This was my first YES show. I was 17 at the time. I went with my Uncle. I live right by the Arts Center, so this was easy to get to. I bought tickets about 2 months earlier and got lawn seats. I wasn't thrilled but it was my first concert period, so I didn't care. We got there, tailgated a bit, and went in. After they got done with "Rhythm Of Love", these 2 guys walked past my uncle and I, and looked at us and said "Hey, we're leaving you want our stubs? They're way down in the front" "Sure!" I said, I flew as fast as I ever did. I was amazed, it was so close. I remember being so happy that they played "Close To The Edge" as I only discovered it a year before. Also, hearing "Wonderous Stories". To this date* (I have seen YES nine times since then) they have not played "Wonderous Stories" any time I have seen them since. ): I dug "heart of the sunrise" although was not too familiar with it at the time. How times change. I remember my uncle saying "Wow, they played "Yours Is No Disgrace." He had seen YES many times in the 70's and he always missed out on that one. All in all, it seems like such a long time ago, but this YES show will always be of special importance to me, because it was my first.
(by thw way, 1 year later exactly me and my fellow High School students graduated on that very stage @ the PNC. When I walked out on the stage, I remember feeling like I was in heaven!)
Yes played the PNC Bank Arts Center on Friday, June 26. I was a little worried after being somewhat disappointed by the show played a week before in Toronto. I had no reason to worry as it turns out, as the band was back in full form. The amphitheater was packed, and sitting up in the fifth row, I could turn around and see people as far as the eye can see. It was nice to see Yes playing to a full house again.
The stage was a bit different as the pillars in the back were designed with the square Yes logos from the Yesyears box set. The band was sharp. "Close To The Edge" was played perfectly, removing the memory of the Toronto show. This was the highlight of the show. The order of the songs were rearranged, and "Close To The Edge" was played in the middle of the show. I liked it better at the end, because everything that followed was anti-climatic. This was the same set that they used the following two nights, as the band has commented that it seems to work. The band seemed to be really enjoying themselves at this show, as they were feeding off the energetic crowd. Even Steve was hoping, and that Mexican hat he wore during "Long Distance Runaround" was a riot.
The only flub I noticed was Jon messing up the lyrics to "Owner..". For some reason, I don't mind when the lyrics to "Owner..." are messed up, as opposed to "Close To The Edge". Now that all the kinks are worked out, no one should miss this tour! On a personal note, I'd like to thank Eddie and John for hooking me up with the seats. Thanks guys!
What a weekend! :) I got to see my favorite band three nights in a row, go to a fan convention, see many old friends from around the country, and meet new ones too.
I. Thank goodness there's an opening act
I took a half day at work on Friday, and took various combinations of SEPTA and New Jersey Transit to get to the Holiday Inn in Cherry Hill, where I was staying. I met up with Sandra Boyd and Wendy Vig, who kindly offered to drive me to Holmdel and back. They weren't familiar with NJ at all, so they were a little late in picking me up, and we didn't really know where the PNC Art Center was. The map showed it was a little dot off exit 109 of the Garden State Parkway, so we headed there. There were no signs for the venue before this exit, and we had to stop at a couple places to get directions, go back to the Parkway, and get to the concert. By the time we got there, it was 8:30 or so.
I agreed to meet up with Wendy and Sandy after the show, and went in. I bought one of the black t-shirts. Too bad they weren't selling the Yes pins that turned up late last tour. As I got to my seat, Alan Parsons was playing "Games People Play", their last song of the night. Thank goodness I didn't miss any Yes.
My seat sucked. I was a few rows past the soundboard, so the sound was great, but I must have been sitting right behind the "Yes fans over 6 foot" block of tickets. Even though the rows were slightly raised, I was out of luck. My original plan for this show was to find someone with an aisle seat and ask to switch seats with them - most people prefer a center seat, and I could have a place to stand up during the show and not block anyone's view. I arrived too late to do this, and I'm sort of glad too - I wouldn't want to give anyone else such a bad view.
I was still annoyed about this for the first couple songs. The row behind me had a couple empty seats, including one on the center aisle. I moved there, and if I leaned all the way to the right, I could see around the guy in front of me. (btw, these seats must have belonged to no-shows. The reserved sections of seats looked pretty full, and there were a good number of people on the grass too. Better turn out than I figured there would be.) I could see the band, but it was still kind of annoying.
Yours Is No Disgrace worked really well. Howe did a great solo, different from the Union tour and Yessongs. He was a real highlight the entire night. Igor played well too.
It was a few songs in that I finally said to myself "Dummy! You're here to experience a Yes concert! You're letting all these things distract you from the music." So I closed my eyes, and just started focusing on the music. Wow. I don't know if this is the reason, but the first song I listened to with my eyes closed was And You And I, and it was the best damn version of the song I'd ever heard! The audience seemed to agree with me - people were applauding and cheering for quite a while after the instrumental bit just before Apocolypse. The instrumental bit was more bombastic than usual. I don't know what else was different about it, but that performance was the highlight of the whole three shows for me.
It was at this point, right after And You And I, that my whole perspective on this weekend changed. Like some other people here, and people I've spoken to off-line, I was less excited about this tour than the fall show. It was a combination of things - I have more going on in my personal life right now than I did last fall, there wasn't the excitement of seeing them in a small theater, I wouldn't be hearing my favorite song this time around, ...who knows what else. I always go to as many Yes concerts per tour as I possibly can, but at this moment, I realized why I love this band so much. They can take a song that I had already seen live 22 times, and just blow me away with it. I hope I can get this on tape someday, and relive it.
Just got home from Yes show tonight at PNC Arts Ctr in Holmdel, NJ. God am I tired. One of the best Yes shows I've ever seen. EVERYONE was in great form. Howe came out at the beginning of one song (I think Long Distance..) wearing a huge oversized sombrero. Set list had RSOG missing but CTTE present (boy was I glad). I was pleasantly surprised by Wondrous Stories! Didn't expect THAT one. Igor seemed to be more a part of the band with a more cutting sound but sorry folks, he's still not Rick. And Billy is still Billy. The Alan Parsons set was mercifully short (maybe 30 minutes) and the Yes set was mercifully long (about 150 minutes). All solos were there except Jon's Soon (why I don't know). Also, this had to be the liveliest Yes crowd I've ever seen. The applause after the first several songs sounded more like end-of-the-show ovations. And Chris (my favorite) was, as usual, a monster on bass.