Friday, April 24, 1998
London, United Kingdom
Hammersmith Odeon Theatre
24 years, 11 months and 4 days ago
It was amazing for me to finally get to hear "Revealing Science" being done.
I wonder if anyone noticed Steve jumping in early on one of his cues during "America"?
This was one of those concerts where you utterly appreciate the skill and commitment of the guys, but wonder where the really special stuff was - the symphonic tour gave us that.
I was sitting in my seat waiting for the show to start, the ambient OYE mix was sounding and the lights were turning off indicating that the show was going to start.
Everybody was in silence getting ready for the Firebird suite , and along came a group of stunning young girls looking like real top-models trying to get to their seats. And when I looked closer I realised they where Deborah Anderson and Jade Anderson with her boyfriends, accompanied by Jane Anderson (Jon's wife) and Igor's wife who has a babe with her. They were two rows behind me , and then came Damion Anderson and his girlfriend who seated in the row just in front of me.
It was very funny to be close of this people and they really made me have a better show. Not just because they were the relatives of the band, bullshit!. It's just because the London audience is much too cold and well mannered to my taste, and these people was having a real good time , and warmed up the show, it was great!!.
I remember that an usher had to approach Damion and politely retire his tank of lager, cause no drinks were allowed in there, not knowing that the young drinker was the son of Jon Anderson lead singer of the artist on stage. Quite funny!!, I definitive like this guy. He spent most of the show moving and dancing , and arms up with Heavy-like horns signs in his hands during "The Revealing science of God". And now and again he would screaming "I love you dad", and Jon would wave his hand. When Jon dedicated "From the Balcony" to him was a very beautiful moment.
In "Roundabout" all the family went to dance to the front row, and Jon handled a tambourine to Jane, it was a real party!!. I think I could sense how much love and freedom is in Jon's family life, and I thing I got touched by this as well as by the Yes music. Very moving.
I attended the Hammersmith Apollo concert with my son and his friend on 24th April 1998. I am 51 years old and have been a Yes fan since the 'Yes Album',- Yours is no Disgrace being my favorite piece of all time.
What a truly remarkable evening. I have waited for this moment for years having seen Yes on 4 previous occasions. We arrived at the theatre in good time and eagerly awaited 'Firebird'. There were 3,000 people in the audience, all in tune with the 6 guys on stage. The set was the full show and I would have been very disappointed if they had not performed RSOG.
The show was memorable, but I will not go into the virtues or otherwise of each piece but just list a few specific points of note:
- I think Billy's mix was wrong on occasions particularly in OOLH. The general lighting and sound was good say 85 out of 100 but I think the lighting and sound guys need to attend a Peter Gabriel concert to see how it is done to perfection.
- 'Freudian' slip perhaps by Jon who said that Billy was getting better – Jon was referring to his health and not what the audience thought, to his performance
- Tickets stated the start at 7.45 with special guests. The actual start was spot on 8.00 with no special guests. I half expected Adam Wakeman to join them on ST.
- Jon making reference to the year 2002. Is this the end of the world when the circus of heaven is coming to town.
The high points to me were JA, CS, SH, IK, AW and BS. - What can I say. It's all been said before in earlier reviews.
The individuals are all so different with Jon immerging from the lights at the back of the stage like Christ at the Resurrection to Alan and Chris bursting from Hell with their earthy solos. This was classic Yes. Forget the singles. Yes are a vibrant album and 'live' band. Has any organisation videoed any of the concerts. We need a good (sound and vision) video of the band in current concert.
At the moment I feel deflated but privaleded to have witnesses their performance. I wonder if they will return. I certainly hope so otherwise I will have to win the lottery and follow them to South America.
BTW suggested set list for the next tour:
SK, CTTE, HOTS, AYAI, Ritual, Mind Drive, TAAW, Awaken, Roundabout, RSOG. Oh and GOD and YIND.
Yes as individuals are so different in character and style but when they combine they are literally magic. I will always remember the concert particularly as I am travelling to work in the car (2 hours driving) with Yes blasting away on the CD player and in the evenings when the world is in chaos and I am listening through the headphones, whisky in hand, to the best music I have ever heard. I am in a different world.
Another outstanding night, just as well as a friend of mine had come over from the US to see the band play in Europe. I don't think he was dissapointed. The guys were all throwing in much more than earlier shows in terms of improvisation (having seen the show at Bournemouth that was nowhere near as good and one of the previous Hammersmith shows).
An amusing faux-pas from Jon, introducing Billy, he commented "Mr. Billy Sherwood...He's getting better!". At the ripple of laughter from the fans he hastily added "From an illness!"
They ended with a few extra seconds on Starship Trooper, keeping the audience on tenderhooks at the very end. This was the common theme of the show, adding bits to heighten the excitement and trhowing in unexpected extra bars or delays in tracks. All in all, a brilliant performance, especially from Howe.
I think I've recovered enough from my jetlag to give some of my impressions of the final show of the European tour at the Hammersmith Apollo. In short, it was a phenomenal performance, and I don't regret for a moment making the trip across the big pond and putting myself into debt for the chance of seeing The Revealing Science of God performed live. I can die a happy Yesfan now.....
