 18. Throughout most of the show, Steve was pretty unanimated, though he played superbly. But on his solo set, he came alive; e.g., during "Mood for a Day" on that part near the beginning where he's rolling around on the E string with his left hand only, he held out his right hand to the audience as if to say "Look Ma, one hand."
Chris Squire was astounding. His sound is incomparable. Throughout the show I not only heard his sound, I *felt* it deeply--right in my solar plexus. Now that's a sensual experience (3 out of 5)! My non-Yes friend commented on Chris's incredible charisma. Indeed he is charismatic--though not quite as beautiful as he was in the mid '70s (no, I am not gay). But who needs beauty when you can play bass like that?
It is so good to have Yes back together again, and it was so good to see them live once again after so many years, and in the incredibly gorgeous State Theater in Minneapolis. "We must have waited all our lives for this...moment." How true.
First - my impressions of the concert - then a setlist with times for those interested.
The State Theatre is a beautiful restored theatre that served as a perfect and very intimate setting for Yes - much like the Fremont in SLO I assume. Our YesWorld tickets (thanks so very much!) were on the 6th row center aisle - a perfect view.
Jane Anderson sat four rows in front of us and you could see Jon making eye contact with her at various times throughout the show. Once he sort of smiled and shrugged at her with a "what the hell" sort of look like he'd just made a mistake. If he did I certainly didn't catch it - he was perfect all night, his voice as strong and beautiful as it was in the early 70's. Jane and her friend sitting on the asile next to her made all sorts of neat hadn gestures for a lot of the songs - she was really into the whole show.
One can always gripe about the setlist - but I'd have to say the whole just was just great. Chris was full of energy and, well, showmanship all night long. Igor was pretty animated too and was really doing a great job with the Wakeman parts. His style isn't exactly Wakeman's, but he's a very fine keyboard player and I think he carried the characteristic Yes keyboard sound very well. Steve was incredible and as good as any of the shows I saw in the 70's. He even smiled a few times (unusual for Steve) and he was really appreciative after his solos. For those who have not seen Steve perform much, he's ALWAYS seemed a little aloof - sometimes looking like he's bored or somewhere else. That's just the way he looks, though - he's not the typical rock star guitarist and his playing is ALWAYS anything but aloof.
When it came time for RSOG, the whole band seemd to shift gears - as if it were time for something really serious. Chris toned down his stage act and the music was allowed to come completely to the foreground - the usual stage histrionics disappeared for a while and Yes just played. It was a wonderful culmination of an excellent evening. I have to admit, two or three times during Revealing I was transported briefly out of the theatre, only to come back to an earth all that more glorious for this fine performance. I suppose for those expecting the typical concert atmosphere, Revealing is a bit of a letdown, but for the serious Yes fans, it was nothing short of spectacular. This 20 minutes was, for me, the highlight of being a Yes fan for 27 years.
I can't wait to see them again in Denver.
For the historians and otherwise anally inclined, here's the setlist with running times, for the record: (No changes, except for Steve's solo....)
State Theatre, Minneapolis - 11/18, 1997 Open Your Eyes tour.
Intro: Firebird suite Siberian Khatru - 10:00 Rhythm of Love - 5:30 America - 10:00 Open Your Eyes - 5:00 And You And I - 12:00 Heart Of The Sunrise - 10:00
STEVE HOWE SOLOS:
The Vanishing (??)* - 3:00 Clap - 4:00 Mood For A Day - 4:00
Leaves Of Green - 5:00
Children of Light** - 3:00 (1st part only)
IGOR KHOROSHEV SOLO - 2:00
Long Distance Runaround - 14:00 Whitefish (excerpt from 'Tempus Fugit and 'Soundchaser') Alan White Solo (Excerpt from 'Ritual')
Owner of A Lonely Heart - 6:00 Soon - 6:00 Revealing Science of God - 20:00 I've Seen All Good People - 7:00
ENCORE (3 minutes of ovation)
Roundabout - 8:00 Starship Trooper - 15:00
They took the stage at 7:45 and left after the encore at 10:31 pm.
*Steve mentioned the titles of the three songs, but the first was muffled by applause - I caught the words "...the Vanishing...." and didn't recognize this first tune, but it was quite good.
** Jon dedicated this to his wife, as he has at most (all?) of the concerts.
My girlwife and I attended the show in Mpls. and we sat in the 4th row left, in front of SH. The place holds about 2600 and it appeared filled from what I could see. The setlist did not change from previous shows and they opened (after Firebird..) with SK. The place was on its feet and the sound was good from the start. I will have to say that CS looked a bit tired and maybe not as animated as he has been (from what I have read from previous posts), but still he was probably the most active on stage. Steve was brilliant and seemed quite happy throughout the show as did Igor and Billy. Jon was into it, but seems to be saying a lot of the same things between songs (as from what i have read on previous posts). He did mention he wanted to take this theater with them on tour, which he had said at CLE or YYZ (toronto). The sound was great for the most part, but at times CS was mixed a bit too low (if yu can believe it!). The keyboards were also a bit low at times, but most of the time they were well mixed. Jon's voice was crystal clear, even though when he talked it sounded a bit hoarse. He did not have many effects on the voice when singing, I noticed no vocoder, just some appealing reverbs and the like. I thought BS's voice was very good and the harmonies last night were very full and right on for the most part. Even SH sounded good on backup on a few songs (yes I could distinguish!). Igor seemed very happy the whole show and periodically looked off stage with a big smile then got really excited and played with flare whenever he did this. He must have been trying to impress someone off stage, and he did! I thought he played with a lot of flare throughout the show, with the highlights being RSoG, ST, IsaGP. Unfortunatly he was a bit under mixed during HotS and AyaI. I also thought he was great on Children of Light, but they only play the 1st half of that song. The piano reminds me of A VENTURE somewhat. I liked Igor a lot. He had a good stage presence I thought and can play excellent! Jon mentioned rolling a BIG JOINT while talking about recording AyaI. So, all in all I have to say it was my best Yes concert (even though I have only seen the last 3, Union, Talk and this one but have been a fan since the 70's) I have seen, but Union was also a great show. They had several shirts to choose from and a cap. I think they had the coffee mugs too. THE AUDIENCE WAS GREAT! They were totally silent during most of SH's solo and he appreciated it. The audience sat during the songs, (except one guy in the seat in front of me, one to the right...the guy next to me was not impressed with this. I saw the whole stage with no trouble.). And during some of the softer, quieter moments of several songs, the whole place was silent making for a wonderful experience and the audience also gave a standing ovation to almost every song! MINNESOTA NICE I guess!
I really liked the song OYE at this concert. Cool tune with great harmonies, rocking bass and nice changes. Steve Howe even seemed to enjoy it and this is a good thing!