What can I say? The best way to sum up the show is what I said to Jon's wife, who was sitting behind me, after Face to Face. "After thirty years of doing this, these guys are sounding better and having more fun than they ever have".
I've seen Yes somewhere between 25 and 30 times, (memories of some 70's/80's tours are somewhat blurred from when we did the Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison swing), and I think seeing them at smaller venue's, such as Union Hall, has enabled fans to feel and experience Yes's music on a more intimate basis than early stadium shows.
The Phoenix show tracked the set list of the other shows on the tour, including the addition of Messenger, after Lightning Stikes. However, after And You And I, the first notes of Close to the Edge were played, and the crowd responded accordingly. During the acapella section of the song, with Jon ,Steve and Chris at the mike's, the crowd was silent. With Jon's harp sitting on stage I realized we would be treated to a performance of Awaken, as well as Close to the Edge. What more could any true Yes fan ask for in the same show.
After Face to Face the band looked floored by the crowd response. Jon said they were truly feeding off of the energy of the crowd, and they planned to record the tour in two nights when they are in Vegas, and he wished they had been recording it tonight. They were absolutely nailing every song.
I think I'll be traveling back to my routes in the midwest to catch the band in MKE in a couple of weeks. The only addition I would ask for is New Language to be put back on the set list. I think its the best track on the CD. But I'm not sure what could be eliminated, probably Messenger. They dropped Nine Voices from the set in PHX and Steve's solo, and the show still ran about 2 1/2 hours.
Oh well, I guess the band will just have to keep touring. Thanks for another great show, and with the way the music sounds, I look forward to many more in the future.
I hope all of our wonderful friends from YES camp will be reading this. Last night's show was incredible!! WE GOT CLOSE TO THE EDGE!!!!
We were allowed to peep in the cracks of the door during sound-check to hear and peep a 45 minute version of CTTE!!!
We met Billy and offered the gift of "Wolfskin" music. Much to my surprise he would not even look at it, touch it or anything. I even told him that we are not intrested in getting signed by a label (I work at one, why would I want to be signed?) and that it was just a gift to the band because of the inspiration they have given me for so many years. Very much not impressed with that and it followed inside too. This guy is no Trevor Rabin!!! He looks like a spiked-hair...well never mind....you get my view.....
Back to the show..........We managed to eye-ball some empty seats 4 rows from the front and made our move. It was a sucess!!! There we were ..right in front of the band. As you can see the set-list was best of the tour so far, getting Awaken & CTTE!!!! The end of Owner..& Roundabout were very adlib and awesome. Steve was so creative in the choice of leads and guitars too play for each song, but very layed backed (Genius at work), Alan was solid as always (saw him drop a stick, seemed to surprise him as much as me), Chris was a fish out of water (what an amazing show-man) he really kicked on Amaken, Igor.....this guy is in the true spirt of Wakeman with his nutty sence of humor all night. He was such the ham......I really dig this guy!!!!!!! NOW FOR THE POPE REVIEW......Jon was the most incredible I had ever seen live or on any video!!!!!!! His voice was the best ever. Clear as a bell all night. Saw him puffing a cigarette right before going on stage!! Jane was in front of us (though we found out afterwards from friends of ours who were beside us). You could see Jon soaking energy from the crowd responce. The room was very alive at this show. Maybe to alive for some folks but, us true Yes fans can't help it. This is what the band does to us. We were lucky enough to get a wave from Jon on his way into the show and Amy had several interactions with him on stage. He is so responcesive to his fans!!! IT WILL BE A GOOD DAY!!!!!
There you have it and the mortal of this story is......DON'T MISS THIS SHOW WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR AREA!!!!!
Take care Yes fans!! Hold out and hold up!!!!!!
The boys were on indeed at Union Hall!!. Felt very lucky to be there on such a night with such a set list.
One thing I did miss that I've been accustomed to seeing at shows for 20 plus years now ,was..hey!, no solo from Chris?? Is he opting out of these now at all the shows? Certainly hope not,always been one of the highlights. Well, they were fun in Phoenix and seem to have fun themselves once warmed up..even Steve,tho it can be hard to tell with him. Well hope for all, upcoming shows are as good as we got in Phoenix. And realize..the audience plays its part. Can make all the difference. Be there!
All I can say is...........OH MY GOD!
They were so...........*on* tonight! I've seen them 6 times now & tonight was *better* than I've ever seen them! YES did have 2 nights off from touring before the Phoenix show, so I figured that would make for a good show and it sure did!
Briefly (i'm exhausted!): I sat 7th row on the floor, directly in front of Steve.
The set list remained mostly as it has been........except.................they replaced Steve's solo & Nine Voices (darn!) with.............Close to the Edge!!!!
