Overall a fantastic show, 8.5 out of 10. Lose one full mark for NO solo spots at all and another half mark for editing Roundabout. If you don't want to play the whole thing then don't play it at all. I still have bad flash backs to the Big Generator tour when they edited three songs. Anyway, it is great to see them play a lot of material from the new album, it shows that they actually believe in themselves again. Perpetual Change was played very well and was a nice change of pace. Awaken was no less than spectacular, the explosion of paper near the end was the coolest thing I have ever seen at a Yes concert!!! But the highlights of the show for me, and for many other people judging by the audience reaction, was the 90125 songs. I have been waiting years for them to play Cinema again and Owner of a Lonely Heart and Hearts were done to perfection. Billy Sherwood did a fantastic job. The audience seemed a little dead, they were not as enthusiastic as the last time they played Massey Hall, And You And I did not bring down the house like it usually does. If they keep doing shows like this, and maybe with a little more variety, then this band should be around for a long time.
Yes-men still progressive, Sometimes a target for satire, band exhilarates with inventiveness ALAN NIESTER Special to 'The Globe and Mail' Monday, December 6, 1999
Toronto -- at Massey Hall, Toronto on Saturday
Having just finished a majestic and thunderously received version of the standard Yes song And You And I, singer Jon Anderson told the delirious crowd that back in 1972, someone had told him that "in 10 years, people will still be listening to that song. I said, 'I don't think so.' "
And, of course, nearly three decades after its initial release on 1972's Close To The Edge album, the song is still central to any Yes live performance. But Anderson's initial skepticism is understandable. Even back in its heyday in the late sixties and early seventies, the progressive rock genre of which Yes was so integral was already under attack in some quarters, billed as pretentious and overreaching at best, pompous and ridiculous at worst. The years that followed only made it seem more so, and the punk movement of the mid-seventies and the release ofbarbed satire This Is Spinal Tap can rightly be seen as responses to the excesses of the form. Ironically, progressive rock, which was first labelled "underground" music (giving it the same hip cachet that anyone who managed to fit under the "alternative" umbrella received 20 years later) now truly is. There is still a healthy progressive rock movement, but it has been pushed well outside of the popular music spectrum. Close to the edge, as it were.
But those who love the form and particularly love this band are still out there. True, in the past they may well have filled Maple Leaf Gardens and SkyDome, while today the smaller Massey Hall is the venue. But take note: The hall was virtually sold out, and the fans who attended left at evening's end both drained and ecstatic.
There is no mistaking that the various Yes-men are now well into their 50s. The comparison between then and now (made all the more obvious by the collection of black and white seventies-era photos flashed on the backstage screen at concert's beginning) initially gave the performance the aura of a high-school reunion. But it quickly became obvious that, musically, the band is as accomplished as it ever was, perhaps even more so.
The core outfit (Anderson, cadaverous guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White) has been rounded out by a pair of relative newcomers, the amiable and understated guitarist Billy Sherwood and keyboards player Igor Khoroshev. The newcomers, however, have subverted whatever individualistic tendencies they may have to succumb to the basic Yes sound.
While the band did toss in a few numbers from its critically lauded new album The Ladder, (such as the Bob Marley tribute The Messenger, which despite its theme had little to do with reggae), this was primarily an evening of classics.The performance opened with an extended version of Yours Is No Disgrace (from 1971's The Yes Album), and touched on other long-time favourites such as Your Move/All Good People, Owner Of A Lonely Heart and of course, the topper Roundabout.
Just as the band was about to launch into 1971's I've Seen All Good People near the concert's climax, a million bits of paper were blasted from the rafters, giving the effect of a snowstorm inside the hall itself. Corny? Sure.Spinal Tap-y? Perhaps. Magical and exhilarating? Absolutely! And certainly something those damn Sex Pistols would have never thought of.
