This show marked the beginning of my second trip from Britain to see Yes in the US, catching the tail end of the Fall 1997 North American tour in California. Huge thanks to David Cooper for sorting tickets and picking me up from San Francisco International Airport. My first task on arrival at the imposing Memorial Auditorium (built in 1926, but only renovated and reopened in 1996, following a thirteen year closure) was to buy a copy of the tour book – making a welcome return after its absence for the ‘Talk’ tour in North America.
Tonight I was back in row U on the floor, on Howe’s side. The sound was a little patchy at first, but soon picked up. Or my ears adjusted; one or the other. The first four numbers spanned the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s Yes well. By the time ‘And You and I’ began I was fighting off the jet lag. However, this proved a gig to remember. I knew that ‘The Revealing Science of God’ was coming up, but nothing could prepare me for my first experience of it live (I didn’t see the band in concert until 1977). This, for me, is what Yes music is all about.
It was a strong performance from all concerned, with Igor Khoroshev handling the keyboard parts very well indeed. By the time the final chord of ‘Starship Trooper’ was dying away and the group taking its final bows, I was exhausted and exhilarated in equal measure.
For now, just a few words on last night's Sacramento show:
-- Howe is truly back. His playing on the "classic" songs was flawless, he added a ripping solo to the end of "Owner" that made me forget the first four forgettable minutes of the song entirely, and his solo spot was nothing short of an acoustic guitar clinic. Absolutely unbelievable, and the object of a very deserving standing O and many two-armed "hails" from the front-row fans.
-- the band seems to be jelling with Igor; he's still learning, but he's got talent and enthusiasm to spare.
-- Sherwood is a good producer and vocalist, and seems happy to be there, but hey, who wouldn't? He just doesn't add anything instrumentally, although I did enjoy the slightly dazed look on his face after he finished up his average-Joe solo on Starship Trooper and then stood right next to Steve while the Master blew him off the stage. I also caught a huge grin on his face during "Roundabout"... as I said to my friend afterwards, "Imagine you were a lifelong Stones fan, and one day Keith happened by and said 'Hey kid, wanna climb on stage with me and trade solos on Jumpin' Jack Flash?' You'd be wearing a shit-eating grin, too."
hey it was my first yes show.
Heart of the Sunrise (with attitude!) The fish (and the rest of Chris' schpiel). Rhythm of Love (yes im serious, i was pleasantly suprised, although Steve looked kinda pissy, which was amusing)
Igor (he had the presence and he's damn good. how old is he?) Siberian Khatru
Just Alan's solo, which was way too heavy metal. too loud, too fast, full of masturbation fills and crap. he didn't seem to inspired. It coulda been a Motley Crue solo, to the ignorant listener.
I couldnt' even hear Billy. he seemed kinda lost most of the time.