The Sunrise Musical Theatre in Fort Lauderdale is now mainly used by a religious group, but was the scene of some 150 plus iconic concerts in its heyday, including such contrasting experiences as Frank Zappa and various pieces of light music theatre. It is half-arena size and Yes used the space to stretch out their musical muscles once more tonight. Another disarmingly engaging concert.
The main set-list remained unchanged, but Steve Howe again varied his acoustic interlude with all-new material: ‘Cactus Boogie’, ‘Meadow Rag’ and ‘Valley Of Rocks’ were performed before ‘Clap’.
This was the last show with my travelling companions before hitting out on my own. It was a beautiful, balmy evening. This time I was a little further back on Chris Squire’s side and found myself almost letting the music wash over me. A Yes concert experience can be intense, but in the middle of five gigs on this leg of the tour I found myself drifting – but in a positive, attentive way.
Rather oddly, my highlight of the evening was ‘It Will Be A Good Day’. Such a lovely, colourful and simple song, and tonight it had an almost transcendent translucence to it. By the time ‘Awaken’ arrived I was off on a musical cloud again. Happy days with Yes.
I agree with everything that the above listed authors mention. I, however, was treated to something very special. I got back stage right after the show was over. The band was in this tiny back room and were receiving visitors. Having followed the progress of this band over many years and using them as my musical role model, you can only image how exciting this was for me. I entered the room and was greeted by a warm smile and a firm hand shake from Billy Sherwood. I was impressed by this but must admit, I looked right past him at Anderson, Squire, White, and Howe. I had a nice conversation with Alan White about how he learned a whole concert while drumming on the back of an airplane seat while John Lennon was strumming an acoustic guitar. Both were en route to a concert in the U.S. in front of a huge crowd and had never played together. I really wanted to talk to Jon but unfortunately, he was busy messing with this idiots camera trying to get it to work and it ended up monopolizing his time. Just as well, I hate to admit it but I was so nervous just being in the same room as Jon I probably would have puked on him....After leaving with a good friend of mine, he had a good laugh at my expense and told me that I was "white as a ghost."
Brillaint! Like fine wine, time has brought this band to the epitme of greatness. The Sunrise is a smaller venue, 2000 seats maybe. There is no bad seat. Views from all angles were clear and binoculars were not necessary. Although seats were bought, they were rarely used.
The energy was high, Yes was clicking. We all shared in that special magic one only experiences at a Yes concert. My range of emotions spanned the anticipatory excitement one feels when the lights go down and Stravinsky's Firebird begins its crescendo. What will they open with?... Yours Is No Disgrase put the crowd on its feet and quickly moved the energy level to an even higher plateau.
Jon then touched many heart with a beautiful rendition of Time and A Word. I was moved to tears of joy. What glorious lyrics. Then Came time for business. The need to sell some records became evident. The title cut from HomeWorld followed and was performed with the skill and precision that only Yes posess.
Perpetual change got the crowd moving again and Steve, Billy and Chris's, guitar exchanges were flawless. What a magnificant piece. Again we were treated to some new music and it became apparent to me that the unfamiliarity of it mellowed the crowd. Lightinig Strikes and The New Language of Love gave me insight into the wonderous soul of Jon, although at times it was difficult to clearly hear the lyrics.
A bit of Ritual-Nous Sommes Du Soleil followed. Another magic melody. That segue took us to The And You And I suite including, Cord of Life, Eclipes, The Preacher and The Teacher, concluding with the Apocalypes. Again a flawless performance.
Steve Howe then took center stage and treated all of us to his unrivalled guitar skill. Unfortunately I did not recognize the first bit of his solo, it may have been an adlib. If anyone knows, please contact me. Luckily we were then treated to a dynamic rendition of the Clap, again, brilliant.
The River and some other songs from HomeWorld followed, I did not recognize them nor did Jon mention the titles. I was keeping track. The new musics unfamiliarity again had a calming effect on this South Florida crowd and many of them used this as a respite from the activities. South Floridians appear to me as a rather discourteous group anyway. They missed the birth of new music. Their loss.