Saturday night was the third time I've seen Yes. I'm a relatively new fan, who wishes he was born twenty years earlier, so that he could've have enjoyed Yes throughout the 70's. Yes' performance Saturday night was very good. Massey Hall provides an ideal venue in which to see a band. Sound was particularly good from where I was sitting.
A few highlight's from the evening were the tight versions of Awaken, YIND, and PC. It meant a lot to me to see these songs live. The songs from the Ladder were also very good. Homeworld definitely has that classic Yes sound and feel.
I thought the setlist was well chosen out. Yes has visited Toronto three times in 3 or 4 years. Each time playing an epic piece (Revealing, Close to the Edge). It only made sense to play Awaken this time around. My only complaint was the edited version of Roundabout. This song deserves more than this.
Everyone on stage looked liked they were having a good time. I know there have been a lot of complaints of Steve Howe with Yes West material. I would have to agree he did seem less interested when playing Hearts. But with Owner of a lonely Heart he didn't look that unhappy, his solo was great.
I just hope this is not the last time for Yes in Toronto.
I was lucky to have front row center, something I hadn't before at a Yes concert. The band seemed to be in a good mood and were having a good time, except for Howe. He looked very unhappy.
The audience loved the show, as usual. I wasn't crazy about the set list but, hey, what can you do? I was really hoping to hear Close to the Edge. They opened with Yours Is No Disgrace, which I thought was the best song of the night and the best version of it I had ever heard. The new stuff was OK. Hearts was great, too. They finished with ISAGP and the encore was a medley of Cinema/OOLH/Roundabout.
After AYAI, Anderson said that someone told him in the early 70s that people would be listening to that song 10 years down the road. He replied that it wasn't likely. Here they were close to the year 2000 and they were still getting standing ovations for the it.
It was funny to see Anderson forget the words to Lightning Strikes at the beginning of the second verse. It disrupted the band so much I thought they were going to stop and start over. Fortunately, Anderson's memory made a quick recovery and they carried on (with a smile from all).
Sherwood flubbed a lead and shrugged at Squire who ignored it. Igor was OK, but nothing to write home about. These two guys are definitely there for background only. From what I heard, I didn't think either were particularly talented. Howe's guitars were five times louder than Sherwood's. I never appreciated just how great Howe was until tonight. He strikes me as being a perfectionist, as was his playing all evening. White was solid, as usual.
I was disappointed that there were no solos. But all in all, the band were in top form which made for a very enjoyable show. I do think, however, that my ears will be ringing for a few days.
Well, another great Yes show. Not the best ever but much better than many recentley in this city. The band was on for the most part and all seemed to be having a great time (hats off to Igor for playing such great keys throughout).
Highlight of the show= Awaken (couldn't even begin to describe the beauty of this one live).
Interesting setlist very nice to see some of that stuff that one does not really expect, the new stuff is great and comes across very well live (esp. Homeworld which is destined to become a Yes classsic. Of course it is a lot rougher live than those good old tunes from the 70's but given time it will take its place among the AUAI's and the like). My only complaint= where was the 20 minute peice from Topograhical Oceans? (my favourite album of all) All we got was about 20 seconds of 'nous sommes du soliel' dedicated to Jon's wife...nice but what about the other 19+ minutes? Oh well, you can't have it all. Now all we have to do is wait until they come back again (next spring?).
Nice show boys...thanks.
I thought the monsterous three-neck Squire played during "Awaken" sounded just as good as the green thing, though.
Squire was a personal highlight, as usual.
Not sure what I think about Steve; "professionalism" definitely comes to mind, but he looked most enthusiastic waving goodbye at the end of the night. Near the end of one of the early songs he mouthed "I have to go" to Chris, which may or may not have been a bathroom comment... later he looked downright dizzy, as he blinked and covered his face with his hand between turns at the standup guitar.
I could see hints of how Igor could be a hamdog during the goodbye bows, good for him I say.