On the way to the show I was stopped by a local fan (hi John!) who spotted my Steve Howe T-shirt. Neither one of us knew exactly how to get to the Apollo, but we wandered around for a bit until we spotted it. When I mentioned that I had come to London specifically to see the show, John told me that he had read a NFTE posting by someone who was doing the same thing. "That was me!" I replied, laughing. A small cyber-world, indeed! John was kind enough to wait around while I procured a (slightly) better seat from a scalper (the one I had purchased from the box office was standing-room only), and then it was time for the sold-out concert to begin....
Some notes on the performance:
Jon: His voice was a little raw from touring, but this did not prevent him from hitting the high notes. He was definitely in a good mood, and this energy infused the entire venue.
Chris: Looking better and playing better than in recent tours. The Fish was excellent as usual, and Heart of the Sunrise became another bass showoff piece.
Steve: For me, he is the heart and soul of the band. While sometimes the emotion of his guitar work can be at the expense of his technique, tonight he played both brilliantly and passionately. It was great to see him mix up the solo set a bit: Georgia's Theme and Hint Hint sounded fresh, and this is the first time I've *ever* heard the audience clap all the way through Clap (he had to speed up and slow down to keep the tempo even, but it worked!).
Alan: Having seen Yes live before, I was surprised to hear this much innovation from rock-steady Alan White. He changed the rhythm of certain sections of songs, created dramatic crescendos in new places and actually *didn't* play during some spots where there previously were drums. And it all worked! He is definitely in top form, and the solo from Ritual was a real treat (more from Topographic Oceans--yes!!).
Billy: Okay, I admit that I'm not a big fan of the new album, and with Steve Howe in a band, who needs another guitarist? His presence, as others have noted, was perhaps unnecessary, although there were spots where a bit of added guitar texture was nice. His restraint was a far cry from Trevor Rabin's annoying noodling during Awaken, IMHO. As for Rhythm and Owner: passable versions, but they inevitably lacked the studio polish and tightness of the album versions. Of course, I wish they would have dropped these in favor of something like On the Silent Wings of Freedom, but I won't go on about that now. ;-)
Igor: Amazing. I honestly believe that he plays Wakeman's solos better than Wakeman himself (sorry Rick!). As a (mediocre) keyboardist myself, I was pleased to hear my favorite kind of fat analog-sounding leads again. The moog (or Nord lead or whatever) solo during And You And I has always been a favorite of mine, but IMHO it hasn't been done justice since Geoff Downes during the Drama tour--it's either been some weak polyphonic flute thing or the solo itself has been changed for the worse. Igor seems to really *feel* the music, and certainly has the chops to keep up with the rest of the band. His jazzy piano solo reminded me of a cross between Keith Emerson and Patrick Moraz. And Revealing? Wow!! A suggestion to the band: Make him a full band member, and play Sound Chaser next time 'round!
My first live Yes experience was the 90125 tour, and at that time I never dreamed that the band would ever return to such classics as Siberian Khatru, America, Wondrous Stories, and Heart of the Sunrise. Hearing these song
I'm just back from Yes's last European performance, which was as magical as to be expected.
In his solo set, Howe played a "Georgia's Theme"/"Hint, Hint" medley. Had he done that before? And during his "Roundabout" solo, he played a few seconds of his "Mind Drive" intro, it seemed!
Finally, at the end of "Wurm", White started playing a few bars of an unfamiliar, insistent rhythm; Howe seemed to follow on guitar. The band switched back to the end of "Wurm", then White played a few more bars of another pattern. It was only a few seconds of each and I didn't recognise any of it, but I thought I'd note the occurence.
I noticed that Peter Banks had a backstage pass for the last Yes concert of the European tour at Hammersmith. Spotted him wandering out from the stage door area while I was searching for a friend. It was tempting to ask Banks if he'd persuaded Steve to autograph his copy of Something's Coming, but fortunately I didn't think of it at the time. Could also have sworn that I saw Thomas and Carol Mosbo, too.. but this may have been an apparition...
Well, these "boys" have been at it for 30 years, and I've never seen them so enthusiastic. Everything I'd read previously about the shows is true. Wow, wow, wow!!! Even Roundabout sounded fresh and vibrant - and when you've got 120 versions of the song that's no small feat. The Revealing Science was just awesome - beyond time and space itself. Great to see a full Hammersmith going nuts. The greatest band there's ever been ? There's no doubt no doubt. And when we finally got to hear Wondrous Stories in all its beauty, well, my spirit climbed into the sky. Nice attire too boys, when Igor came on with his Russian features, waistcoat and bowler hat, I was expecting the monkey on a string and the barrel organ any minute. As for Steve's multicoloured jacket, all I can say is "I'll have a choc-ice". Jon made a comment about the Teletubbies whilst being blissfully unaware that Tinky Winky was standing right next to him playing bass - rather well as it happens. On a more serious note, let's hear it for the return of the Switchmaster. And just what was Billy Sherwood doing up there???