Correction to Steve Howe solo: listening to a recording it would appear he played: 'Ram', 'Cactus Boogie', 'Meadow Rag', 'The Valley Of Rocks' and 'Clap' ('Australia' was not played).
Wednesday, September 9, 2015 2:22 PM
What an enthralling concert. My first gig on ‘The Ladder’ tour, and the beginning of my third trip across the pond to see Yes in the USA. This time, it kicked off by meeting up in Florida with a couple of people I’d connected with over the past couple of years through alt.music.yes – including Steve Sullivan, who now runs Forgotten Yesterdays. A really good Yes holiday with great people.
I have mixed feelings about The Ladder as an album, but this well-balanced set list mixes in the best of the new with some timeless classics and (as Steve Sullivan has said) the ‘hits’ placed where they should be, at the end. Tonight I was thrilled to hear ‘New Language’ – my favourite cut – live for the first time, along with ‘Homeworld’ (which works well live), the hazy ‘It Will Be a Good Day’ and the beautifully simple ‘Nine Voices’, where Chris Squire’s late-entering bass peddles produce a perfectly deep, rich and harmonious ending. Of the other new songs, the South African township inflected ‘Face to Face’ is a lively stomper. ‘Lightning Strikes’ is a little bit too twee for me, but not unpleasant.
Predictably, ‘Awaken’, one of my favourite Yes pieces ever, was a highlight. Igor Khoroshev handled the keyboard parts very well indeed. Fantastic to hear ‘Perpetual Change’ too, after the teaser at the beginning of the Talk tour left many of us wanting more. Five years later, the wish has been granted. Good seats in the front stalls on Steve Howe’s side made for a powerful musical experience.
Actually, the abbreviated 'Clap' was preceded not by an 'inside out' version but by a delightful medley of fast-pickin' Howe tunes, mostly from 'The Steve Howe Album' but also including 'Ram' and at least one tune from the later albums.
Yes has the most adoring fans! It was such a positive energy high to see, hear and feel how much this band's fans love them. I went with three dear old friends from High School...class of '76... and one of them was just incredibly touched by the obvious and intense affection "we" have for Yes. Funny...I always knew that, but when he pointed it out mid-concert it was palpable.
Chris and Jon seem to really like Igor. Chris would get up close to the keyboards now and then and "jam" with Igor, similar to how he did with Alan last year. Also, lot's of hilarious clowning around on stage during the good-byes and bows. Tuesday night Igor was first in front of the stage to bow and did this sort of grandiose gesture towards the audience...at that point Jon sort of genuflected at him...then suddenly blocked Igor's face with his hand and then...made a mock gesture of slapping him!! Very cute. Then, as they exited...Chris tried to kick Igor in the butt on the way off stage...with those big shit stompers he was wearing. All in good fun and quite enjoyable to see them joking around.
Lastly...there is simply no other band like Yes. I've said it before...(among other things, good and bad) but, they are the best live act rock has ever seen. Period. Always have been.
The merchandise was well stocked there Rene.
Zipper down sweatshirt $60.00
New Yes logo jean shirt $50.00
Programs $15.00 Pics of the last tour and one page with new pics. It also has the one where they are all in black on Yesworld, but nice. Lots of history in it like the Yesyears booklet.
Also mouse pads and mugs both $15.00
The black ladder Tee on Ticketmaster and a white one with The Ladder logo Yes that looks like its on fire with the tour dates on the back both $27.00 and a Tye dye Yes tee.
Both shows were very good and identical except for Steves solo was different both nights. They also played The leaves of green the second night.
The first night Igor and Alan signed auotos till everyone had one. Igor hung outside for about 45 minutes just chatting with everyone who wanted to talk get an aouto or take a pic.
The second night we got everyone except for Jon who only sighned a ladys painting and said good bye and Billy Sherwood must have gone another way out. Got my pic with Chris and Alan. Steve drove up to the crowd of us and signed autos from his Mercedes. Very cool and didn't leave till he signed everyone who wanted one. The same with Chris and Alan the second night.
Very cool place for a show. Tampa was cool but alot of empty seats in the back and up top for such a small venue. Regardless it was 2 more great Yesshows.
The stage is rather small...or crowded just a bit, but everyone has enough room. On either side, there are the 6 Homeworld symbols. Each is about 2-1/2 feet in diameter, painted silver and black, spaced out over 20 feet lighted by a spotlight, usually purple just underneath them. The Yes box logo, probably around 7' x 7' and in 3D, comes down as a backdrop halfway through he show and goes up and down maybe three times. Projected on a floor to ceiling solid white curtain are several different light shapes, blobs, ect. Moving rocks, rain falling, some grey and some color mixed in from time to time. The Ladder album cover, complete with the words "The Ladder" also is projected on this curtain for a few minutes during a song or two and then at the end of the show. Shameless plug, but who cares! The band is in their usual places with Jon's percussion gear located between Alan's riser and Igor...complete with a small keyboard and half sized gong. The amplifiers are covered with a thin white cloth that matches the front of the drum riser and Igor's riser. Same equipment for Billy, Steve and Chris as last year. Different light effects were used on Tuesday's show. More color also. The falling rain sequence looks hauntingly moody at the end of "Awaken." Great use of frontal lighting which always highlights Steve, Jon and Chris, with minimal spots on Billy and Igor, unless they were soloing. I have no idea why they do this as Billy is mostly bathed in red at the far side of the stage. Overall, the lighting is very good... Tuesday's performance was sharper with more overall color. Some small use of a medium speed strobe at one point. I have seen Yes over the past 26 years so this light show is OK, but not the best I have ever seen from them. No complaints, though
The Songs, The Band and Other Things:
The complete set lists have been posted before. The opening of the Firebird Suite with a montage of Yes pictures, old Logos, footage from old shows, still clips taken from past videos shown on the backdrop as the band approaches the stage is sensational! It is emotionally thrilling with Jon waving, Alan from 25 years ago...one, maybe two clips each of Trevor, Trevor, Geoff, Peter, Rick...then a few shots of Billy and Igor at the very end. Great addition to a Yes show. The history is so evident just as they walk on stage. The Ladder mixes well with the older material. "Yours Is No Disgrace" and "Perpetual Change" are good testaments to the early style that yes was working on in the beginning. They both have aged well with "Perpetual Change" evoking many great yes memories for me personally. "Saying we have the whole world in our hand!" Jon soared here.
After "Homeworld," Jon does an audience sing along chorus of "Time and a Word." He also does the "We love when we Play" part from "Ritual" acapella. This was an emotional part of the evening for me. I could feel a lot of love surrounding me. OK, no tears just yet! On Tuesday evening, he also sang "The Leaves of Green" vocal part from "The Ancient." His voice cracked slightly at the beginning of it, but he recovered quickly. I though that Steve was going to play along a few chords with him, but Igor jumped in instead. It seemed unplanned. Steve soloed on Monday with a version of "Clap." He played a funny "inside-out" version of it, then about 2 minutes of the actual song. On Tuesday, he came out with his classical Martin and played a beautiful piece, reminiscent of "Classical Gas," then segued into "Mood For a Day." Here Steve's guitar sound, without the aid of special effects proves, without a doubt, that great guitar sound needs only to be amplified for a live show. Both nights, I believe Steve's solos were to give Jon a break. They were written into the songlist for both nights and not just a spur of the moment thing. Steve Howe is a master guitarist and should never be missed in a live performance. Has he ever played for the Queen of England?
Just one more things about this show. This is the first show I've seen this tour (and last until 11/26 New Brunswick) so I don't know if this is how they play it now, but they've changed Roundabout. They've taken the middle section out where the drums and bass stop and Steve plays the classical guitar right before the keyboard solo. It didn't sound all that bad, but I always thought that the best part of seeing that tune live is when it gets quiet and all of a sudden...."24 before my love and I'll be there" BAM!!!! Rockin keyboard solo.
Great show! The biggest problem was that some A-hole yelled "go Stevie!!!!" during the quiet acoustic intro to And You and I. Sooo..overall a wonderful evening of Yes music. Alan seemed rather back in sorts...if he was out of sorts the first couple of nights, as some reported. No big surprises. Awaken was magical...Igor really nailed Wakeman's intro...in fact, in some ways I liked his better...very fresh and with a unique twist. Steve played his butt off. I was very impressed with the solo he did at the end of (of all songs...) Owner. He really ripped...reminded me a little of the searing solo in the Yessongs version of Yours is no Disgrace! Chris was absolutely magnificent...part immaculate virtuoso and part court jester...he always has a ball. The bass in New Language simply has to be seen and heard to fully appreciate.
A terrific show, and of the best-paced Yes setlists I've ever seen (and I've seen a bunch). They *finally* figured out where to put the 'hits' (at the end of the show). On top of it being one of the better *performances* as well, by all involved, it also had an excellent house mix , with both Igor and Howe nice and loud.
