23 years, 5 months and 16 days ago
Sunday, December 12, 1999
Upper Darby, Pennsylvania
This was my 12th time seeing Yes. These guys still got it. They were in great form, although they did seem a bit tired, especially Steve. But this was the second-to-last show of the tour, after all, so a bit of fatigue is understandable. The mix was not as good as I've heard in the past - Alan's toms were often not heard at all and Igor was usually too low in the mix. This was probably due to my seat being in the balcony. The set list was identical to recent shows - I am *very* happy to see the solos dropped in favor of more songs.
Believe it or not, some of the highlights (for me, at least) were the 90125 songs. It was nice to see this lineup pay more attention to a very important era of Yes music, the Trevor Rabin years. (Although Steve was mysteriously absent from the stage for extended periods during the 90125 material...?) And Billy did an outstanding job covering Trevor's vocal and guitar parts. Don't get me wrong, I love the classic songs (I don't subscribe to the "Troopers vs. Generators" battle), but I thought the 90125 songs added some needed dimension to the set. Now if they would just dust off "The Gates of Delirium"...
I also enjoyed watching Billy and Igor - they seemed to be having a blast, especially Igor. You could tell he was having the time of his life up there. And one of his best moments was during the end of "I've Seen All Good People" where each member does a quick solo. Instead of playing a blistering keyboard run, Igor simply played his cow bells - nice touch!
Thanks for listening - we are blessed that Yes is still at it, with all the energy and passion they had in the 70s. Let's enjoy it while we can... Thanks to Jon, Steve, Chris, Alan, Billy and Igor for keeping true to what excellent music can be. Hope to see you in the spring.
My name is Pete Corda. I am a 16 year old die hard Yes fan. This show was my 5th time seeing Yes and was probably the most incredable.
I went to the show with my brother Vince (19), and my best friend Greg(17). We were also with some other friends. Anyway when we got there we bought some merchandise, found are seats at the 17th row and got settled.
They opened with the infamous "Firebird Suite" which has always been an incredable opener. What followed was a great performance of "Your's Is No Disgrace". "And You And I" recieved an almost 1 minute standing ovation.
But "Awaken" was the most incredable thing I have ever seen out of the 18 concerts I have seen in my life. Soon as the ending climax came the whole audience stood up and started cheering thier heads off, only to be sprayed with a ton of confetti( I kept some as a keep sake). It almost brought me and probably the rest of the audience to tears(I think I saw God).
Although Steve Howe didn't look interested throughout the whole show. That kinda brought me down. Otherwise it was an incredible evening that I will probably never forget.
Fantastic show! Jon always sounds like an angel, and the band still sounds great after 30 years. This was my 7th time seeing the band -- my first concert ever was 90125 at the Spectrum, and I've been hooked ever since.
Some comments on the show --- Homeworld sounded great live, but as far as playing 4 other new songs off of The Ladder (I do have the CD and enjoy it but...) -- too much! Wish they would have kept the new stuff down to 3 songs, and actually played the entire song Time and A Word --- that was such a tease only hearing a verse!! (I must be spoiled from the last two shows I saw (OYE Tour at the Tower & E-Center) where they played nothing but classics.) Let's face it -- We're paying to hear classic Yes --- enough with the bubble gum music like Owner of a Lonely Heart --- I just don't think that song is encoreworthy. Awaken was truely the highlight of the show, and the confetti dropping gave me goosebumps. Can't wait for the North American 2000 tour and hope they are back in Philly soon playing the classics from the 70s and 80s we love listening to.
Well, today is Monday, and I'm convinced "It'll Be A Great Day!!" It's the morning *after* YES totally rocked our world -- and I'm glad to report it's the first day of the rest of a more satisfied life! Last night's Tower Theatre show in Philadelphia was, as I had hoped and expected, phenomenal. For what was to be an 85-mile journey up I-95, I brought along my 14-year old son, Bobby (a YES fan since *before* he was born!), my older brother, Rich, (who, thankfully, turned me on to YES around 1976) and my brother-in-law, Larry (the only guy I know that can play most anything from virtually any band on his guitar--only Steve Howe can play a better "Mood for a Day"!!).
We hit the highway and arrived with about 45 minutes to spare, loaded quarters into the meter, walked a few blocks and finally settled into our allotted seats in the 25th row, orchestra right, next to the sound board. Not far after Jon sang his first note, I could sense Richie's radar working overtime, as he leaned over and asked if I'd allow him to take Bobby down closer to the stage to score better seats. Of course I urged him to go for it, and then watched in awe as they made their way down the aisle to settle about 4 seats deep into the center section's 5th row, mere feet from the right side of the stage. With every note played thereafter, I could hardly stand it, and anxiously prepared myself to follow suit. After Perpetual Change, we took a fast walk down that same aisle when Larry spotted two nice ones: 11th row, right center, 6 rows directly behind Rich and Bobby. Much nicer! The guy next to me said we were safe and there we remained.
