This was my 2nd Yes concert, and I think my dad's 2nd as well (He saw them in '72, when Bruford was still with them, but the photos he took are lost), but as of early 2013, our last Yes concerts. We took the train in from the suburbs, and walked around a bit, and got a few bites to eat, before we got in line for our seats. Shirt vendors (illegal?) were selling gig shirts for $10. I still have the shirt today, and in great shape compared to an official tour shirt from '97 that I paid triple the price for. We were in the seated area (dugout bleachers, really) towards the back and more towards the middle, but still a great spot. The weather was really warm, and a cold front had come thru halfway thru Kansas' set, and cooled things down quite considerably, but still comfortable. Kansas did a decent set, but I, Dad, and most of the fans around us weren't too happy to see them. I don't rememeber us having to sing our National Anthem, which is pretty dumb for a Yes concert. The setlist was decent (Ritual... really?? Still no YIND, ugh). CTTE's tempo was pretty slow, I recall, so ST was a sigh of relief. People were dancing in the aisles for ISAGP and Roundabout too. I was used to seeing that, attending suburban festivals since I was a kid. Overall, pretty damn good for a free gig, minus train fare and overpriced food.
I think Jon may have been a little medicated that day. He appeared to be in a lot of pain. I had great seats and could see that he wasn't wearing his usual stage persona that day. He grimaced alot.
Their flight into Chicago had been delayed from wherever they were coming from. The plane had been on the tarmac for 3 hours before taking off. Jon has a bad back, and I'm sure that didn't help him. They touched down in Chicago just before Kansas set started.
About three quarters through Kansas' set, a roadie borought a big guitar case up to Steve's guitar tech's station (right next to where Steve's gear was already set up). When he took the 175 out of the case I knew they had arrived, as Steve usually carries that (or his Switchmaster) w/ and buys it a seat on the plane right next to him.
I was in the area where they left snuck out and left Taste. Jon looked completely wiped out...his eyes were pretty unfocused. He and Igor did not stop to chat. Steve did. He was charming for a change...played his butt off that night. Seemed fairly pleased w/ the music. No music past Relayer...a Rabinless set list !!!! Once they got past the first tune, Steve was smiling pretty much the whole night. Haven't seen that in over 20 years.
Chris was sloppy at times, but then he usually is. He and Alan must have exited from a different area. I did not see them leave.
As the show was in the day light, they did not have the benefit of their light show. I also noticed that they were using the sound system that Taste provided, not Clair Brothers or any one else that I recognized. I have no idea how it sounded to the people towards the back, I was catching just as much off the stage as I was off the mains. Chris was having intermittent problems w/ his bass rig. It sounded like his wireless was crapping out on him. There were some weak notes on his bass pedals as well. He looked pretty frustrated in between his rock star poses.
We loved the little 4 way drum ensemble during Ritual, and had a good laugh when we noticed the backing karaoke track coming out of it. Chris hadn't even finished putting his bass back on, and yet there I could hear him playing. It is Yes' variation on the Senor Wences theme....s'allright....si.....(s'allright...si). Sorry about that Henry.
Now that Indy has been cancelled, this may have been my last chance to see them for a while. Had a great time...got some excellent pictures at close range. When I get them developed I will make them available. I have to finish the roll. We have a little league tournament game tonight...I should be able to finish it off.
A friend and I just hopped in the car and went form the Twin Cities to Chi-town. It was a decent drive. Wisconsin is a very beautiful state, especially with Yesmusic to enhance it. We drove and drove and somehow didn't get there as early as we would have liked. Not being as prepared as we should have been, we finally got to chicago and realized that this was one huge F-ing city!!! We were down, Grant park could have been anywhere in that jungle of a city that made the Twin cities look like a small township. As we searched, a cab driver noticed us and pulled beside my car and asked us what we were trying to find. We told him and he led us right to the park in his cab, occasionally pulling up beside us to give us parking instructions. It was a long drive too, he really went out of his way. A great first impression of Chicagoans. The show was starting in less than an hour when we found a parking lot.
People in Chicago drive like NUTS! You literally had to just close your eyes and floor it anytime you wanted to turn or merge. Man o man!
We walked about a mile for the show and found that the seating area was full. AHHHHHHHH! We had driven 7 hours to see a show from behind a fence, a soundboard, and light tower area. We wre not about to give up. I found the security guards and scoped the one who looked like the boss. I apprached him and told him our predicament. He was cool, he told us to hang around a few minutes. The next thing I know he tells me and my friend to tell the gate guard to look at him when he asks for our tickets. We do so the guard looks, the boss nods, we RUN in! Kansas was just finishing up, so we had got there right in time. It was hard to sit through the Kansas encore for the second time in 1 week, but we made it. whew!
Yes came on and it seemed weird, for one, the sound was LOW, barely audible over chatter where we were sitting. That continued through all of CTTE. After that number, for some reason, the sound started climbuing up through ST, which blew the crowd away! People were very into the show in the back, even the epics. I must say that I was very impressed by the chicago crowd. Gates was flawless, i don't care what anyone says. The other reasin the show was weird, was because it was 6:00pm and bright daylight through the whole set. I assume because of the dangers of keeping people on chicago streets too late?
It would have ruled to se the light show again, and for some reason I thought we were going to, but no. I liked the open seating deal, because after a while I couldn't help but run up close to Steve Howe and watch. I only was able to during Roundabout though, due t security. It sucks that I wasn't able to get there early for that was probably my only chance to see them up front. it was great to see Steve up close playing like mad. Even though it was Roundabout, it didn't matter to me.
But oh well, maybe next time I will have figure out how to get back stage passes.
They cut out the Leaves of Green thing, which dissapointed me, but I assure you it wasn't intentional. Steve had his acoustic ready to go and thought that Jon was going to go into that number, but then noticed that Jon was talking about Ritual. He ran back to his tech and was quickly handed another guitar. It was cool, at leat it was for a small part instead of Gates or something.
After the show we had only enough time for a beer and smoke on the Lake Michigan. Chicago is really cool at night, very 'hopping'. The drive home sucked because I could barely stay awake, but we made it and it's amazing, really considering how spotaneous it was.
Interesting seeing Yes under the skies in daylight. They came on at 6:20pm. Most people were very receptive to the rare pieces which I couldn't believe. I was in the seated area. Sound was incredible and was not ruined by obnoxious low end, (even though the expected obnoxious dude near me was screaming for more bass) like someone else also pointed out.Of course there was constant motion of people everywhere, but it wasn't much different in the theaters for OYE.My opinion of Alan Whites drumming in the last 20 years didn't get any better with his performance of "Gates". He messed up a couple important transitions and simply did not drum many parts like the original. For that reason I'm surprised they got through it at all. They seemed to be on pins and needles in the beginning, apart from Chris who seemed relaxed with the arrangement. It was still performed well, though, and I'm extremely glad they did it. Ritual had much more confidence. Chris on typani"s, Igor on timbales (or whatever they were) and Jon on percussion. There was a canned moment coming out of the drum section that Steve cued someone on the side for. Igor was not able to play it because he was still out front. Never saw that at a Yes concert before. Jon tried to weasel out of playing Ritual. He essentially polled the audience for requests by suggesting they were "GOING to play something from Tales" but would play All Good People instead. Tales got applause and Good People got even some boo's!Then Chris smiled and pointed his finger at Jon to suggest he was wrong in his assumption that the crowd and venue were not right for it. I think Yes really put some faith back in the classic music scene Saturday.
It was great! I was told I has backstage passes, but our source fell down on that promise. I managed to secure four tickets through a security gaurd though (with the help of some friends and I sat (at first) in about the 40th row on Squires side because we got in so late. After Kansas, a lot of people left and new people started coming in, so I moved up to about 15th row, (hey it was festival seating). I had my camera and walked along the side to get some great pics because security let me walk up right next to the stage. Right before Ritual starts 4 people in row one get up and leave, I'm standing there and I motion to my brother and 2 friends to come down, they jumped at the chance and spent the rest of the show in row 1. It was great because during the last two songs, security let us get out of our seats and stand against the railing and all of a sudden their is like 100 people just going nuts (jumping up and down, waving ect), in front of the stage and most people started moving further down. If THAT didn't make Chris feel like a star, I don't know what would. He was the "hammiest" I've ever seen him. It was great. Steve of course was very reserved. Reminded me. somewhat of the Relayer tour. I didn't notice any "flubs". Great interaction with all members. Igor was absolutely great. Squire is in the best shape in years, Jon looked great, Alan needed longer shorts and Steve was Steve. I couldn't estimate the crowd, but if I were to guess, I would say 25,000 including those on the lawn, plus another 25,000 or so who strolled by.There were probably around 100,000 total there when Yes were playing but it's so big, you couldn't hear them if you walked away from the bandshell.Since Sears was a main sponser of Taste, it was kind of funny to see Yes play with large Sears banners on each side of the stage. Kind of makes me want to go buy a lawnmower or something.Can someone give a better estimate of the crowd?
