The show started off good. It seemed that they were a little off on Rhythm of Love. I think Billy's mix way too low on that song and also on Open Your Eyes. Once the band got into the classics the concert was incredible. Long distance run-around was my personal favorite. Very upbeat and perfectly timed. the Squire/White solos were incredible...very loud and full of power...Chris literally shook the place.
The encore was good, but it seemed as if they had perhaps turned the sound down for Roundabout. Nonetheless, the band kicked ass. Igor's personality was great. He seemed very much a part of YES. He was fun to watch. All in all it was a great concert. I'm very excited about seeing them again next week in Mannheim. YES is still very full of energy and power.
I was afraid that after reading so many times how great Yes are on this tour that my expectations would be become too high for reality to live up to it, but you were definitely right.
I have attended every German tour since GftO in 77, and this concert was the best one I've seen without any doubt. The energy level is enormous and was never broken in the almost 3 hours they played. Fantastic.
The concert was totally sold out, with only very few tickets still available directly before the concert.
An advantage of German mentality are well behaved audiences. ;-) While the applause was frenetic, there was *absolute* silence during the songs. We even had that magical moment of total silence after RSOG before the applause flooded the hall. Great :-)
The setlist was the same as reported from the last dates. I'm not sure, which was the second of Howe's solo pieces, however, as I didn't know it - the first being MfaD and the third Clap. After his solo, Howe got enormous applause that obviously referred not only to his solos but to his work in Yes and the direction he stands for, and that just didn't want to end, only surpassed by RSOG and, above all, AYaI.
Though I was prepared by a.m.y, I was very disappointed that nothing from KTA II made it to this concert. I'm a definite trooper (the only songs from the generator era that appeal to me in some way being I'm running, Final Eyes, Holy Lamb, Where will you be and Endless Dream), but I was surprised that the live versions of Open Your Eyes, Rythm of Love and even From the balcony fitted in well in the concert context. Especially Rhythm of Love was indefinitely better than its studio or Rabin live incarnations. The only "stinker" of the night IMHO was Owner of a Lonely heart.
The band was obviously enjoying themselves, astonishing after so many live dates in a row. I got the impression that halls of the current size are much better suited to this kind of music than huge, "Rock'n'Roll circus"-like venues. However, I can't say for sure as I was privileged to sit first row, anyway... :-)
One thing is for sure: this concert was as little a "notalgia show" as is a Beethoven concert. (well, I think Owner is nostalgia now...). When you think about it, they played one or two songs of every album from TYA until Open Your Eyes with the exceptions of Relayer, Tormato, Drama, Union, Talk and KTA, from which they played nothing. From these 6 albums, 3 belong to the seventies and 3 to the nineties, so the omissions seem balanced. (They didn't omit *any* eighties album, so to say ;-)) ) That doesn't alter my stance that I could bear even 3 songs from KTA II, of course...
Frankfurt was the first German date. The last one will be Bayreuth (first time they play there), exactly 2 weeks later. Bayreuth is the small, very beautiful town where I was born, grew up, heard the first Yes record ever (and then all the other ones available then), fell in love for the first time, and got to know the other musical love of my life which is the late Wagner, who makes this town a magical place for music. So I'm gonna be there (first row center, thanks to the information spread in a.m.y and nfte :-)) ), and it will be a very special second date.