Here is my humble, opinionated review of the Denver show from last night.
First, I want to say that I wish that the set list had been more esoteric, that the band played longer and didn't have the opening act. Getting to see the fall tour was a real blessing. In addition to many of the concert staples, I got to hear RSOG, Leaves, 3 Howe acoustic songs and the nice surprise of America.
Given all that, deciding to spend $75 to see them again less than a year later was difficult. I knew going in that the show would be shorter and less pleasing in some ways. However, I was able to purchase a ticket 6 rows in front of Steve just to the side of JA. Given that dilemma, I choose to fork over the dollars, lower my expectations and go to the show.
So, I took the approach of forgetting as best I could the fall tour. Instead, I assumed that this would be the last time I get to see the band play live, and that I was pleasantly surprised that they were coming to town. I talked to about 15 people at the show and most of them seemed to be in that category, with three people having seen the Temple Buell Auditorium show in November.
Given all that, here's my review: MO< Alan Parson's Live Project was a typical opening act. A couple of familiar songs, one decent jam, not much energy, if they hadn't played at all, it would have been fine with me.
YES: The energy down by the stage was high, the place was only two thirds full I would guess maybe 8500 to 9000 people. The stage was interesting, nothing like the mid 70's stage set ups, but interesting.
Firebird Suite, Siberian Khatru, we are rocking, Jon misses a transition, little flub no big deal. The show rocks. High point was Jon's little story about writing a song about meditation and the band saying that's nice but it needs some substance. Jon and Steve make a lot of eye contact with the crowd. And You and I is tight.
Watching the band, I am struck by something, Steve, Alan, Chris and Jon all seem to be pushing themselves during the show. Playing difficult parts, stretching. Billy and Igor some more relaxed on stage. It hits me, that's what I miss about Rick or Patrick being the fifth member of the band on stage. Then you have 5 musicians challenging each other. When I focus on Igor's part, it seems to be lacking something often. Some of his parts are more muddled than Patrick's or Rick's. Less distinctive.
However, Steve is working hard, jamming, stretching, new touches to old songs. Chris is laying down the bass, working it with Alan. Jon's a little hoarse but he's having fun. Close to the Edge is the highlight of the show, some funkiness in two parts that was fresh,new, while the song kept it's overall compositional flow.
The band comes out to do Roundabout, and the shows over. For the first time since they came on stage I'm disappointed. Where's Starship Trooper, oh well, still 2 hours and 15 minutes of intense, quality play by the core four with some o.k. play by the two new guys. Miss the flair of Rick or Patrick, but still for 1998, this is a hot show. I'm glad I came. Apparantly so are the people around me.
As my girlfriend put it, this show was *brilliant*.
Sorry - didn't take a setlist, but highlights for me were "Yours is No Disgrace" which totally rocked. "Close to the Edge" was monumental. "And You And I" and "All Good People" were played *masterfully*. Frankly, there just wasn't a dud the entire show. That had me entranced from start to finish. The musicianship was unfaltering, the sound was impeccable. The only complaint i have is that it ended. As far as i was concerned 1 or 2 more hours of this show would have been totally acceptable. MO< OK, i'm convinced. The only reason i went to this show was because i had 3rd row tickets. They completely exceeded all expectations. They were amazing. blah blah blah, gush, gush, gush.
Anderson sounded fantastic.
Howe was stupendous.
Squire is a *MONSTER*!!!!!!!
My 50th YES concert and it was one of the most enjoyable! The setlist was pretty much the same as stated previously. I was most impressed with the musicianship of the band as a unit, much tighter than December. Close to the Edge was wonderful! Igor and Steve's interplay made me think they've been listening to Coltranes' "Giant Steps"lately! The surround sound worked to good effect when used - I had great seats in one of the corporate boxes just to the left of the soundboard and the surround speakers were virtually unubstructed to my ears. One of my guests had never seen nor heard of Yes, but were blown away by the concert. Looking at the crowd of all of us old dudes, it sure was good to still be able to see this band live, still kicking ass, 26 years after the first time I saw them live.