So........that means that YES played......Close to the Edge.........Awaken & And You and I...........all in the same show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! along with Homeworld.......Perpetual Change.....Your's is No Disgrace........ Roundabout and I've Seen All Good People!
An incredible array of classic YEStracks ****with**** destined to be classic new tracks!
"The Skull".......er...Steve, was more brilliant and alive than I had *ever* seen him before.........His fingers were soooooooooooo fast........faster than I've *ever* seen before. It was easy to imagine him in his "hey-day" playing Relayer tracks etc. He even smiled during the show! Although my friend said his disposition reminded him of Spock!
The Ladder tracks were simply magical.......Anyone who doesn't truly believe that The Ladder is comprised mostly of progressive tracks.........needs to see them perform........Homeworld.........Face to Face.........It'll Be a Good Day........and Lighting Strikes LIVE (!)........a much better vantage point on what complexities are really going into these songs.
Tonights show in Phoenix was exceptional! Even Jon made mention, that in a few days they are "recording one of the upcoming shows" (didn't elaborate) but wished they had recorded this evening instead. He knew that they were on top of their craft on this special night and so did all of us who laid witness to it!
More on all of this later..........I can't wait for the second leg next year when they come back!
BTW: They *didn't* sell out a 2000 seat theater......because there was very very little mention made anywhere of YES coming to town.
I did notice a home video-camera in the sound board-pit.......attached to a tripod........any ideas?...........I figure it must be one of the band members........probably Igor.
I was sitting in the balcony, first row. Our seats were in the section just to the right (stage left) of the center section. From there, the view was great. You could see the whole stage at once, and clearly make out band member's expressions.
Speaking of expressions, Chris Squire gets the 'seemed to be having more fun than anyone else in the whole place' award. I've seen Yes 9 or 10 times now, and Chris solo once. He always seem to be enjoying himself, and it really comes across in the music. The rest of the band also appeared quite happy to be playing, Chris is just more outgoing about it.
As for Jon Anderson, if I start talking about him, we'll be here all day. Anderson is incredible at his worst and last night he was at his best. The acoustics of Union Hall are great and from where we sat the sound was almost flawless. The vocals were so clear and sweet, it sounded like we were right next to him and he was singing just to us, without amps in between.
The mix was so good that every instrument could be heard clearly at all times. Sounds blended beautifully with no competition between them, reflecting the real group orientation of Yes. On some previous tours, I have seen a bit of showboating, but last night it was very rare. Other than a couple of very brief and appropriate solo shots, all the individual energies went into the group's overall sound.
I thought Billy Sherwood sounded very good the first time I saw him play with Yes (Dec 1997, Union Hall). This time he was even better, a lot better. He is far more integrated into the band and had a great time trading licks with Chris. He's the ultimate support man, giving better depth to vocal harmonies, and working with Steve Howe almost seamlessness. He got the spotlight on some lead vocals and some short guitar solos and handle both very well. When I first heard that he was joining the band on stage I was very concerned about the future of Yes' sound, but not any more. He helps carry the Yes tradition forward and adds quite a bit to the live performance.
Which brings me to Igor Khoroshev. In the 1997 show, he did a good job, but still sounded like he was backing up Yes, not completely part of the band. Last night, he was clearly IN the band. I could not imagine the show being any better with anyone else on the keys. He melted into the bands sound for most of the show and soared beautifully doing a duet with Anderson. While Russians are not know for expressing a lot of emotion, Igor seems to be gearing up to try for Chris' happiest guy award. During the final bows, Chris attacked Igor with a towel as they both laughed.
Alan White came through with a great performance on the drums. I especially enjoyed the drum solo, of which there was none. Again the all energy into the group was the theme and Alan shined without any need to take a solo. He kept the rhythm going throughout the show and still had enough free hands to add flare to the music as much as possible without distracting from anyone else. One of the marks of a great drummer is the ability to play with a second drummer. During the Union tour, I thought the White - Bruford drumming was the high point. Last night, Jon joined in the precessions with a rack of symbols and again Alan proved that he can handle dual rhythms and run with them.
That leaves Steve Howe. I wore out my thesaurus looking for more words to describe his playing. He skipped 'The Clap' for first time that I've seen him and took no extended solo. I am equally amazed at his incredible skill, phenomenal unmatched style and the seeming ease that he projects as he plays. He traded licks with Billy, who has clearly been studying Steve's style, and they worked together amazingly well. Someone else who counted said he played ten different guitars plus the mandolin. I didn't count, but that sounds about the right number. He plays such a wide variety of sounds and textures, that the giant rack of instruments,