Friday, April 17, 1998
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre
24 years, 11 months and 15 days ago
Wednesday, September 9, 2015 1:25 PM
The Edinburgh Playhouse is a delightful venue, and even though I was in the Circle once more, and the place seats a reasonable-size 3,000 plus, it felt almost intimate. From my location the sound was dynamic and the atmosphere electric. This was a hugely receptive audience for the first Yes gig in Scotland’s capital for 24 years, I believe. An excellent concert overall.
So far on this tour I haven’t mentioned Igor Khoroshev’s solo spot, in the run-in to ‘Long Distance Runaround. It’s a very enjoyable cameo, largely based around one of the pieces from his fine ‘Piano Works’ album. My only complaint is that it should be longer! Igor has solid sound selection, very good technique, and the capacity to shift styles quickly and effectively. For my money he is the best all-round keyboard player the band has ever had.
Hats off to Edinburgh, too. A fabulous city. I enjoyed some good Indian food across the road from the venue before the gig. I just wish I had realized that the locals had organized an after-show event, at which Chris Squire even turned up. Ah well, need to do my research better. (As a footnote, twelve years later I ended up moving to the Athens of the North, and living only a mile or so away from the Playhouse, in sunny Leith.)
On the O.Y.E tour at the Edinburgh Playhouse just as I entered I was told that I was up in the circle and not in the stalls. When I had booked my seats I asked to be in the stalls........................
Then, During The Revealing Science Of God I started to fall asleep (being quite tired as I am constant nightshift) and missed a large part of that song, however we all were treated to a very rare Wonderous Stories that night which wasn't originally on the set-list. So it was a bad experience turned good. But Yes didn't come to the stage door after the gig, They done a runner in 2 taxi's.
Still a bit knocked out from the Edinburgh show on Friday. Having seen the band a couple of months ago in Glasgow I was pretty sure not much could top it but the atmosphere in the Playhouse on Friday was immense.
And for those who attended Brian Neeson's aftershow party in the Cafe Royale, the biggest surprise was yet to come. While ordering at the bar I became aware of a large figure standing next to me asking where Brian's party was. Chris Squire is indeed bigger in real life than he seems!
Chris seemed happy to chat to the assembled fans, sign autographs and pose for photos, bursting enthusiastically into voice when Man in the Moon came on the speakers. He stayed and chatted for over an hour, and seemed delighted -as we all were - when Alan White appeared through the door. Alan seemed in great spirits and again seemed happy to chat.
Still a bit knocked out by the whole thing. I know I was grinning all the way back to Glasgow. It was also good to meet Donald, John and Brian's wife Jean amongst others at the party - and no I don't grudge Chris that almost full packet of Marlboro Lights!
As someone once said (kind of) 'If you book it they will come'.
[at the after show party] I remember Chris was asking about Alan - it went something like this. _Where's Alan, he said he was coming_. _Chris don't worry - he'll be here I said_. _ Just have another brandy and soda, Stephen, THE MAN needs a drink, oh and while you're up there_. What a laugh we had, what a show. We talk about the Rainbow 1972, we talk about the Edinburgh Usher Hall in 1975, we talk about THE show of shows at the Glasgow Apollo in 1977 and Wembley 1978 - but Edinburgh Playhouse 1998 will forever be remembered - just incredible.
I had already seen the band twice before on this tour - Glasgow in February and Birmingham at the start of the week. I had been very slightly disappointed by the Birmingham show in terms of the sound and the atmosphere compared to the Glasgow show. However, as another reviewer has said - what a difference a few days (and a more enthusiastic audience - sorry Birmingham !) can make.
This show tonight was just superb, blowing away by far even the Glasgow show, which I didn't think would have been possible. The Edinburgh Playhouse is a small(ish) theatre setting, and was full with about 2000 Yes diehards, judging by the electric atmosphere.
I took my seat, 2nd row in the circle, a bit right of centre, great view of the whole stage. There was a huge Yes logo curtain covering the stage. Just as I sat down, a small guy appeared at the edge of the curtain, wrapped up in coat and scarf, pointing something out to one of the roadies. That's Jon, I thought, just as many others in the audience realised simultaneously. There was a very spontaneous round of applause and some typical Scottish bantering which Jon reacted very nicely to, laughing and waving to us - nice moment Jon!
After the usual Ambient track came the Firebird suite - and the atmosphere really picked up - I felt the hair on the back of my neck rise as a huge buzz of pure excitement went through the crowd. As the curtain rose to the final few notes of Firebird being played by the band, the welcoming roar just about lifted the roof.
The band seemed to be energised by the reception, and played an absolutely electric set. Jon commented twice on it - "the energy coming from you guys is just wonderful". The sound was also brilliant, I could hear Igor's keyboards really well, and for the first time I could hear what Billy was playing. All the instruments and vocals were well balanced, with the exception of the final frenzy of Starship Trooper, where the volume was cranked up and it just became a mess.
Jon was in brilliant form, really seeming to be enjoying himself, and a little bit "high" perhaps ? Were you on some of Eddie's "tea" tonight Jon ?. I thought his voice was sounding just a touch husky, but he was hitting the notes with no problem, and remembering his lines too !!