The band played tighter and sounded more beautiful to me than ever. We sailed down Jon's endless rivers of energetically positive lyrics; through Steve's flawless, magical, stringed tour that spans more than 30 years of sheer wonder; Chris' ever-amazing harmonies and heavy basslines. Alan, Igor and Billy left their respective marks with laser-like accuracy, as we were showered with Awaken. With this, I decided it was again time to move: To the stage! And as the crowded theatre rose to its feet to return the love the band had selflessly given us all night, Rich, Bobby and I spent practically the rest of the show at arm's length of the Tower's historic stage. My wife, who couldn't make the trip, was there too, as I dialed her in from my cellphone and afforded her the pleasure of listening to the encore digitally, from the darkness of the speakerphone on our bedside table. She later thanked me, and said it was as clear as listening to YES play live on the radio...But wait, this story gets better.
As we left the theatre, I glanced right and saw a small crowd assembling down the narrow side street that runs the length of the Tower Theatre. We immediately went there and decided to wait and try and catch glimpse of our heroes. What followed was more than we could have ever imagined, and something I'm sure we'll never forget.
The first to emerge and approach the crowd was Steve Howe. He was energetic and congenial, despite the frigid temperatures and the previous two hours of unparalleled musicianship. Steve stood patiently and signed everything presented to him, and was quickly joined by Alan White and Billy Sherwood. Chris Squire appeared and joined the gang in the entrance to this cold side alley, flanked by Tower security and some stealthy well-wishers, including Richie. Within a minute or two, Jon Anderson emerged and quickly waded through the small, but tight crowd touching the hands of everyone he could, including Bobby, as he brushed by. Jon apologized that he "couldn't stop and sign tonight." It's OK. We all understood and were just happy to see and touch him.
Meanwhile, Rich spoke with Chris behind security lines; Larry talked with Steve for a good two to three minutes about the guitars and pedals Steve's used over the years on many tours. One at a time, my son collected the signatures
It is the day after and I can finally hear again ;)
The mixing at the Philly show was not bad, but not great either. It was loud though!
I was on extreme Steve side so that may have something to do with it. HOwever, Chris was far too low most of the time. Even his opening "solo" during for "The Messanger" was hard for me to hear. ALthough I do like Billy, from my perspective, he could have been unplugged 75% of the time and I wouldn't have known it. The other 25% of the time he was good and loud (ie: the Rabin stuff, Homeworld, IWBAGD, etc). Chris and Billy's vocals were also hard to hear a lot of the time. Even Billy's counter-point vocals were hard to hear on "Hearts". Khoroshev's left hand was hard to hear much of the time too as his leads drowed it out.
Steve's volume was very variable. AT the beginning of the show he was ear piercing, drowning everyone out. HOwever, on LS, his guitar was barely audible. His acoustic guitar on TM was also quieter than it should have been. His volume became acceptable after PC.
Jon and Alan's volume were fine through the concert.
The following are interesting (at least to me) details about the show that have been left out of other concert reviews:
LS sounds sparse without the horns.
Jon had echo effects on his voice on LS and Awaken
Chris plays his Electra bass on OoaLH instead of his Meridian and uses a 6-string on Hearts
There were no counter-point vocals on Awaken. I think this is inexcusable given how many singers they now have.
Whatever tuned percussion Alan plays at the end of Hearts has GOT TO GO! It was truly irritating/annoying and he plays it at a fast speed even though the song is going slow. It's ridiculous. It almost ruined the pretty ending.
Steve had a little light on his steel. He also seemed to play it with a pic and his fingers on AYAI--is this normal?
The ending Jam was cool and Steve and Billy had cool solos as well. They should do more things like that.
The following are interesting (at least to me) details about Igor that have been left out of other concert reviews:
The wordless counter-point vocals at the end of ROundabout were sang by Igor. I think this is the first time *ever* that these were sang and not played on the keyboard.
Igor had a problem with his mic on ISAGP during "part b". He was playing organ with one hand and couldn't get it right and seemed to say "screw it" to himself and sang on it since he could not adjust it properly.
He plays percussion on Roundabout, YIND,(I think) ISAGP, and a one or two others.
Adds a keyboard flourish at the end of PC.
Sings a lot of the additional harmonies on TM, HW, ISAGP, FtF. He sings the "boops" on FtF.
He is a crazy man up there as he is all over dancing around waving his arms or punching the air like a boxer during Alan's cymbal crashes. His tambourines with streamers are funny. He was waving them around trying to hit Jon with the streamers during YIND.
