Saturday, July 18, 1998
Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
24 years, 8 months and 8 days ago
The summer of 98 "Open Your Eyes Tour" Woodinville Washington; I brought my alcoholic friend ( at the time ) to a concert on the green where they were serving dinner and wine with the concert ( the venue was a winery ).
My friend who we will call 'Mandy' proceeded to drink two 750 ml bottles of white wine before passing out mid concert. Jon and Chris glanced down into the audience a couple of times with smerks at my friend.
During the finale of Roundabout a guy behind me tapped my shoulder and said "Your friend's taking a pretty expensive nap"
It was so humilliating. Aside from this I had to contend with periodic blood curdling screams that she would let out at the least oppropriate moments.
It completely ruined my experience. I wish I cold have just left her there on the grass after the concert to be trampled by the crowd as they exited.
Alas I dropped her off and said goodbye. We parted that evening never to speak or see each other again.
Got back from the Woodinville show a little while ago. Excellent! But I'd have to say not the best YES concert I've seen. Anyway, here's the skiv:
Ste. Michelle Winery is just outside Seattle in the Sammamish Valley. Right near where I grew up. Very green, lots of trees. Great views of the Cascade Mountains, bike trails, river running through. Beautiful place for a concert.
General Admission so we got there about 4pm. Ended up just to the right of the reserved section. Speakers and a pillar blocking Alan (White) and Billy, although saw Billy some of the time. Just heard Alan. Oddly enough some of Alan's in-law family and friends were right in front of us. Probably 3 or 4 generations. I said to a couple of the young kids that they wouldn't even be able to see Alan, and the shrugged it off saying they see him backstage all thde time anyway. OK. Since Alan White lives in Seattle (area) there was a big Alan White pre-concert party on the winery grounds. You had to have a pass to get in. I didn't have a pass. Jon played off Alan's nearby residence situation quite a bit during the concert. When it came to the point of Jon saying "It's great to be here in..........!" He paused and said "Washington DC", to which many boos came forth (not that we don't like Wash DC- it's just, hey, we're the state :] ). "Oh! Did I say something wrong? Well, does anyone know Alan White?!?!?" A bunch of people roared. Then Jon continued, "All the way from Seattle, WA: Mr Alan White to count off the next song!" Then many times he'd point to someone and say, "Oh, well he probably knows Alan White." I think by the end of the show Jon was convince that we all had a personal friendship with Alan. :} Whatever... It was kind of fun, though.
So Alan Parsons started at 6pm and played for about an hour. Only recognized about 3 songs. They were pretty good.
Then YES came out a little bit after. Everybody standing, cheering. Started with Siberian Khatru and then Rhythm of Love. SK was great, as was RoL. Billy actually did a very good solo on Rhythm of Love. But they didn't seem all that tight until Heart of the Sunrise (about 1/3 the way through). I flew to Denver in Dec to see the show there and they were much tighter back then. It could also have been where we were sitting tonight. There did seem to be some distortion in the system early on.
Yours is No Disgrace came next and it was pleasant to have back. Here again, though, they didn't seem all that together with it from where we were sitting.
I'll write the set list, but it's pretty much the same as the other shows. A surprise to me was what one of the highlights seemed to be for the audience. This may shock you, but Owner of a Lonely Heart came over very well with the crowd. It was a very Steve Howe audience, but when Owner started up, everybody (95%) was on their feet cheering and dancing. I mean everybody: Troopers, Generators, Survivalists, Panthers, Talkers, Union Members, Big Dreamers, Key Holers, Universal Gardeners, Mind Drivers, Truck Drivers, Bus Drivers- EVERYBODY! I was a bit surprised. I don't remember the Denver crowd being so taken by Owner back in December. I think it was just very well placed in the set. Came right after Whitefish with hardly any talking by Jon. I think the energy between the songs matched up very well and caught even some of the toughest Troopers by surprise. Personally I like the song- I like all YES lineups. Still wish they'd play something else in place, though.
Highlights for me were Close to the Edge- this sounded SO good!! Wondrous Stories- dream come true. By the way, Jon said they never played that on tour before. Huh? How about the 1977 Going For The One tour, Jon? Long Distance Runaround, and - I can't believe I'm saying this - Owner of a Lonely Heart. As much as I would rather hear "Going For The One", "Parallels", "Perpetual Change", or something, it really was a great moment of the show! I have to admit it.
Just a quick summary for anyone interested.
I drove up from Portland, Oregon for the show. I had snagged a general admission ticket from Ticket-bastard in Portland, they didn't offer any reserved seats. However, when perusing the a.m.y. ng last Wednesday, there was an offer of a reserved seat for the Woodinville show. I replied to the poster and we set up a meeting for when I arrived in Seattle area. Result: I scored a reserved seat. Just shows ya that sometimes good things can happen by lurking on this ng!
On to the show ...
The venue was at the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery open air ampitheater. Perfect venue for a rock concert on a beautiful summer evening. Weather was perfect, mid-70s, slight breeze. Very mellow crowd. Interesting mix of yuppies, aging hippies, saw a few families with kids (the next generation of Yes fanatics). Alan Parsons Project opened the show at around 6 pm. They were much better than I had anticipated. The drummer was fantastic! Sound system was just about perfect. Not much banter between songs. They played till around 7 pm. Crowd brought them back for an encore (somewhat unusual for an opening act).
It took the roadies about 30 minutes to setup the stage for Yes. They started about 7:30 pm, with the usual Firebird Suite intro ...
Set list has been described many times and I didn't notice any major departures from it. They did play Wondrous Stories, which was something of a surprise. One drawback was that for some reason the sound system which had been perfect for Alan Parsons sucked eggs big-time for Yes. The low bass was way too loud and distorting badly at certain notes. But the performances helped to make up for the one technical deficiency. High points (figuratively speaking, of course) for me were YinD and CttE. And the crowd reactions to RoL, OooLH and OYE were urprisingly positive and strong. Everyone was on their feet at the end of the show and the rousing rendition of Roundabout for the encore capped off the evening. I was expecting a second encore but it didn't happen (it was 10 pm by this time). Guess they had to pack up and move on to the next venue.
All the lads looked great, even the "geezers". Jon surprises me with his abilities to still hit the high notes, Steve was his usual astounding self, Chris was in great form (though I'm one of those who could do without the hamming it up during the bass solo), and Alan is just plain amazing. Igor and Billy put in "workmanlike" performances. I think we need to cut these two some slack until the next CD, when they presumably will more of a chance to add their own input into the songs. It's got to be tough to step into a band like Yes. Their songs are not typical three minute/three chord pop songs. It can't be easy to learn 2 1/2 hours worth of material in a realitvely short period of time. And try to fit in your part with guys who have been playing the songs for over 20 years.
All in all, the best Yes show I've seen in a long time. Let's all hope they put out a new CD before the end of year, and do another tour next summer!!!!