Monday night in Tampa was a wondrous story, filled with many magical moments. The Performing Arts Center is a first-class venue with excellent acoustics, seating arrangement, and creature comforts. We arrived just as the doors opened and were escorted to our second-row seats by an usher. Facing the stage, we were directly in front of Steve's position, and although we were second row, there were no seats in front of us. This gave us a clear left-to-right view of Steve, Jon, Alan, Chris, and Billy in that order. A black box of Steve's gear partially blocked our view of Igor, but we were delighted to be able to watch the fascinating off-stage work that goes on between Steve and his roadie as they constantly hand off guitars or setup various pieces of gear for Steve.
I walked the length of the stage before the show. Steve had a myriad of pedals and switches on the floor, as well a black box which seemed to keep him occupied during many parts of the show. Igor's setup was standard. Five or so stacked keyboards, hidden by a white cloth. Jon's various percussion pieces were stationed between the keyboards and the drums. He also had a little platform in front of the drums, and a small white keyboard, as well as the white harp used on Awaken. His vocals station was to Steve's right, with a music stand, microphone, and a percussion instrucment used during Homeworld. Chris had a few pedals, but I spent more time looking at the setlist on the floor than his gear. The drums were behind Chris' station, on a raised platform. Billy's gear was stationed to the far right of the stage.
Behind the band's gear was a white cloth backdrop, upon which were projected various vintage video clips of the band members from yesterdays, various logos, swirling designs, and soaring landscapes.
Around 8:10 p.m., the house lights dimmed 50%. "The Firebird Suite" began, with a projection of the original Yes! logo (the one in a voice balloon). You could easily see the various band members as they came onto the stage from left and right. They appeared very relaxed and casual, making a point to acknowledge the audience, smiling and waving as they took their positions.
Steve wore black pants and a satin shirt. Igor wore a white silk poet's shirt and leotards. He had his hair cut short, away from his face. John was draped in white, with a gold vest. Alan wore spandex shorts and a shimmery shirt. Chris; calf-length shorts and heavy boots--like hiking boots, with extra high soles. His shirt was green (or so the lights led me to believe) with big white cuffs at the ends of the sleeves. Billy was sporting a thin new look since the VH1 appearance on Hard Rock Cafe--spiky black hair and regular looking clothes, similar to Steve's.
The lights came on full for the opening number: "Yours is No Disgrace." The tempo did seem too slow, as if they were easing into it, but each note was right on. Steve ripped every single riff. The vocals were clear and the volume was perfect, although we did wear ear protection. The mix and stereo separation were extra clean even as far to left of the group as we were.
The next song was Jon singing a bit of "Time and Word"--very quietly and sweetly. He said a few words of greeting and said that tonight, "this performing arts center is the House of Yes..."
Next, they eased into "Homeworld". This song, as all the new songs, must be seen and heard in a live performance to be truly appreciated. Don't miss this tour. The ending of the song featured Jon singing quietly and serenely, with only Igor backing on piano.
Jon was in a jovial mood and wore a constant smile. He chatted a lot between the songs. It was obvious that he and Chris thoroughly enjoyed themselves. But Steve rarely smiled or looked into the audience. He seemed a bit tired or bored, but he gave an exceptional performance on the guitar. He used the Fender slide, the ES175, and two different headless guitars--a black one and
IMHO the highlights were AYAI, Homeworld and Awakening. My lowlight is Owner. I thought the accoustics and mixing were very good from my seat tenth row middle. The crowd was very appreciative and very loud after the set and before the encore but I didn't see the normal amount of air guitarists, drummers and conductors. Maybe it was because it was a Monday night and alcohol is not allowed inside the venue.
When introducing Perpetual Change Jon said they had fun rehearsing it about a month ago since it was the first time in twenty years that they had played it. Can this be true? I thought for sure I have heard it during some of the last several tours but maybe old age is catching up with me! Does anybody know? Overall I thought it was a typical Yes performance and although I would like to see some set changes I am very satisfied with what they did. The started at 8:08 and finished at 10:26.
I will be at tomorrow nights show and I am curious to see if they repeat the show exactly. Fred
Just got back from the 1st Tampa show and Yes played to near perfection.
The sound was VERY good and was mixed well. A few minor glitches but all in all a fantastic concert. Ed Sciacky was in attendance and had the best seats in the whole place. My only regret....no Starship Trooper....although Roundabout did sound incredible. The new material sounded fair...New Languages and Nine Voices were a little weak, but Homeworld and Face to Face were done almost perfect. They changed the setlist slightly from the Atlanta, adding a guitar solo by Steve and changing Owner of a Lonely Heart to the first encore song. The fans gave the group a standing ovation after almost every song. The old material was much better received than the new stuff. Well, that's about it. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the tour. Dave