He plays the counter-point under Steve's acoustic during TM. He also plays the "koto" on IWBAGD and triggers the dance loop on FtF.
The following are interesting (at least to me) details about Howe that have been left out of other concert reviews:
Howe plays acoustic guitar on the final verse of YinD for the first time *ever* (I think).
Howe's solo on YinD sounds new and not deriviative from his old solos. His 1998 (when I saw them) and 1991 solos seemed derivative of his 70's solos.
Howe uses the red Midi Les Paul (without using the Midi) on AYAI and OoaLH.
Howe plays a spanish guitar on LS which he strums with fingers most of the time and picks up his pic from a stand to play the scalar riffs, only to put his pic down again to strum with his fingers.
The background had the Ram music video while Steve played his OoaLH solo.
The middle of Awaken seemed to be played faster than normal. There also seemed to be a little c
I was at the Philly show on Sunday night and thought it was great. The guys seem to be really having fun. Jon's comment was that this venue is called the "Tower Theater", but tonight it is called "The House of Yes". , and he meant it.
Opened up with a video chronicle of the band on a backdrop screen behind the stage with "Firebird suite", segueing into "Yours is no disgrace". Highlited the new album as well with "Homeward", "Lightning Strikes", "If Only You Knew", and "The Messenger" all being done. Great rendition of "Perpetual Change", and "I've Seen All Good People". The highlight of the show for me was "Awaken" just beautiful.
A real treat after he show was however the appearance of Jon, Chris, billy, and Alan out back of the Tower for a short chat and autograph session. They stayed until pretty much everybody's request was fulflled. They all look great! This says to me how much they appreciate their following and the solid core of fan base that keeps these guys going. Yeah, man Keep it up! All in all a great evening!
Gosh, what a show.
Just a few quick comments:
Band is as tight as ever.
Steve's demeanor? He sure looks fine to me! He is totally focused on the music. Did not see anything to worry or fret about here at all. And I was 3 rows directly in front of him. Gad, he can play.
Awaken...I was going to look for the confetti...but got so immersed in the song that I forgot all about it. When that confetti was released, it was magical. Great touch. Chris' bass is such a tremendous feature on that song. Must be alot of energy in those soundwaves.. I love how you feel the notes physically, not just aurally... well o course, thats a good bass!
I love the new songs...but the old songs from the 70s era are the simply the best when live. Even the same-old same-old Seen All Good People and Roundabout still bring the house down. YIND, that alone was worth the ticket.
And what a great seat! Many many thanks to Diane for her tip on Friday to go to ticketmaster....the brokers dumped all their unsold seats back into the system! Unbelievable. I scored big time. Yes just doesn't have the mass appeal anymore, even the scalpers were hard pressed at the theater.
Ok, so now I know what everyone from South America to Tampa to San Fran to Milwaukee to the Taft to the Beacon have been raving about. And I still get to go again tonight! (going to sit in the center tonight...thanks for the all the advice last week on that)
Gosh, what a show.
Well I'm back from the Tower theater from show #1.
Started at about 8:10pm. One Item I'd like to mention first off is how wonderfully mixed the sound had been for the performance.
The newer songs, Homeworld, New Day in particular blew me away. This new material is just great live.
Igor seemed to have a great time hitting a cow bell, dancing.....great fun.
Steve performed well. For those of you wanting to know about his gear, here is what I could list after visiting the stage prior to the performance: Khono classical, 0018 Martin, Martin 12 string, Switchmanster, Telecaster with the gibson humbucker, Steinberger 12 and 6 string, Portogese 12 string, Les Paul ( Red custom) with midi pickup (not used for midi)His amps were the usual 2 Fender twin reverbs. His pedalboard consisted of various Ernieball pedal's ( Volume, crybaby, a Danelectro type pedal. Also used, Fender Steel guitar, and of course the ES-175 which he himself carries to the stage for the opener.
The opening performance of Yours is no Disgrace blew me away at the usual Steve Howe, Alan White solo area. Steve constantly improvises daily on this part, just great fun to watch and listen.
The crowd was loud, excited even after the new songs.
I'd also like to mention that Owner of a lonely heart should be dropped. This song just doesn't fit in anymore and quite honestly sounds weak. The band should not worry about fans wanting to hear it. That song has ran it's course.
It was refreshing to hear Hearts, especially with Steve's additions on steel guitar. Cinema was also a surprise.
I've noticed that Billys Voice and guitar playing was quite good. He filled in for alot of the overdubbed guitar parts in Awaken.
Well, I'm off to my 2nd show tonight at the tower and will have another report. Bravo Jon, Chris, Steve, Igor, and Billy. Well Done, great new album!, and a beatiful performance.