One thing that confused me was the little clear plastic standup divider, about three feet tall, that stood between Steve's area and Jon's harp. It never really came into play for any reason, perhaps it's there to keep people away from Steve, particularly Billy . Sorry, couldn't resist that one. :-)
It was a pleasure to see these guys taking multiple bows and revelling in the standing oh's after the classics. There is no question they were enjoying themselves and more then once I got the feeling that I had actually locked eyes with Jon and Chris as they slowly scanned the crowd with huge grins on their faces. As a concert-goer, that was a nice touch.
Well, its all over, now theres nothing to look forward to! Top notch show tonite, an improvement over the 1998 summer show in Toronto.
For the most part, the audience were well behaved and quiet during the quiet bits.
YIND seemed a little slow in tempo, but the rendition was excellent.
Lightning Strikes suffered from a glaring Jon gaffe, where he forgot the words to the second line of the song, and sang nothing for a few moments until his memory returned. At that point, he went over to Chris and said something to him, Chris smiled and walked away.
Igor played well, his keys were a little undermixed throughout, and I saw nothing of his being a "ham" as mentioned in other threads.
Jon seemed the most animated of the band tonight, even Chris seemed a little laid back compared to the last time I saw them in 98.
As for Steve........... I really dont see what all the fuss is about, he appeared to be enjoying himself to me, during YIND he danced about a little, had the famous "duck head" going, and ventured out to the center of the stage during his solo. I think what we have here is a consumate professional musician, concentrating fully on playing well, I cant remember him playing as well as he did tonight, if thats how well he plays without all the on stage "antics", then so be it!
I have a few gripes about the mix, Jon was often hard to hear clearly, and the kick drum could've been boosted quite a bit.
Chris' famed Rickenbacker is getting old, I think, the best bass sound of the evening came from that big green bass he usually uses on OOALH.
Not THE best YES concert Ive ever seen, but certainly ONE of them!
Post concert-- We hung around the stage doors for quite awhile, and were rewarded with Billy and Igor coming out to sign autographs. Igor was drinking what looked like brandy in a wine glass, I asked Billy if he knew about AMY, and he responded that he reads it all the time!! They spent a little while chatting and got into an Explorer and drove off.
Next, from a different door at the side of the building came Alan and Chris, both in good spirits, Chris not anywhere near as tall as I'd always believed! VERY nice guys, accommodating and funny, but they definitlely look their age up close. Alan in particular was a genuinely nice guy, signing autographs and posing for pics long after Chris had gotten into their van.
Next came Jon, who quickly got into the van with a minimum of conversation and no autographs, before it drove off, he waved to everyone and smiled.
Steves Mercedes wagon was parked outside, but he still hadn't come out when we decided to leave. All in all a memorable night, I have literally no voice left at all, yelled myself beyond hoarse!!!
What a great show! I get there and the usher for some reason shows me to my seat & I see it's on the ground level right with the stage & I have a pretty good seat but off a bit to the right. Then we find out that the person in my seat has the exact same ticket I do. So they give me another ticket, way closer & right in the middle only a few rows back! Yay!!!!!
I haven't been reading southside because of no time & also no spoilers, but I had no idea they were going to shower all those little snowflake things on us. I was truly surprised. Best version I've seen them do!
Four songs from the new album which I loved. Too bad I'm lousy on names: The first two songs of the album. I guess Homeworld would be the first one, then the second one. Then Lightening STrikes, which Jon screwed up at the very beginning somehow...I guess it was that 7/4 thing. It was funny. And then that one "the promise is made...". And also that one "we have seen the world as ecstacy." I think that's all from the Ladder. I really enjoyed all the Ladder songs.
My only complain in the whole show was Owner & Roundabout (short version as well as I've heard them play it so many times & they can switch to the Gates please...)
But what a great show!!!!!!!
Igor has worked himself into the band more, Chris was fun, Jon wonderful as always although they could have turned up his mike just a wee wee bit. Steve was amazing but I truly belive that he has a disease that constrict his facial muscles from contoring into a smile. Alan was in better form than usual. And I liked the vocals & the guitar playing of the extra guitar player.