The big question tonight was, how is Jon's voice? He came out and apologized for the fact he has been battling the flu and his voice was rough. At first, he sounded tight, but better than last night in Minneapolis. Thankfully, by the end of the show he was sounding great! He even said, "I think my voice is getting better" and touched his forehead in relief and happiness. The crowd responded with a hearty round of applause.
I have to say, Steve absolutely ripped up Yours is No Disgrace - he was fantastic. Other than a couple of very minor gaffs - a bad note on the acoustic part of Homeworld and an early start after the dreamy section of Awaken (he even smiled at himself for that one) other than that, he was dead on tonight. He seems to always play well in Milwaukee.
Homeworld is a great concert song. It has beautiful quieter passages and also builds to a tremendous high. It has a nice balance of parts for all the musicians to shine.
I have a greater appreciation for the new interpretation of Perpetual Change after tonight. Again, Steve really played the heaven out it. I also was able to see the backdrop projections tonight - I liked the enhanced satellite image of a hurricane that replayed over and over during the song. All in all, the projections added to the presentation without being annoying or distracting.
Lightning Strikes and the Messenger were done very well. I'm very glad they're playing songs from the new album. Whether or not they become classics, we'll always have this lasting record of different songs to look (and listen) back to in the future.
And You and I was played very well. Igor is excellent. Steve even gave his slide a couple of extra pushes at the very end.
Yesterday I attributed the nice interplay between Steve, Billy and Igor to the end of the next song, It Will Be a Good Day, actually that would have been a couple of songs earlier at the end of The Messenger.
As Jon introduced Face to Face, he said that The Ladder could be characterized as a "happy" recording. He said that, after 30 years they wanted to "finish" with a happy album. Does this mean what it sounds like?! I really hope not. They are playing so well now, and the compositions from the Ladder are really very good. It would be a pity.
Chris got in Jon's face at the beginning of Hearts and really cracked him up. They were laughing so much that they had to start over again. It was nice to see levity hasn't left the band after all the touring. I like Steve's steel guitar contribution to Hearts - it seems to be made for that kind of sound. Igor's keyboards here are also very, very good.
After a short conference, it was decided to do Awaken. Thank goodness! It was brilliant. And in fact, I think it was at about this point that Jon recovered his voice. There is power in this song - maybe the power of healing! What can anyone say about the live performance of Awaken? It's one of the great experiences of life.
Like last night, we missed Nine Voices. I was a bit disappointed, as I enjoy that song very much on the recording and would have liked to hear it come over on stage - maybe next time.
Your Move/All Good People is always a great one for getting people on their feet and having a good time. Steve was awesome - improvising after each verse. That's rock n' roll.
The encores, Cinema and Owner of a Lonely Heart, kept the energy high. Alan really gives it up on the kit - he's gotta loose a few pounds each night - I bet he eats well to recover the calories.
Finally, Roundabout. I for one am glad they continue to play Roundabout. Yes, it's been played a thousand times already, but it's such a great song I would be disappointed not to hear it. Igor loves to show-off his one hand technique. Steve grooves. Chris moves and everyone has a good time.
What really impressed me tonight was that everyone in the band seemed to honestly be enjoying themselves
It was a great, great pleasure to meet a bunch of you Good People -- I now have faces to put with these names. And even those who aren't (at least not yet) on Southside were very nice folks. Must be a Yes thing? Enjoy the rest of the dates on this tour -- if they're half as good as this show was, you're in for a real treat!!!
Not that I know anything about the symbols Yes are using as stage adornments.... did anyone notice that the symbols on Jon's equipment stand were in a different order than those at each side of the stage? Counting from the bottom, number 2 and 3 were reversed. Hmmm. Ach -- it's probably nothing. But then again....
"Live music is better" bumper stickers should be issued!!!!!!
