The last evening of my five night Florida trip for the this leg of the US tour. Then back to the UK. But first, this concert in Jacksonville, after a longish Greyhound bus ride and a quick visit to the hotel I’ll be staying in.
There’s always a bit of pressure on for the last gig. This being Yes, who knows when and whether you’ll see the band again? Better absorb every detail and soak up the atmosphere, then. Thankfully this was another outstanding performance. Chris Squire’s bizarre outfit aside, everything works, sonically and visually, at the distinguished Florida Theatre.
It turns out that the stellar House of Blues gig at Lake Buena Vista was the last time we would hear ‘New Language’, which was dropped tonight. A great pity. You could tell it was hard to pull off, and maybe lacked the dynamism the band was hoping for, but it is the most classic-sounding track on The Ladder and features some great playing. Ah well, everything else was in place and singing.
So thanks, Yes, for another memorable evening and tour. What a fine time to see the band live.
Today, I got a Ladder show tape in the mail from Jacksonville, Florida, 10/23/99. I had planned to give it a quick once over to see what was on it. I ended up listening to the whole thing -- but NOT just for Yes' performance -- which was outstanding...
...but also for the BEST Yes audience I have ever heard on a boot -- and I've heard many of them. I'm not kidding: This was the by far the most RESPONSIVE audience I've ever heard.
By "responsive", I don't just mean loud. This has nothing to do with loud. This crowd knew Yes.
They were in synch with every little nuance of the performance. When Yes did something cool, a little riff, a good transition, whatever, the crowd acknowledged it in just the right places & in just the right doses. I can't adequately explain it.
They knew when to shut up -- & did so often. They knew when to explode. There were little spots where after a particularly good solo, the crowd would give a quick, but solid acknowledgement... & then quickly get quiet again to listen to the next bit.
The band was feeding off of this too. I can hear it. I have never in my life heard a concert audience like this. There were no bozos in the crowd to ruin it. It was a 100% in synch audience.
One spot in particular I must point out.
I have heard so many versions of &You&I, it's getting to the point of ridiculousness. But by the time I got to it on this tape, I was actually looking forward to howe the audience would react to this one.
I have NEVER listened to ANY boot before for the audience's reaction with the exception of one Moraz-era boot from a show that came out before Relayer hit the stores -- because I was interested in the crowd's reaction to something that hadn't been released yet.
Man, this crowd was great. They knew when to get quiet.
Steve starts the opening harmonics. A very quick enthusiastic acknowledgement from the crowd, & then an IMMEDIATE & complete HUSH. Hey - I can HEAR what Steve is doing! It's not drowned out like on every other audience boot in existence!
Then Steve kicks in & the same thing happens. Then the chords kick in & you can sense everyone settling in now. They all ebb & flow with the tune as it goes. "Float your climb" gets a quick response again, followed by a hush.
When Steve reprises this later then kicks in the strumming followed by Igor's Rick moog line, they begin clapping along, then mellow it out when Jon starts singing. Into "I listened hard..." then Yes proceeds onward through another moog solo in which Igor has added a number of tasty touches that I hadn't heard before. In the exact same spots that I said to myself "yeah", "nice", I hear a number of people audibly express the same exact reaction in the same spots. *Uncanny*
And this happened quite a few times throughout the show!
Into "Coming quickly to terms... ... with YOUUUUUUU"
Then the climax of the tune... the part that Yes in recent years has tended to drag out... sometimes too much...
Not this time. They keep it going pretty well, swelling up, rising & falling, a couple of hesitations... then the highlight of the tune. Hard to describe, but those who have seen them this tour will probably recognize it because it's a *tasty* little extra Igor has added on this tour since I heard it also on the HOB cybercast:
He adds an ascending line that slows down as it rises to the top & he adds a couple of chromatic notes in between & just as he's about to hit the top note, he adds one more extra note, & the band *waits* for him, the tension is measurable, the crowd holds their collective breath, then the entire band comes down totally *IN* synch. It's like they all waited together perfectly -- and I've heard Yes mess this rubato up many times where they all hit that high note at ever-so-slightly different times.
Not this time.
