Yestival '98 was held at Hilton Hotel at Cherry Hill, New Jersey on Saturday and Sunday, June 27 and 28, 1998.
AWSOME!!!!!!!!!! A DREAM COME TRUE. SAW CLOSE TO THE EDGE FOR THE FIRST TIME THE NIGHT BEFORE AT THE PNC ARTS CENTER. THAT'S WHY I WENT TO CAMDON. THE WHOLE THING WAS GREAT, BUT I HAD TO SEE CLOSE TO THE EDGE AGAIN!!!!!!
AWSOME!!!!!!!!!! A DREAM COME TRUE. FIRST TIME SEEING CLOSE TO THE EDGE. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The very first time I was ever backstage for a Yes concert but.....they were already gearing up to go onstage. Actually, it was The Alan Parsons Fan Club that had sent me the backstage passes for a meet and greet with Alan and the boys. After talking with the them for a bit I heard Yes hit the stage with Siberian K. and headed for my seat(the meet and greet porch wasn't in an area where we could view the show). I remember Alan saying he thought his band sounded downright poppy in comparison to Yes. Two radically different styles for sure! I liked both and had enjoyed APP. I wished they could've played longer like they had in 1995 when they were the headliner(Oh, the drawbacks of being the opening band! All the difference in the world!) Yes was excellent as usual! Jon was saying that they should start all tours in Philly from now on since the band couldn't wait to get here! A beautiful summer night with Yes and The Alan Parsons Project. It doesn't get any finer than that folks!
Well, this was a big show for the band. First of all, this was the Philly area show, which is always big for the band. Second, this was the Yestival show too, as many of their diehards were in attendance. Plus, Yestival guests Geoff Downes and Peter Banks were there too. Yes was up to the challenge, as this was the best they've sounded out of the shows I've seen this tour. The sound was crisp, and the playing was fresh. Jon finally dropped the "magical mint tea/rolling joints" story before "And You And I" instead saying this was a song for the millenium. He also commented how the band should start next years tour in Philly. Chris reached new heights in his solo -- literally. He was jumping up and down at the end. "Close To The Edge" was amazing again, as the very knowledgeable Philly crowd seemed to really appreciate it. Jon momentarily forgot Paul Simon's name when introducing "America." Of course last year in Philly, Jon said Paul was up in the balcony listening. "Roundabout" was cut short, as this was the first time I heard this lineup play it without the "eagle" section. I only have one small complaint, and that was the lighting. At times, the rotating lights behind the band would shine directly in the crowd's eyes. it really is difficult to watch the concert with bright lights shining directly in your eyes. Other than that, they keep getting better and better.
The Philadelphia/Camden show was as good as any Yesshow I've seen (despite some annoying "concert" things like bulbous heads blocking views, drunk people, etc...).
Some interesting tidbits...
Jon announced a possible new album "this Winter" with another tour next summer, then suggested, "and we'll start right here (Philly)". This should be interesting. Apparently, Alan said something to this affect at Yestival and Billy mentioned that they were going to attempt "all six members" in the same room for the writing an recording.
Jon, if you happen to read this... My wife loves you. She'd love to meet with Earth Mother as you did.
Everyone was very "on". Igor was playing as if he'd been with Yes for all 30 years. Billy was doing a great job as the technician -- holding down the backing parts extremely well. And now, my obligatory plea: cut Billy a break.
Before OYE, Jon discussed how he and Billy are big Teletubbies fans while the sound man played the Teletubbies "giggle" sound effects.
Recommendation -- if you can't get front and center seats, I strongly recommend lawn seating at the E-Center in the future. No "spam-in-a-can" people cramming, a beautiful breeze, gigantic TV monitors... Awesome. We had section 104 seats which were very far left (facing the stage) and the huge stack of speakers blocked 25% of the stage from our angle. So immediately after "The Clap" and before "Heart of the Sunrise", we made our way back to the lawn and had a wonderful time.
Yours is no Disgrace was dedicated to everyone at "YesFest".
Roundabout was truncated without the "Along the drifting clouds..." section.
CttE was the best rendition I've heard in concert -- not "lethargic" like in KtA2, and not sterile like the Squire-less ABWH version. This was another Igor shining moment.
It seemed to me as if they worked many more songs into the set this time by successfully trimming the solos down (just "The Clap", just "The Fish" and "Ritual" opening the encore) and eliminating some of the extended jams (Owner of a Lonely Heart and All Good People). No "Whitefish".
Jon and Steve and Chris all seemed to get along very well on stage with their antics and what-not. Speaking of the stage... The set-up included the new 30th anniversary logo in gray all over the place -- including various-sized pillars rising behind the stage. Thumbs-up for the stage!
Steve played a pedal/steel "Going for the One"-style solo on Rhythm of Love which realy sounded phenomenal -- as if it were part of the original.
And You and I -- it was like a religious experience. It always is.
Stuff that disappointed me... Not much, but maybe next time around let me seed the fields for the epic choice to be Gates or Awaken. Oh yeah -- I love Alan Parsons, but Yes absolutely doesn't need an opening act. Add a few more songs and an intermission maybe -- instead of having an opener. The DTS apparently stands for "don't take seriously" because I couldn't tell it was in use. But take that with a grain of salt -- my seats weren't ideal for the speaker set-up. Suffice to say, though, the sound over-all was awe-inspiring, especially on "Close to the Edge".
Final rating: 8 "styrofoam heads" out of 10. (10 being God-like)