FIRST AND FOREMOST -
Everyone that I met at Milwaukee was really great! It was load of fun to hang with Bill Haley and friends, and what a feeling to walk up to people at Goolsby's (the bar) and ask, "you on Southside?" The Aussies and the Scot - what a great bunch of guys!!!!
(often the reply was, "What, the southside of Milwaukee?" There were people who found us who didn't know that it was a Southside gathering but who found the density of Yes fans an irresistable magnet. And walking along the street - folks walking by would whisper to us: YEssssss Yessssss YESSSsssssss !!!!!!!)
okay, so after hours of socializing, we're off to the concert (look to Mike LaFave for photos of the parties - and a few bonus shots - Billy said, "send this to NFTE.")
WHAT A HALL! You weren't a kidding Nick! Wow! As one of the guys in my party said, "this is like being in their living room!" It was clean and sparkly with EXCELLENT acoustics. They had blocked off half of the hall, and with the two tiers and balconies the sound travelled wonderfully. My seats were too far to the left - but that also gave me room to dance - no one behind me.
Doesn't anybody besides me (and my best girlfriend) think that Yes is a great dance band?
Jon apologized for his voice - and it sounded as rough as Jon's voice ever does (good thing he didnt' try "Finally, huh?) He wore a stone clipped to his neck - I'm sure to help his throat energy. It looked like a hematite or reflective stone (hmmm. trying to reflect energy back to us? More than once through the night it broke, and he would put his hand to his sternum, hoping to smoothe it out. But he came around, and by the encore, he was saying, "Yes! My voice feels much better now!" (he did seem to enjoy those of us who danced!)
There were reports of at least 2 Steve smiles, and discussion as to why he seems so reluctant on this tour. His bouncy excitement and animation has gone. Is he just tired? Or doesn't he like the music? Or is there a deeper reason? He SMOKED on YIND! Oh, my. He was living on the edge, and yet delivering. Crisp and clear and beautiful melody. On other songs, he was sometimes a little too off the wall for me, and he wasn't without smears and blurs and slips - he is >still< the Maestro, and he >wrote< the lines I love so well! Is it my imagination, or did he play a much longer solo in YIND so that Jon's voice could warm up?
Chris - what can I say? I was on the other side of the stage, so I couldn't really groove as much with him as I like to - and while my seats were so far on the left that I couldn't see Igor at all, I still count myself lucky - because SOMETIME within all of the concerts I'm going to - I'll get to see it all. Maybe even all at once! I'll be much closer to Chris at the Taft, and probably more center at the Soaring Eagle. And god only knows where I will be at Detroit and Chicago (but at least I will have a bunch of new-found YesFriends to hang out with!) But he was his usual self - totally >on< for his lines, and full of charisma to boot. And he did it - he fixed me with his eye and brought me to his lines at least once.
Igor, I couldn't see at all, but he really seemed to be having a good time - when he would come out for the curtain calls, he was ridiculous with his gestures and hamming it up. (I was reminded of the photo underneath the CD on his Piano Works.) And I could >hear< him! I think of him as Mr. Sparkly - as he sparkles and adds little diamonds to Yes Music. He added twinkles to Hearts that never existed before that were wonderful brushstrokes - if only I could tell you how to listen for them!!!! I'm sure there were other twinkles, too, but it was difficult to note them, and enjoy them at the same time! And I enjoyed them. I especially enjoyed (as always) the "voices" he chose.
On Awaken, well. He was damned good. He knew the l
YES put on a fine show in Milwaukee last night! The setlist is the same as what they've been doing, except that NINE VOICES was dropped. Jon mentioned that he was suffering from a cold, and you could tell when he talked, BUT his singing voice sound great!!
The band began at 8:05pm (Firebird suite) and ended around 10:15pm. The crowd was small (maybe 2000 or so?), but very enthusiastic, except for the 'deadbeat' section we sat in. I got some cheap ($10.00) seats for Wednesday night in Chicago, and I look forward to seeing them again!