24 years, 11 months and 10 days ago
Tuesday, June 23, 1998
I was also at the VA Beach show the night before, and I think the two shows were of comparable quality--in other words, they were both really good! Steve seemed to have a little bit more fire in his playing at the DC show, where Igor was maybe a bit more precise at the VA Beach show.
Oddly enough, there seemed to be fewer people at the DC show than at VA Beach, which suprised me a bit considering how much larger the DC metro area is compared to the Virginia Tidewater metro area. I guess DC is just too yuppie to be a big Yes town. But the band gave a great performance anyway.
We fought rain that was so bad we had to pull off the road a couple of times...at one point drove through 3-ft deep water just praying that the cop who was setting up there wouldn't stop us...because it was 7:45 and we were so-o-o close to the stadium. Didn't actually get to our seats until almost the end of Alan Parsons' set (the only disappointment of the night) but he sounded good while we were walking.
But, once inside, and once Jon and the boys took the stage, the rain and the difficulties were all forgotten. The band was phenomenal, the set was well chosen, with a few surprises (HotS..), Jon was in great voice and he and the others looked genuinely thrilled to be there. The shirt guy told me they only sold 4000 seats and I think there were some no shows among the 4000, but I think those of us were there gave them a warm welcome to Virginia.
Jon and Steve were the stars of the show, of course - but Chris and Alan were really tight, as well. This was my first look at Igor and, man, he filled those big shoes of Rick's pretty nicely! And Billy was versatile and played great but never tried to upstage The Maestro, which impressed us. And Jon was happy all night, almost bubbly at times.
If you have any doubts at all about going to see this tour.....don't! Call and get your tickets right now!! If you don't, you will really be missing something. If you already have your tickets, well, you are in for a great show.....For 2 hours we were transported back twenty years, and it was a great ride!
The OYE tour at Nissan Pavilion looked like it would be preempted by rain. A severe thunderstorm was blowing full force a half hour before the start time. We arrived inside the gates 15 minutes before the 8:00 p.m. start time and heard strains of Alan Parsons music throughout the park. I remarked to my friend how tasteless I thought it was to play music by the band due to perform. As we walked into the pavilion, we realized Alan Parsons was actually on stage. This was the first time I can ever recall a concert starting early. Fortunately, we only missed the one song.
Alan Parsons was average, but did play most of their greatest hits and a couple of tunes from their latest album, including the appropriately titled "Cloudburst". At least their music is more compatible with Yes, as opposed to other opening acts I've seen, such as Pousette-Dart band or Donovan. Does Yes REALLY need an opening act? A rhetorical question I suspect. They also dedicated "Eye in the Sky" to Michael Jordan (guess they watched the NBA finals, too). During Alan Parsons, we sat in box seats in the middle of the seating area, but the surround sound did not seem to make a substantial difference. After about a 50 minute set (including encore), and a 45 minute break, Yes came on stage. At this time it was still raining, but the lightening and thunder had subsided.
Yes came onto the darkened stage to the familiar strains of Firebird Suite, and proceeded to rock the house with SK. Everyone was on their feet, moving and dancing to SK. Although I've seen Yes open with other songs, such as YIND, SK is the definitive Yes opener, IMHO. The rest of the evening was filled with almost every great Yes song you'd could wish for. OK, so they didn't perform All Good People or Starship Trooper, but Close to the Edge was a rare treat, one I've not enjoyed in any of the other 8 Yes shows I've seen.
I had not seen Yes since the Union tour, in Oakland, in the summer of 1991. At that time, I was quite a distance from the stage. Last night, we moved down to the 6th row seats we had reserved. Although we were on the side, in front of the speaker column, the view to the stage left was great, especially of Steve.
Again, throughout the night, the surround sound did not make a difference, although a few dropouts of Steve's guitar solos might have been from the sound "moving" around the sound system. It was hard to tell when you're right in front of a mound of speakers.
The other thing I noticed was how old these guys are! It's hard to believe they've been together now 30 years. But they still sound fabulous and very tight. Chris was his usual animated showman, moving often around the stage to groove with Steve or Billy. Chris also "milked" the audience during the bass solos on Heart of the Sunrise and The Fish, encouraging us to respond to his playing. For a bass player like myself (I also play a Rickenbacker 4001), seeing Chris play The Fish is always a special treat. Jon's voice was clear and on key all night, even on the high notes. After all these years, he can still hit them. Jon was quite talkative between songs: thanking everyone for braving the weather (the rainy mist was blowing on the stage throughout the first few tunes), explaining how YIND is one of his favorites, how he told Eddy Offord to start the tape to capture the first intro to AYAI, and discussing the tradition of 4:00 tea (with Earl Grey, of course). Jon also mentioned the feelings and singing from the audience and thanked us for providing our energy to the band. Steve seemed bothered by equipment issues throughout the night, but not significant ones. It took a while to get the steel guitar levels right for ROL (imagine steel guitar on THAT song!). During one later song, he actually looked like he needed to switch guitars due to a malfunction. On the whole, though, he sounded very good, very precise, and quite enthused. Billy was rather shy on stage, and did not even respond