When a band can perform live a complex piece of music such as Awaken, they as a group posess tremendous talent. Igor snuck in a little piano tease and the nailed the sixteenth and thirtysecond note arpeggios that cannot be mistaken for anything but Awaken. They nailed the synchopation, power chords and the lyrics. Awaken in concert is a breathtaking experiance that only a priveledged few will ever enjoy. Yes' cohesiveness is unparalelled. Steve and Billy nailed the guitar runs, Chris treated us to a bass frequency that rumbled thruogh the floor, through our legs and guts into our chest cavities. Wow! All while playing his three necked bass and a set of pedals. What a madman! How exciting!
We all got to sing along on the obligatory Your Move, All good people piece. There is something for everyone. Of course it was fun. It also signaled the end of the already two hour show.
When Yes felt we had asked for an encore long enough we were treated to Owner of a Lonely Heart during which Billy displayed his talent to the theater with a center stage solo. He could play lead any time and is a definate asset to Yes.
We all knew it had to come to an end sometime, and Roundabout was the closer. Again a flawless performance.
Although I left the theater with a ringing in my ears and the magic in my soul from yet another Yes experience, I some how felt shorted.
Obviously missing from the performance were Siberian Khatru, Close to the Edge and since they were playing the SUNRISE MUSICAL THEATER in SUNRISE Fl., Heart of the Sunrise. Also noticably missing was the Fish and a drum solo
For those of you who have not seen the show yet, you are in for a treat. The one unusual thing about this show was that Steve was aggressive. He tore out of his solo in YiND, when the rest of the band joined back in, It was almost like he went 3D when everyone else started playing, simply incredible, He was all over every song (less the YesWest songs), especially Perpetual Change.
The sound was nearly flawless, a little feedback was evident and Igor was hard to hear at times, but the mix was good and Steve was so easy to hear. I noticed on various live recordings of the last tour that Steve was not as high in the mix, but on Thursday you could hear every note clear and his solos were very loud.
If you like Steve then you would have loved last nights show. He was even friendly with the crowd but very awkward on stage when he was being cheered. Oh by the way, the rest of the band was there too and they all really played well, it was a fantastic show.
I do have one issue and it involves Chris Squire. His outfit was simply horrible, it looked like a robe and shorts set made out of terry cloth with these ugly brown hiking boots. Maybe he is trying to be like Hef, with the robe and all, but still, get some decent clothes.
T H E H E A R T O F T H E S U N R I S E
Wow! What a show! It was even better than both Tampa Shows. The Sunrise Musical Theater was FULL, I was told by the staff that the capacity is around 5,100. They had the very right end of the upper level closed due to obstructed view. There must have been close to 5,000 people there. And the crowd went absolutely nuts. Everyone was standing for most of the show. Every song got a standing ovation. And at the end Thousands of lighters lit the Sunrise.
I sat in the third row directly in front of Chris, Jon's beautiful wife was just a few seats over and two rows in front of me. At the end Jane went up to the stage, Jon bent over and kissed here. Steve Howe was mesmerizing, he even smiled and looked at the crowd tonight. Is it me or is Steve starting to look like Clint Eastwood. Igor was amazing again, his work on Awaken brought tears to my eyes. Chris was wild tonight. And Alan was like a locomotive. Billy (Mr. Sherwood) was hot tonight, nailed Cinema and was jammin with Squire.
Jon's voice was totally amazing, very strong and hit every note. The guys played better tonight than both Tampa Shows, and those performances were definitely hard to beat. It was the same setlist as the Tampa shows. The stage was a little larger. And the sound was phenomenal. The Sunrise is a semi circular theater that is about half the size of a small arena. It appears that this tour is gaining some momentum. I am sorry that this was my last show, although after tonight's performance I may try to catch a show in N.Y. or something. If you don't have tickets yet GET THEM. This is GOOD..THIS IS DAMN GOOD. IT DOESN"T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS.