In a word....disappointed. My favorite band, in one of the best rock concert venues in the country. So why am I disappointed? Well it seemed the boys had an off night. They seemed tired, uninspired, and the sound guys took the night off. I understand this happens from time to time and I don`t hold anything against these men from Yes. They still get out there and give you your moneys worth and they are still on the top of their game but compared to the shows in the 70`s.....this didn`t come close. But thats ok....I`m not perfect at my job every day either. I will still buy their cds and will still go to see them when they tour.
Thanks to Rog P. I got a ticket last minute and decided to take a half day and go downtown in Philadelphia to Eighth Street Music ( www.8thstreet.com very nice folks, good prices) and meet Steve Howe.......
I got there early and met some folks who traveled very far (Atlanta, Ohio, Connecticut and Virginia) Rhea Frankel was there (minus Roy) . I was the first person in line. Steve got there a little late, but was in a great mood and was smiling from ear to ear as he arrived (picture to follow within a few days). The store itself was long and narrow, so Steve setup in a teaching room upstairs behind a table and in front of two murals depicting the Steve Howe Interactive CD-ROM. Ed Sciaky from Philadelphia radio fame showed up too. Igot a chance to talk to Ed about some of the many hours of audio tape of interviews over the years that Ed has. Apparently, Jon has expressed some interest in them as well. Ed has interviewed Jon and the band on every tour from 1971 onward. He has in depth interviews for both Close To The Edge and Tails From Topographic Oceans (with Jon "interpreting" the movements piece by piece) Here's hoping they can come out through King Bisquet (Ed's current employer) or through Beyond Sound.
I finally got up to see Steve and he gave me an autographed "All Access" pass (special printing with Philadelphia printed on it) and signed my LP import copy of The Ladder!I bought the CD-ROM and Steve signed the box as well. I also got a question answered that had bugged me for quite a while now. The Dead has a free form song called Dark Star that varies quite a bit from version to version, but in almost all of the early versions there is an ascending "bridge" that sounds like it was pulled note for note from Ritual. Steve was not influenced by Dark Star in the writing of Ritual. Steve thanked me for the question and said he would give it a listen.
Wow! I have a back stage pass! Where should I go now?
Well what do you do when you have an "All Access Pass" that reads "Special Appearance - Philadelphia"?
So I went to the Tower Theater. I got there around 4:30pm. I got my canvas bag with my Ladder LP and camera and went backstage. I met some nice folks backstage! One gentleman had worked there from the time the Tower had re-opened in the early seventies! He was taking a break so we sat on a wood bench and he went through a long list of notable bands that he had worked for over the years, including David Bowie, Hall & Oates, Bruce Springsteen, Genesis and others. I took my coat off and rolled up my sleeves as it was getting hot. Someone from Yes management came over and asked if we could load the confetti cannons. So I helped load confetti cannons. They are air compressed in case anyone was wondering. Now I know someone out there is thinking, "Oh, it must be Ed's fault that third cannon didn't go off." No.. it was never compressed with air because other more important issues came up like, That gell light is more pink than magenta. and we need to mount a second projector in the projector room. It was about this time that I started wondering if any of the other Howe appearance folks were going to show up. I was increasingly aware I was the only one that showed up. There also didn't seem to be any greeter. "Maybe I'm not supposed to be here." was a thought I quickly rejected and got down to the business of finding a cup of coffee.......
...Before I sought out my drug of choice (coffee), I took some pictures of the stage including the Pedal setups of Billy, Chris and Steve. I got shots of Howe's beautiful American Indian rug, His guitar collection, Jon's harp, mini keyboard and percussion instruments, Igor's Keyboards, Alan's drums, etc., etc. about this time another Photographer had emerged and was taking some pictures himself. I decided to sit down and watch what happened next. Alan arrived and was talking (American) football with a roadie. He was pleasant and relaxed. I asked Alan
What a great show! I've been going to see these guys regularly since 1975, and this show was way up there with the best Yesshows that I've seen. The energy was high from both the band and the crowd, and the band's playing was fantastic. I got chills in during Awaken, something that hasn't happened in a while! Just amazing. I wish I could re-live this show again! A great way to close out the last show of the tour.
12/13 was New Years Eve in Philadelphia.
The opening YIND:
It opens in traditonal fashion from the Firebird..
Then OMG...There's Steve picking away and moving to the center stage playing his heart out....goes back to his side...moves again to the center stage...looks up to the crowd as if to say "there, hope that pleases the malcontents" ...Steve is playing intensely...Chris begins to feed on the energy and starts twirling.. Chris and Steve are going nuts on the opening YIND...Jon is surprised by Steve's frenzy (I mean, this is just the beginning of the opening song and that's Steve working the crowd from the center)...Jon caught in the midst of Steve and Chris' fierce intensity...looks a bit astonished...hesitates a sec and begins to sing...
Just the best Yes concert I have ever been to.
The whole show was fabulous. Maybe it was Dec 31st last night.
I can't wait for them to tour here again..
This show completes my trilogy of trilogies. Two years ago I saw Yes at the 3 Tower shows. Last year was a weekend of yes with three shows in North Jersey, Camden NJ & Mantage in Scranton Pa sandwiched around Yestival. This year was Wilkes-Barre & the last 2 shows at the Tower. To think that the band is still making music after Wakeman left after the SLO shows is just amazing.
Unfortunately no surprises in the setlist (like the hoped for Turn of the Century).
The band seemed looser than other shows I've seen. I guess with them going their separate ways & taking a rest after the show, they were already celabrating a bit. During YIND I noticed Igor talking to a roadie & thought something was wrong with his rig. When the raodie returned he gave Igor a camera & he's playing with one hand & snaps a picture with the other. Later Jon missed a vocal cue in It'll be a Good Day & had to wait the 8 bars until he could pick it back again. Chris seemed to be even more animated than usual (if this is even possible). I even thought I saw Steve crack a smile once, but I was about 20 rows back & could be mistaken. To me this shows the human side of the band & makes the show more memorable for me.
Here's hoping that they are able to return & play the sheds this summer as some have predicted.
It was the last YESSHOW of the 1900s.
It was the end of their North American Tour.
Jon said that it was, "So wonderful, to be able to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year moving into the next century...!"[paraphrasing--but, close!] It was really cool. There was a fantastic vibe going on and much dancing ensued!
Tonight I was in the 5th row left of center , on the aisle. Angled in, without a chair in front of me and an aisle to dance in and Steve Howe a scant 20 ft away from me, It was perfect!
During the end of the show, it looked like Jon was giving away tamborines to people in the first couple of rows. People that he had been waving and talking to earlier in the show.
There were ballons that were being bounced around by the crowd and there was even an unmistakable aire of times past floating by. Most notably during Roundabout. There was dancing in the streets!
Jon also mentioned that it was Bruce Fairbairn that grabbed a hold of him and told him to stop being so mystical and ethereal for awhile and write something about something real and he said that he had thought of Bob Marley. "And there he was...cool!"
The band was having a lot of fun on stage and you could tell. Jon again spoke for the band when he said that "it had been one heck of a tour, woo!"
Steve was magnificent, Jon angelic, Alan impeccable, Chris bombastic, Billy freejamstic (nice 12 string work!), Igor enegy organsmic! It was cool...
...And quite a show, one for the books...Yes does Sonny and Cher! ...and the beat goes on.....and the beat goes on!......Is that really what I heard?
they also booked right after the show. By the time I got outside, the busses were gone!