I have to say that it is difficult to pick any one song out from any other, everything tonight was just so well played, and we were treated to the whole set - including both Wondrous Stories and From the Balcony. Wondrous stories was magic - Igor really hit those beautiful keyboard runs and this time I could hear them properly. I will never tire of hearing Heart of teh Sunrise, And You and I and the Revealing the way that this lineup are playing them. I have heard rumours they are going to drop RSoG from the set - please don't guys, this song just showcases everything that Yes is about.
Of the newer stuff, as usual there was not very much. Open Your Eyes has grown on me through the live performances, and I can now happily listen to it and New State of Mind, plus From the Balcony, but still not much else. Rhythm of Love and Owner wouldn't be missed, in my opinion, especially if they were to be replaced by say Mind Drive. However they are both performed with energy (except Steve) and I suppose they are currently Billy's only real chances to be heard.
On Billy, I was able to hear his guitar a little better this time, and I feel his contribution has been underestimated. He is doing a good job of some unglamorous backing stuff which is definetely adding to the texture of the sound, and it's not his fault he's normally so low in the mix. His vocal contributions are excellent, and we also now have Igor contributing vocals as well, so we are occasionally getting full 5 part vocals.
To sum up, tonight was an unforgettable show, and I thank the 6 guys on stage for their performance, and the other 2000 people there for the superb atmosphere.
Jeez, what a buzz there was in the Playhouse that night! For the benefit of non-Edinburghers, the Playhouse has been out of use as a concert venue for quite some time, playing host to the touring versions of West-end shows, such as Cats, Les Miserables, etc. There've been the occasional visits by folk such as Little Village (w. Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe), and Little Feat, but I think the combination of the lack of concerts for a while, and Yes's absence from Edinburgh (except in ABWH format) since 1974 (?) led to a reception that was one of the most intense I've ever heard in there - and I've been there a lot....
As previously mentioned, virtually every song was greeted with a standing ovation (well deserved).
Best costume: Howe
Emptiest posturing: Squire
Anderson, on introducing RSoG: "This song means a lot to us..."
Punter (in broad Scots accent): "Explain it to us, then."
Least obvious contribution: Sherwood
Most poignant moment: Sherwood, sheepishly crossing the stage to ask Howe if he could do a short solo during ST
Funniest moment: Howe tuning his Gibson, chatting to his roadie, and blowing some fluff off his twin-neck steel while playing RoL.
Special thanks to Simon Barrow for selling me the ticket,
and, if anyone cares, Fish was in the audience...
Just back from Edinburgh.
Simply the best. If Glasgow was great then this show was twice as good. Right form the start the thunderous noise made by the packed audience seemed to really get the band going. Jon in particular put everything into it - they all did. I just can't get over the reaction from the crowd - after Roundabout I swear the roof was nearly lifted off, Jon looked at Chris in disbelief. A girl got up onstage and made a beeline for Jon and then another guy got up. At the end a lion rampant (Scottish Flag) was presented to the guys as they took their bows and once again the crowd went nuts.
I've seen Yes in Scotland many times and this was right up alongside Glasgow Apollo 1977. Unbelievable - truly an epic concert. I'm now going to have a lie down.
Wondrous Stories was a welcomed additon to the Glasgow show.
Jons little "I don't ask for much..." rant about people bumping his mic stand was funny
Two months ago I was quite reconciled to the fact that my best ever concert was, and always would be, Yes at Liverpool Empire in May 1975.
Then came Newcastle...small intimate venue... brilliant atmosphere.... band on great form
Then came Edinburgh...
Edinburgh has always reserved a very special welcome for Yes, and the atmosphere at tonight's show was absolutely wonderful, it is no exaggeration to say that every song tonight received a standing ovation. This of course inspired the band even more and they turned in a wild, electric performance that in my opinion was quite unique. Twice Jon commented on the energy being received on stage. After Heart of the Sunrise, probably highlight of the night, but that would be unfair to the other dozen or so songs played, Jon came right to the front of the stage and said that he just had to tell us "that that was a magical moment ..the energy from you guys tonight is quite wonderful"
Obviously I am quite high after this... in terms of content, the set list was the standard full show with FTB and RSoG (best live version by the way - Igors added a few new bits) Steve played two tracks between MFAD & Clap, he gave their titles but they couldn't really be heard.. I will have to leave the identification to the Steve connoisseurs.
Differences from early UK dates....
Igor has got even better...his performance in RSoG and ST was quite outstanding - in ST he now plays a fully fledged synthesiser solo during Wurm.
Chris and Jon were very high tonight and seemed to enjoy every moment of the show.
Chris and Alan have introduced a few new riffs into songs.
Steve was quieter, and retired to a stool for his solos and part of RSoG. His performance was, however, superb and we were treated to the occasional "spring chicken routine".
Billys harmonies and support added weight to the performance.
Jon dedicated FTB to Jane who was......you guessed it .....In The Balcony.....oh how we laughed!
Steve ripped out a splendid solo at the end of OOALH which was quite surprising. He also played some very aggressive riffs in Open Your Eyes which was certainly more impressive tonight. They've dropped the cow effects from Wondrous Stories .... Shame An Open Your Eyes curtain covered the whole stage and lifted at the end of Firebird Suite.
It is now just gone midnight in Galashiels, I will stop this rambling and prepare myself for Liverpool on Sunday.
PS Did any one tape this show?