This concert was a special one, in that it coincided with Chris Squire’s birthday. Also, distinguished cellist Susanne Beer – at the time working with the London Philharmonic Orchestra – appeared on stage for an amplified version of ‘From the Balcony’ with Steve Howe (gtr) and Jon Anderson (voc) after Howe’s solo spot, which tonight featured ‘Classical Gas’ again.
There was a ‘Happy Birthday’ (and a cake appearing on stage) for the amazing bass man after the Squire/White ‘Whitefish’ slot, and the giant of the Rickenbacker seemed in a robust musical mood throughout the evening.
This evening I was with friends in the Circle, rather than the stalls. It has to be said that the sound is not so dynamic there at Hammersmith. I’ve always maintained that there is a certain bubble of energy at a gig, and this was a little outside it… which gives the listener more of a feeling of observing rather than participating. It does for me, at any rate.
Even so, it was another powerful performance – very tight, with especially good renditions of ‘And You and I’ and ‘Heart of the Sunrise’.
It was March 4th 1998 & Yes were playing at the Hammersmith Apollo that evening. I didn't have a ticket, & wasn't intending to go, even though I wanted to ( I can't remember why, but it was probably a cash-flow thing). On the day, I decided to at least try phoning the booking office to see if there were any tickets left (I'd been prompted by an ad. in Mojo). There were & what's more they were decent seats in the stalls. A quick decision was made & I soon found myself on a bus from Brackley to Oxford & eventually on the Oxford Tube coach, alighting somewhere near Hammersmith. I found a tube station & knew I was waiting on the right platform as it was full of Timmy-Train-Spotting Yes fans wearing Roger Dean t-shirts (I think I had my Relayer shirt on, & once at the gig bought a lovely Yes logo t-shirt to add to the collection).
As I wandered to the venue I was approached by numerous touts who tried to convince me that the show was a sellout. I smiled a smug, knowing smile & walked towards the ticket office where I duly forked out twenty-odd quid for a ticket (the smugness departed afterwards when my Italian friend Luzio told me he'd got his ticket for a fiver off a tout!).
Not content with throwing all my money away on a ticket (plus that t-shirt), I bought a programme for the price of a good book, &also a chunky Yes logo badge (which I lost in the toilets at the Fountain, Seven Sisters, earlier this year) & settled into my seat to have a good read. I couldn't help noticing that all the seats to the right in my row were empty & I was just contemplating moving over a bit to get a better view when a young chap in a dizzyingly psychedelic Yes t-shirt showed a group of young girls to these places. I was mystified (but happy) as they looked way too young (no more than teenagers, definitely) to be Yes fanatics, & neither did they have the look of grungey student-types who'd sifted through their parents' record collections to discover the delights of Sound Chaser et al. But as the gig got underway they got into it more than anybody, all four of them seemingly knowing all the words to everything (even the stuff off The Yes Album). Meanwhile Psychedelic-Yes-T-Shirt-Kid had taken his seat a few rows in front & proceeded to groove energetically for the entire set.
As the gig progressed I developed a theory (partially aided by me noticing that all of them had lovely laminated back-stage passes) which was that this was the Anderson-Family party, the young chap being Damon Anderson & one of the girls being either Deborah or Jade (the most recent photos I'd seen of all of these had been on the inner-sleeve of Song of Seven which was released at the end of 1980 so that gave me nothing to go on) with the rest of the girls either school or college friends. This theory was partially confirmed by Jon waving to the girl I'd decided must be Jade during Owner Of a Lonely Heart, & then dedicating a song to Damon (who cheered wildly) & Jade (who slumped, embarrassed, into her chair whilst her friends laughed cruelly).
Wow! To think I was just two seats away from the great man's daughter, & very pleasant on the eye she was too. During Starship Trooper I contemplated what it would be like to date the daughter of my all-time hero (I had a girlfriend at the time, but in the realms fantasy, anything goes) & a plan was hatched in my head to at least introduce myself to her after the gig. The trouble was I was so busy chatting to mates afterwards that initially I missed her as she slipped off backstage. I wasn't finished yet though, so Luzio & I hung around to see if we could get a stray pass (whilst doing this I got chatting to Tim Smith's sister who had been working on a TV documentary about Yes which I've yet to see- that is Tim Smith from Cardiacs, philistines). Our plot was thwarted by an eagle-eyed security guy who spotted this couple handing over their passes to us ("I don't know why you want to go in there; nothing is ha
The following London March 4, 1998 show had a very special meaning to me. Besides the performance was better than the night before, I was there at Chris' fiftieth birtday. And more prouding, after the concert, via Krista again, I was invited to the Chris' birthday party - only for friends and the families - and I had another opportunity of meeting and chatting with Yes men.
We sat about 10 foot from the PA tonight. The sound was excellent and Igor was well to the front of the mix. We heard everything that he did clearly, it made you realise just how good this guy is!!! PLEASE guys get him to become a member!!!
The band were really sharp tonight. No missed cues, no bum notes (unlike last night).
Steve and Jon were joined by a chelloist for "From the Balcony", she added bass in some parts and when Jon was singing she echoed what he had just sung. This was truelly excellent.
At the end of the Chris/Alan solo the rest of the guys came on to sing Happy Birthday to him and someone in the audience came up with a cake!!!! Man, that guy can smile!!
Apart from the much better sound and the different From the balcony this was the same set as Bournmouth.
At tonight's show (4.3.98), Anderson and Howe were joined by a 'cellist on "From the Balcony". Susie (no last name given) plays in the London Philharmonic Orchestra and comes from Munich.
Great gig, usual set. One criticism though, the sound was very weak. There was very little power or depth at the bottom end. I could hardly hear the bass drum! Are there noise regulations at the Apollo or something? I get a better effect playing KTA loud on my home hifi.
Best track was easily AYAI. Could not fault anyone's playing. Jon's voice was as good as I have ever heard it.
before 'From The Balcony'
transcribed by: Pete Whipple
Jon Anderson: Yes, we're going to do a song now which..uh halfway through our summer or halfway through the..uh 'Open Your Eyes' album. When I popped over to see Steve [???] and he was playing this beautiful piece of music and I quickly jotted down some idea's and we actually recorded it that afternoon. And we're going to do it tonight [???] same way we tried it and recorded it that afternoon. But..uh we have a very special guest, all the way from Munich. She's a beautiful cellist. Her name is Susie. There she is, lovely woman. Wonderful. Excellent. She's works with the London Philharmonic and..uh we're going to perform the song for you now it's called 'From The Balcony'. There's the guys messing around. Just as we were just gonna professionally start this song and here we are messing around. It'll be okay.
Man In Audience: [???]
Jon Anderson: Beg your pardon? Thank you very much. I'm sorry I was getting carried away. [???] Yes, after you sir.