My 6th YES show. I really thought some mention would be made of it being the 30th anniversary date of their first show, but zilch. YES hadn't sounded this tight since 1977 and they were LOUD, even for being outdoors. On the downside, only 4 songs more recent than 1972??!!? This could've been called the "Classic YES" Tour. The OYE Album has at least 5 great songs for the band to play, alas.
My friend, Bubba, and I made it to the concert last night on Mud Island. For those of you not familiar with it, it's a neat park/attraction with a 5000 (I think) seat ampitheater, with the audience facing the Memphis skyline and the acts facing the Mississippi river. You arrive either by monorail, or walk across on a bridge over the monorail. No cameras allowed, but I took my binoculars.
I think we were on time, but the Alan Parsons Project were already playing. we made it down to the ninth row right in front of the speakers. I thought the sound was awesome. I had no problem picking out anybody's insrument. I wish I could remember the band members' names, but apparently something affected my short-term memory. The crowd was a lot more appreciative than the one in St. Louis last November, I thought. The APP seemed to be enjoying themselves and came back for an excellent encore. Bubba, a heavy metal freak (AC-DC, Megadeath, etc.), was impressed, also. I wish I knew more about their music, but I recognized Psychobabble, Love Shine(?), Eye in the Sky. Like Yes, they also played a tune from their new DTS Surround Sound CD. The surround sound was non-existent where we were sitting, but during intermission we went up and could tell they were really putting out.
It was during that intermission we noticed that Yes attracts a stunning class of babes. And I got a kick out of watching a couple of beauties singing along to 'Close to the Edge'. But, anyway...
I told Bubba they'd play a classical tape first then the band would come on. About then the Firebird started along with the crowd cheering. When it ended, Yes played several chords then Steve started Siberian Khatru. You could tell they all felt good. Steve was chicken-walking, doing the squat, and giving that "watch this" look. He just blew the crowd away from the get-go. Jon was in excellent voice, hitting the highs easily. Igor nailed the solo, throwing in his own flourish. He seems jazz-influenced, as well as classical. Alan was drumming with his customary power. He uses a little 6-inch or so crash cymbal to great effect; I gotta get one for my set! Chris, well, heck, he's the customary showman, even in white socks and house shoes. And maybe it was where I was sitting, I could actually hear Billy. I think he adds a lot of texture to the sound and seems to be playing the bass melody a lot. When Jon introduced him later on, he played 3 successive really impressive riffs.
I won't ramble on about every song; the setlist is well-known. But a few highlights--
Steve's solo featured an intro he said was written around the turn of the century--16th century, that is. It was an exquisite English aire or something that he led into 'Mood for a Day'. Then he did something I thought was really neat. He played about a 30 second version of 'Hello, Information, give me Memphis, Tennessee' that segued perfectly into 'Clap'. Believe me, his version of it was wonderfully complex for such a short intro, and the crowd showed their appreciation.
Later, after Igor's too-short solo, Steve came out to play 'Long Distance Runaround' in a huge sombrero. I hadn't heard of him doing that before. Right before "I've Seen All Good People", the whole band went into something new I didn't recognize, but then Jon started singing "Funky Chicken" and the music fell into place. They continued for a minute or so, then faded out with Jon saying"Woo--that was fun!" He said it was a tribute to the great Rufus Thomas.
Also at the end of the encore "Roundabout", before the final chord, they all played a few bars of a heavy Yes version of "Memphis, Tennessee". It made me feel they put something extra in just for us, but maybe they do something at every show, I don't know. They seemed to be having a great time; even Jon was doing the chicken-walk with Chris!
All-in-all, the best Yes show I've seen (this was my 4th). Bubba was blown away and is threatening to buy the