24 years, 10 months and 30 days ago
Sunday, July 5, 1998
Pine Knob Music Center
Steve had a fantastic show...his pedal-steel work on &U&I was truly inspired. The song got a standing ovation, and rightfully so. He ripped through the jam on YIND, and he rescued a version of America that started out a little limp and lifeless with a *delicious* solo. His solo on OYE was great too -- he took center stage and embellished the end with a strong solo that took the song in a new direction -- complete with some country-like string bends. I like what he added to the two Rabin pieces (especially the steel on RoL -- conjures up memories of the G4t1 title track!), even though I'm not sure *why* he felt the need to add to these songs. I had kinda thought these songs were Billy's turf, and now Steve is taking them over. Billy doesn't butt in on Steve's "classic" songs, so why does Steve feel the need to take over the songs Billy had been featured on? Also, his performance on Roundabout is starting to bug me more and more: over the past several years, he has taken to quickly flicking through that first series of notes in the intro, right after the single opening note, rather than drawing them out as he did on the original. At this show he just kinda raced through the whole section, like he couldn't wait to finish it. I know the guys must all be bored to death of this song, but everyone else seemed to play it with a lot of vigor and excitement...everyone but Steve. Oh, and it was a lot of fun to see him in that big goofy sombrero on LDR. :-)
Igor was fabulous. He has Rick's parts down pat, and now he's starting to add his own tasty embellishments on top of them, including some "Moog" adlibs on HotS and some rockabilly piano on America. He makes you forget about the damage Tony did to these songs during the YesWest years.
Chris was the star of the show again. He was overflowing with enthusiasm, playing with so much energy and fire that you'd think he was playing these songs for the very first time. Oh, and the solo has changed a little bit too -- the first half goes just like the live version on Yessongs, and then the second half moves into the typical "Whitefish" rendition.
Alan was great as always. I was thrilled to hear that he finally has adopted Bill's hit-the-snare-every-fifth-beat rhythm on LDR...and he had some kind of echo triggered on his drums during the "Eclipse" section of &U&I, which added some nice dramatic effect. I did feel a little sorry for him, though -- the setlist has gotten so retro he's only playing three of his own songs; the rest were done with Bill. That's his reward for giving 26 years of his career to Yes?!
Jon was in good form, sounding especially clean and pure on OYE, of all songs. He dedicated WS to his wife, who was in the crowd, but then he went on to say this was the first time the band was attempting to play this song -- I didn't get that at all. What about the Yesshows album? He also flubbed a line on America but redeemed himself with the next line -- "Michigan seems like a dream to me now," which got the Detroit crowd cheering. :-)
Billy was just sorta *there.* Now that Steve is asserting himself on the two Rabin tracks, Billy seems *very* expendable. He was the only musician to not take a solo spot. I think this band has outgrown him -- maybe it's time for him to return to working strictly behind the scenes....
Even though the bulk of the setlist is a trip down memory lane, these guys *don't* sound like they're just going through the motions, ala Chicago or the Moodies. I think there's such a strong emphasis on the old material this time around because OYE was a rather weak album and because this leg of the tour is being billed as an anniversary tour, which in itself suggests a journey into the past. I think they've really started to gel onstage and are probably gearing up for a phenomenal album that, unlike OYE, contains a wealth of Yessish power and energy from everyone involved. Well, except maybe Billy. :-)
My biggest gripe w
The surround show was GREAT...what a dimension to hear Steve's gt and Igor's keys flying at you from behind. I'll miss it if it's not back next time.
Well, it was my most enjoyable YES concert yet. All of CTTE, a great light show, beautiful night....perfect!
Igor seemed bummed out...played great, but did not seem pleased. Parsons band was workmanlike, boring...Foreigner wannabee's. Great singer, but who cares? Commercials have great singers, too. I'm harsh, here, but that's how I felt.
Excuse me, but Chris looked basically drunk! He blew an entrance, for the first obvious musical goofup I've ever heard from them in concert. Sure, he played and sang great, put on a fantastic show, and may have been the life of the party, but I'm concerned for him. Alcoholism is a major rut, and life is better out of that rut, no matter how comfortable or advanced that rut may be. Enough preaching..it's his life.
Steve was really intense, and played flawlessly. He just keeps getting better!
Alan was powerful and perfect.
Jon seems older and wiser, more humble about his role, but still the relayer for hopes, dreams and truths. His voice!
Billy was there....
I took my two sons, 15 and 11. They really liked it, and now maybe don't think Dad is so weird for liking that "band with the high voice!"
Yes is best in concert, and, for me, a Yes concert is the best concert. Last night they did it again. Thank you YES, long may you rock!