Still buzzing from the last two shows, I took in Roger Dean’s art exhibition in the afternoon before grabbing some food and moving on to the evening concert. Unlike many Yes aficionados, I’m not overwhelmed by his work. It has its moments (especially in the history of Yes, obviously), but then again, time and art needs to progress, too. Nevertheless, seeing a high quality print of the ‘Topographic Oceans’ cover in a specially lit side room of the gallery was special. It was a good job I didn’t have any money spare in my account after this transatlantic musical trip!
The concert itself seemed even more energetic than yesterday evening. Igor Khoroshev is still too low in the mix. Vocally, the group is perhaps at its strongest to date. It seems that Billy Sherwood doesn’t gain much approval for his contribution or credit for his work (which includes soloing on the ‘80s material), but in my view he rounds out the sound and adds helpful detail. Once again, ‘The Revealing Science of God’ was the highlight of the night for me. It was also good to hear two new solo acoustic guitar pieces from Steve Howe, which I didn’t immediately identify (‘Bareback’ and ‘Second Initial’).
Amusingly, Jon Anderson lost track of the lyrics near the beginning of ‘And You and I’, but other than that, this was another accomplished and powerful performance from all concerned. Yes comes across very well in smaller, theatre-style venues and it is remarkable to think of the particular history of the Warfield: Chaplin, Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead, among others. Shoulder to shoulder with giants for the Yesmen. I wish I had known author Bill Martin was here tonight. It would have been good to have talked about his book, ‘Music of Yes: Vision and Structure in Progressive Rock’. Overall, an ideal Saturday night.
I just saw the band at the December 13 show at the Warfield in San Francisco. I've been going to Yeshows in the Bay Area anytime I could since 1975, usually at large venues like the Cow Palace and the Oakland Coliseum Arena. Seeing them in a smaller venue was a real treat! The clarity of the sound was incredible. I think it's the first time I could actually hear Jon clapping during songs (SEEN him do it many times). I could also understand Steve and Jon's words between songs without the echo of a concrete cavern like the coliseum!
It may just be me, but my only complaint about the sound was that it seemed Chris's bass pedals were mixed WAY to loud. We were about half way up and slightly to the right on the balcony and at times the hum and rumble from the bass pedals would drown out the music. Did this bother anyone else?? Chris' solo was awesome though.... felt incredible too.
The highlight for me had to have been RSOG. I thought Roundabout was very tight (even after seeing at every show I've been to since 1975!) and I even kind of liked what they did with Rhythm of Love. Great Show. Can't wait to see them next time around! And I hope they pull a few things out of the hat next time around - like Sweet Dreams (haven't seen them do it since 75 or 76) or South Side of the Sky (has anyone ever seen them do this?).
As a 24-year old big fan of Classic Yes (I've read that would make me a "Trooper"?) I had a few worries about seeing a show as part of a tour supporting new Yes compositions. This concern came from the fact that I had listened to both "Keys to Ascension" albums and found myself disappointed in the new matierial, especially Jon Anderson's "socially conscious" lyrics (English prog-rockers take on the problems of inner-city America? Please...)
Any doubts were put to rest when the closing theme from "Firebird Suite" kicked in over the PA system at the Warfield. I was psyched - in seconds I'd be standing five feet away from YES! Incredible. When the band went into "Siberian Khatru", I was in heaven.
Yes did what I wanted them to do - played light on the new stuff and heavy on the old. Howe was the Man of the Evening. From his extended solo in "Siberian Khatru" to the obligatory performance of "Clap", he put everyone else to shame. Anderson's vocals were magnificent, and Squire dominated the stage with his size (that Rick looked like a toy in his hands), random posing, and, of course, his inventive basslines on the old material.
The show's highlights for me: "Heart of the Sunrise", "The Revealing Science of God", and Howe's solo performance. There's simply no one else like him.
The shows low points: The presence of Billy Cheesewood and the mediocre performance of the Evil Russian Prince on keyboards. Igor's place in the band makes sense to me - what would Yes be without keyboards, after all, but with the exception of the note-for-note Rick Wakeman lines, I found his playing utterly unremarkable. Why Billy Sherwood was even on stage, I have no idea. Did the band really need him for those two Trevor Rabin solos and the bland backing vocals? I mean, what's the point of having a replacement for the replacement?
Overall, a fantastic show. The sound was great, the band was in high spirits, and the crowd was really into it. I'm glad Yes is soldiering on to the year 2000, and I appreciate the fact that they're making new music. I just wish it were...better. It doesn't need to be "Classic Yes II", but it could certainly stand some improvement.
is it just me, or did saturday night totally kick fridays ASS? friday didn't seem "right", (whatever that means). when i left friday i was wondering if amy, and all of its info (and stuff!), had ruined yes for me. could'a been my seat too. balcony, 14th row, a little to the left friday. 4th chair back from the pit, right in front of howe saturday.
steve, during rhythm of love, he seemed to be scanning the crowd to determine if you were a "good" yes fan, or a "bad" yes fan (ie trooper or generator). :-)
jon, sitting on the drum riser, sitting by himself in the dark during igors solo just enjoying the "moment". totally fucked up the begining of and you and i, it was hilarious. he came up to the edge of the stage, leaned over to the crowd, as if to ask "what were the words again", and the crowd picked up the song right where jon should'a been. definitely a kodak moment. and his rainstick is about 1/2 the size i remember from the kitaro show. is there a cordless mike on his tambourine? i don't ever remember it being so clear, especially when he's away from his mike.
alan, what can i say? a madman, absolute perfection! chris, big giant goofy, house shaking son-of-a-bitch. can't believe he worked that one note, fast, faster, fastest bit into his solo, AGAIN!!! during the last bows sloshing his glass of beer all over the place. :-)
igor, in roundabout, when everyone else is singing: da doo doo doo daa daa daa, i was hearing someone else doing another "chorus". i looked, it wasn't steve, jon or chris, must be billy, nope not billy, it was igor screaming his ass off. and it fit, actually sounded good!!
billy, some things are better left unsaid....
for me at slo there was definite "charge" in the air, that wasn't there friday. but definitely was on saturday. could it be exposure to amy and all it's (dis)information ruining it for me. with the only cure for this ailment being close to the stage during a show!! or maybe having seen 10 to 15 shows up close, and another 10 or 15 not so close, i'm spoiled. don't know, don't care. all i know is saturday kicked ass, to perfection, great show guys.