This time it was really right. ;-)
And it sent s
A really incredible concert! They played a mixture of mostly classic Yes songs and stuff from the new CD. The newer songs can easily stand proudly aside the classic ones!
The intimacy was palpable. One could cut the air with a knife. We knew we were close to showtime and some started to stand and cheer. When a women stood in front of me and turned and beckoned all to stand, I got up immediately and wished YES on with everything I could muster. It was like a dream, when I heard the first notes of the opening fanfare, the Firebird Suite. 25+ year old memories collasing into a single moment. Time seem to stand still. And then the band came on and ripped into a heart pounding Yours is no Disgrace.
The band seemed to be really enjoying themselves, in high spirits. It was an incredible performace from a classy group.
Igor is a sound replacement to Rick, but I wondered what they needed Sherwood for?
One major highlight was All Good people. Jon said something like it was dancing time and I heard a fan say All Good People. I was waiting for this. After the I've seen all good people verses at the beggining, I had been anticpating the next moment (moment moment ...!!! ). Oh my! to heard Jon sing once again "Take a straight and stronger course to the corner of your life. Make the white queen run so fast, she hasn't got the time to make you a wife ..." The entire place seemed to be in the same estastic state as myself.
A great concert and I hope all of you are considering going to at least one show on this tour.
Amazing show, amazing night. Much better performance-wise and sound-wise than the Sunrise show, but i'll skip my review of the show and give a brief account of meeting Jon, Igor, and Alan....after the show.
My sister works in radio here in south Florida, and was persistently seeking a way to get backstage @ the Sunrise show, which didn't happen... then the remote possibility came up for getting into a meet+greet in Jacksonville, so we took a little road trip. when we went to will call, there were 3 after show passes waiting for us
After the show, we remain seated and about 15 minutes later, Igor comes out, smokin' a cig (i think he had just finished smokin' something else, too, considering his bright red eyes!!!). he was such an amazingly nice guy... Alan came out somewhere in there, and while we're talking to Igor, and getting stuff signed, he says (holding my Relayer cd) "y'know, Alan should really sign this!", so he interrupts Alan, mid-conversation, to get him to sign all my stuff and take some pictures. We didn't even ask him to!!! Then as it looked like they were going soon, my girlfriend had brought a crystal to give to Jon. she decided to give it to Igor to pass along to Jon, and Igor looks at it and says, "wow, this is beautiful, Jon will really like this. you want to come and meet him? c'mon!" so we follow him back to this little room, where he's talking to some woman and her kid and interrupts him! "There's some fans that would like to meet you.." Jon was just kind of sitting there, so wonderful. we talked to Jon for about 15-20 minutes, and let me tell you that he was one of the most warm, inviting people i've ever met. We talked about all kinds of stuff: hermann hesse, the glass bead game, Vangelis, crystals, Patrick Moraz, jazz music, etc... but the most exciting thing was, he remembered us from the Sunrise + Jacksonville shows. "yeah, I've been seeing you guys around a lot!" he says... just incredible for me to get a chance to exchange some words with him. and most of all, THANK YOU IGOR!!! IGOR IS THE MANNN!!!! such an incredibly nice guy, and a lot of fun!! so down-to-earth, I wanted to party with him. I almost asked if he wanted to smoke a doobie, but then he introduced us to Jon. such an amazing account, and a perfect ending to a weekend full of yes...
Watching Yes perform in Jacksonville, a couple of things struck me. Billy sings far more backing vocals than I realized. It's a shame he doesn't get featured more in the show. I realize that Steve is the man, but it seems Billy's being wasted. Which brings me to observation two.
If Howe (the skull) were to get a headset microphone, he would NEVER have to look up at the audience. Hello? We're the one's paying your bills. Give us some acknowledgement that you appreciate the fans. He never smiled. Looked up only when singing and even then locked on to the back wall like a laser. I've been to so many concerts, not just Yes, and I've never seen a performer look more unhappy to be playing music. He didn't used to act like that when performing live. He's Miles Davis reincarneted these days - right down to the skeletal appearance. What's up with him?
