El Paso Rocked! Without a doubt. Instead of just gushing about the concert, however, I would like to build the story of how this concert came about (including the high points and low points).
Prior to the El Paso concert I had seen Yes twice before (Seattle ’91, Red Rocks ’94) but always from the nosebleed section. After the ’94 concert I swore to myself that if I ever saw Yes again, I was going to have good seats or nothing. With that in mind, when I saw back in April that Yes would be playing in El Paso, I was ecstatic and primed. I was hoping that the NFTE/Yesworld preferred seating plan would be in effect in this town, but that sadly turned out not to be the case (these things are never too easy). I checked two or three times a week to see if the on sale date had been posted and if pre-sale tickets were available. Finally, right after memorial day I heard a Yes commercial on one of the local radio stations (KLAQ). The tickets were going on sale on the fifth of June. I continued to check on line, but met no success. I also found out about the one-hour delay that Ticketmaster has about releasing tickets over the internet. Armed with that info and a wad of cash, I headed down to the main Ticketmaster box office at Abraham Chavez theater on the morning that tickets were to go on sale.
I got to the box office two hours early and was surprised to see only one other person waiting at the box office at that time. At first I thought there must be some mistake. Since then I have learned that this is typical of ticket sales in El Paso. People seem to wait until the last few weeks before snagging tickets and often expect to get them at the door. Anyway, I introduced myself to the guy who was waiting in line ahead of me. His name was George, a nice college student and classical guitar player from Ciudad Juarez. We proceeded to talk about all things Yes for the next hour or so waiting for the box office to open, including various subjects like favorite songs, albums, the current line up of the band, other prog rock bands, etc. It turns out that this would be George’s first time seeing Yes and that he considered them to be in his select group of “dream bands”. I told him that he was in for a treat.
We managed to get front row tickets, only about 6-8 seats from dead center. Woohoo! After getting such great seats, we stood around for a few minutes in a half daze with ridiculous grins on our faces. Then we went our separate ways saying that we would see each other at the concert.
THE NIGHT OF THE CONCERT After getting the requisite Yes T-shirt, I decided to go grab my seat to watch the Alan Parson’s Project. The band was tight and energetic, partially feeding off the high energy of the crowd. Solid applause was given on every song and the better known songs got people out of their chairs. Towards the end, the lead guitar player really started getting into the groove (apologies on not remembering his name). At the end of their set, the applause was strong enough that we called them out for an encore. Alan Parsons and the whole crew shook people’s hands from the stage, including mine. I hope the guy who gave his LP to Alan Parsons to sign got it back. Alan and crew rushed off stage (with LP in hand) before he could sign it. The guy was understandably a bit distraught.
George hadn’t shown up during the warm up act and I was a bit concerned that he might miss the concert. That would be an unfortunate turn for such a good fan. My fears were unjustified, however, as George showed up about halfway through the intermission. It turns out that he had been with family up in the balcony. We said our hellos and then starting hyping ourselves up for the show to follow. When the lights went down and the swells of Firebird Suite started, the crowd was just about ready to explode with anticipation.
The crowd cheered wildly for every song that was played. I would say that OYE probably received the least appl