25 years, 5 months and 24 days ago
Sunday, December 7, 1997
Universal City, California
Michael A. Adashefski
I had lousey seats for this gig, way on the right side of the stage so I never actually saw Alan White until he came out for a bow. The 6-piece YES was a great beast in concert and this gig was a great display of musicianship for the old and new members. Igor's solo was excellent and it's a shame that it wasn't included in the radio broadcast. Biggest regret--I had to leave during Starship Trooper to catch a plane back to Vegas to make it to work at 6am the following morning! Now that's living Close To The Edge!!
ok this was fucking awesome. this was about the 7th time i'd seen steve howe play live with yes, and he has finally lived up to the guitar hero reputation. he rocked. squire looked and sounded great. we're really getting somewhere with this. this show was definitely more powerful than the ABWH, union and SLO shows. and this igor fellow, is the PERFECT yes keyboardist. he has more respect for wakeman's riffs that wakeman does. he played all the parts perfectly. AND his sound really blended in well with the rest of the band. seeing owner of a lonely heart followed by the revealing science of god was just flat out cool. billy sherwood is definitely a fine addition to the sound. he sings all the missing harmonies, and plays parts that were overdubs on original recordings. this is really promising. i don't know what everyone elses take on this line-up is, but i love it.
What a tremendous show. Although I did find it a bit humorous that the two new players, Igor and Sherwood were not even born when these guys first recorded an album. Nevertheless, I must say that I was extremely impressed by Igor's keyboard playing. He not only quickly proved to be more than competent, but he added a lot of interesting playing as well. Igor not only mastered Wakeman's parts, and sounds, but also played some percussion at the same time, as if he doesn't have enough going on.
I wasn't quite sure why Sherwood was even there. He seemed to be along for the ride. I could see him playing basic rhythm guitar parts, but always had the sense that if he stopped playing you wouldn't hear much change. His backup vocals on the other hand were quite good. I was amazed that he was singing higher parts than even Jon. Billy's moment, or should I say, only moment, in the show was when he tried playing Rabin's lead solo in Owner of a Lonely Heart, which he only approximated. This was just as well anyway since Steve seemed totally disinterested in the song. In fact I noticed that Steve used the song to wander over to his gear and do some tidy up with his crew while simultaneously playing his effortless backup parts.
Chris seemed to really be in a playful mood with the audience. In fact, Chris was a show just by himself. Chris's attitude was so "up" that he really had a tremendous effect of raising the entire excitement level of the audience, making it increasingly more enjoyable. I particularly liked the moments when Chris revisited parts of Sound Chaser and Tempus Fugit. My only disappointment was that they only wet our appetite, but didn't play the entire song. I guess they didn't have a spare 30 minutes. My sense was that the audience felt disappointed as well, but we would have certainly rather had it that way than not having had him played it at all.
Alan did his usual twisty rubber facial expressions during every break and crash of a cymbal. Through my binoculars I could see him sweating so much he reminded me of Albert Brooks as the anchorman in Broadcast News. At times I could see Alan trying to hang on with dear life to Igor, Steve, and Chris as they were starting to get slightly out of synch with each other, but that certainly didn't last long as they impressively pulled it back together rather quickly.
Steve was great as usual. I particularly liked Ram which was absolutely flawless. The Clap was a tad too slow, along with an "oops" toward the end of it with a minor Howe facial expression accompanying it. The rest of Steve's playing was so good, it's hard to even comment because of his usual consistency.
It was not difficult to hear and notice the reaction of the songs from OYE. The moment they played anything from the new album it seemed like a cue for the audience to take a bathroom break. At one point I even noticed Jon's reaction which was a smile and glance over to Steve as an abundance of people got up out of their seats headed for the isles. Well, so much for Open Your Eyes. They know.
As far as sound, Steve was too far down compared to the rest of the band. I was surprised that in the very beginning Steve was playing a dead slide. I would've thought they would have checked all this out ahead of time. All through the show Steve and one of the crew seemed to be constantly tweaking his two fender amp's. There was definitely something with his amp settings that bothered him that not too many of us noticed. Perhaps Steve's left amp was faulty because later in the show they moved the left amp mic over to the right amp. Still, I couldn't hear any difference.
I thought the keys sounded great but Alan's Cymbals were mic'd a bit too hot. Perhaps the same routine near deaf crew should not be mixing the levels. Either Steve's mic was off most of the time, or he actually learned to sing real low.
Although the show was great, I suppose I would have loved to hear m
YES was once again fantastic! Their sound was as good as ever! I would rate them #1 the same as I did in the 70's-80's. What talent Jon, Steve, Alan, Chris portray. I wish I could see them again!. Iam a total UES fan and I gerew up in Glendale Calif. in the 1970's. The Yestival 94' there in my hometown was neat. I got to meet the band members. They are all so spiritual in their sound. "Onward" was sang at my wedding in 1986, not many dry eyes. I would like to thank YES for all the special times that I had groeing up with them. Iam now 37. If any YES fansd would like to E-mail me, go right ahead. Enjoy you all! cause I sure do!
Set list was the same with the adition of The Balcony. Steve played as though he was out to prove himself all over again. Chris played as though he was having the time of his life. I think the whole band, with grins on their faces, new it was a special night. It was great to see the magic spark of energy back in YES, something I haven't seen personally in the last few tours. WHAT A SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!