Saw Yes last night for the second time. The first was on the UNION tour, which I enjoyed, but I didn't like alot. I thought Trevor Rabin had no respect for the older tunes and that the best parts were Long Distance Runaround (the fragile band alone) and the 80s stuff, where when Steve Howe played, he was more sensitive.
Anyway, last night's show was excellent, except for a few rude fans. Actually, the audience was very well behaved except for a couple of dopes. The band on the other hand, was extremely focused. The star of the first half was Steve Howe, who was just tearing it up. Chris was playing a lot better than during the UNION tour and better than the Keys... live stuff. Jon's voice was excellent and Igor was playing well too. They found the perfect keyboardist.
Last, but certainly not least, I was really impressed with Billy Sherwood. His singing really added to the band. His guitar playing was very sensitive and his lead playing on the 80s material was great. On Open Your Eyes I could tell a lot better what playing was his than on Ladder, but live he made it apparent that "rhythm guitar" covers a lot of ground in Yes. He also filled some gaps in the older material, and I thought it was really nice of Howe to have Billy play all the Sitar parts on And You and I.
See the setlist for songs and you'll find a large portion of the new album, and it really worked well. The Ladder live holds up with the best of the older material. Perpetual Change was incredible; they actually pulled off the "dual band" part with White playing a composite drum part that was amazing. I would have to say this version blows away the Yessongs and studio versions. Cinema was very well done by Billy. The only strange song was that they did the single version of Roundabout, which wasn't necessary, but it was still nice to hear.
If you're reading this and wondering whether to see this version of Yes - do it. They are worth every penny.
Fantastic. I haven't seen Yes live for 25 years and I was bowled over by the energy and joy the band projected. Everybody was well rehearsed and the show came off without a hitch (except when Jon dropped his harp). I was fortunate to get very good seats, thanks to early notice from NFTE, and the audio and lighting was great. The playlist was a terrific mix of old and new. All of the old "Yesheads" were ready for every expected beat and chord, and we were not disapointed. The band played the classics just the way we wanted to hear them, just like the live albums we've played until they're worn out. And they really sold the new stuff. I'll be shopping the online CD sites ASAP. I could only wish for a less rowdy audience and a show twice as long, but I'm sure glad I didn't miss this one.
In Jax [The Messenger] replaced New Language, it was introduced as a "first time" played kinda thing...he went on about Bruce being in Heaven now, and that it was he who suggested that they do a song about somebody, So this song is a tribute to Bob Marley! It was accompanied by a most fantastic light display, water wave patterens and molecular forms....."and I hear him on the radio"
What a great show it was in Jacksonville's 100+ year old Florida Theatre last night. The place was packed. Sound was superb, though at times it was hard to discern Billy's vox and guitar parts (except for an painfully loud solo in Hearts). Though I'm a huge fan, Chris looked a bit goofy in his rolled-up white pants, white socks, army boots and frock. But, most importantly, he played well and sang beautifully. Jon's voice is amazing. Steve played his ass off on "the Clap" (he's looking unhealthily thin these days). Igor played well and Alan was solid and inspired.
What's the deal with the truncated version of "Roundabout"? They skipped over the bridge section ("...along thedrifting clouds..") and were content to pound out the chorus for a while.
Jon seemed a bit amazed at the warm reception given to the band--long, loud, entusiastic ovations. I hope they come back. We seem to miss lots of the big acts here, despite the Theatre and the stadium.
Great setting but small. I was 8th row in front of Chris. The sound was clear but could have been a bit louder. IMHO the band was MUCH better than Orlando. More animated. Steve included a medly of short cuts from different solos including Valley of Rocks among others. He changed the guitar for the ending of Owner and used the red "The Les Paul" instead of the blue Steingarber.
Cinema is right on and the cuts from the Ladder were awesome. I've had it for over 2 months and they were excellent on all including "the Messenger" as Jon stated it was the first night they were going to try it. It works well.
Awaken and And You And I were my highlights along with Hearts.
I've got 6 more shows here in California and THEY PLAYED THE MESSENGER!!!!!!!! It was great but it's too bad they dropped New Language.
A hello to Diana of AWAKEN Magazine(editor) she was at a medical conference in Orlando and snuck out to see the show. Good effort.