YES has been my favorite band since being turned on to them by a friend in 1973, and this is my 6th Yesshow, so there's a natural bias, but I'll try to be objective:
We had seats dead center, several rows back from the "Reserved" area, an excellent visual and sonic location. We were not disappointed at all. The Alan Parsons Project played a great set starting right on time at 7:30. There was plenty of energy, expertise and audience appreciation. A friend thought they sounded better last time they played here, when they had two singers, but I thought Neil (I believe that was the name) did a fine job. My wife was surprised they came back for an encore, being the opening act, but we (the audience) definitely wanted to hear more.
From the opening notes of The Firebird, a mood of excitement was set for YES that never wavered, from where we were sitting. They played the set that's been reviewed here already, and aside from occasional twists and surprises, stayed very true to the sound and structure of the studio recordings. Regarding the sound, I was very impressed with Igor's coverage of Wakeman and Kaye's keyboard parts. Not only was he playing the notes you expected to hear (with slight variations), but the sounds he used were right there, too. I'm a keyboardist myself, and very comfortable with the studio albums, so I'm always a little apprehensive about what I'm going to hear live from the keyboards. Igor's execution of the parts and his stage presence had me smiling all night. Also because he bears an uncanny resemblance to my brother-in-law, Derek Hilland. Derek is another brilliant keyboardist and YES fan who recently finished a Whitesnake tour, and is on the road with Rick Springfield now. Watching Igor was VERY much like watching Derek.
Steve plays guitar with a style like no one else I've ever heard, which I thoroughly enjoy, and his trading of instruments for a particular color in a song obviously has a lot to do with what makes YES music unique.
Jon's voice was just that. As pure and clear as always. Again, like Steve's guitar, there is no one else that sounds like this. I don't believe he missed a note all night, and his (as well as the rest of the band) friendship for the audience appeared genuine. His percussion elements added here and there were just right.
There is playing, and then there is performing. Chris really put on a performance. During "The Fish" his timing was impeccable. We all have a general idea of what is coming, and his knowing how long to hold these notes in anticipation before letting them come down is real artistry. The sound of the Rickenbacker was nothing less than awesome.
Alan, an absolutely wonderful performance as well. Sometimes in YES music everything seems ready to go in five different directions at once, but suddenly Alan and Chris are right there, unbelievably tight, and you listen in wonder at how they can possibly do that.
Billy...I saw him on the Talk tour at Red Rocks, up behind the band. He was never introduced, and I wasn't always sure if I was hearing him, Trevor or Tony. This time, the mix was so good at my seat that I could hear exactly what he was doing. He never seemed to stand out, except for "Owner of a Lonely Heart", but he was always there, and definitely added another element to the sound. If you were to take him out that night, it would have made a noticeable difference (not for the better). The rest of the band would have had to alter their playing to fill in. I would have liked to hear a little more from him, solo-wise. Maybe they could have rearranged the music a bit more to make room, or Steve could have given up a couple of spots for him.
Vocally, this may have been the best Yesshow I've ever seen. From my seat the balance was near perfect, and the harmonies more true and smooth than certain other shows. As a whole, this may have been the best Yesshow as well, although with the exception of Talk, I'm s