1. This has to be the only Yes concert... heck, the only _rock_ concert... I can remember that opened with the M.C. asking the crowd to stand for the singing of the National Anthem. *Not joking, this really happened!*
2. This definitely has to be the first Yes concert I've attended where I saw someone wearing a Britney Spears concert t-shirt. (Okay, it was worn by a 10 year old girl who was there with her family; and probably since Yes was putting on such a great show, no one that I noticed felt obligated to make fun of her.) Other t-shirts observed: a King Crimson "Thrak" shirt (cool!), a Sunny Day Real Estate shirt (are they cool? I dunno), a few well-worn Kansas shirts, and many, many Yes shirts from every era all the way back to "Tales".
3. The sun SET behind the buildings of the Chicago skyline during "Heart of the SunRISE"... There's some sort of cosmic symmetry there... (Well, not really, since the actual sunset occured much later, but the effect was there. Jon didn't notice because the stage faces northeast, otherwise might he have commented...?)
4. Where were the tour merchandise vendors? I would have liked to have at least seen a Yes Masterworks tour book, and maybe would have bought one. All I could see in the concert area were beer and pop vendors.
5. *KANSAS* didn't play enough songs that I recognized!! (Just kidding a bit, but I'm sure a lot of Kansas fans thought the same of the Yes set... But Kansas _was_ playing some material from their new album which doesn't come out until July 11. They did more than alright for an opening act.)
Oh yeah, one more gripe:
6. Food ticket sales stopped at 8:45pm *before* the concert ended... Man, was I hungry after the show! Food, food everywhere and not a morsel to eat! (For those unfamiliar, the vendors don't handle cash sales at Taste; you have to buy food tickets at designated booths and then use those to "purchase" the eats and drinks.)
And yet, Yes' performance made the experience so satisfying that I can complain or comment about all of the above only in jest. :-)
Well, I recorded it, and I saw a few others too. Needless to say, I'm glad I sacrificed some immediate enjoyment to get it . Sometimes a nice memory just ain't enough. A guy right next to me was attempting to record, but two boors couldn't shut up, so he tramped off in frustration. Yes should not merely be background music for two dumbfuks discussing tomorrow's errands. Security mostly seemed to be scouting for video cameras. News to the lawn-sitters: the seats inside were free. All you had to do was get in line to get a stamp on your arm.
A few observations upon re-listening to the show :
Some rumbles of thunder across the sky can be heard during Chris' reprise of the Ritual intro-- one of those very nice outdoor moments that synched perfectly with the music. During the intro to GoD, a flock of interested birds flew over and started fluttering around the scaffolding at the top of the stage adding their songs to Yes's. The plastic "Sears" banners-- Come Discover the Proggy Side of Sears.
I never realized how Frippian some of the guitar work in Ritual is. Surely these two at least briefly influenced each other at some point in time. ISAGP as a "clap-along" I can live without. GoD was very very good, although my recorded memento was marred by the boor next to mesaying "you know dude, i aint been shushed in a long time" (I gave his girlfriend the forefinger-over-the-lips motion to shut up during the final floating chords of Soon. This same fukhead leaned over to me in the middle of CTTE and commented on Howe's polyester trousers right into the mic......argggh. Who needs a cow sound anyway? :-}
Obviously, no one in the lawn area was patted down for equipment upon entering. (The "reserved seating" folks probably were, I dunno?)
But surprisingly, there *was* a security team out on the lawn! (Bummer!) They took down at least one tripod mounted video setup as well as a professional looking "2 stereo mikes under a little umbrella on a giant mike stand" about 10-15 feet in front of me... during Kansas' set!! I couldn't tell if the security sweep went any farther out into the lawn area. The two setups that I described were both at the very front of the lawn along the picket fence.
Later, I did see a few people running around with handheld camcorders during Yes' set. Security didn't seem to bother with them by that point.
Saw the masterworks tour last night at The Taste of Chicago. This was a free show. It is ironic that the most fan oriented tour in decades was free. Most people wanted to know when they were going to play Owner of A Lonely Heart. Also most people had no idea what they were hearing with Gates of Delirium and Ritual. They didn't play Leaves of Green (The Ancient).
You couldn't get anywhere near the stage, unless apparently you had a pass to get into this gated area. Also, No T-shirts and no programs anywhere in sight! I feel strangely enough since it was free that as a Yes fan I was ripped off! They should come back here to a proper venue.
On The positive side: The sound was good and the band played well. I loved hearing Gates and Ritual. Not much interaction with the audience though. Oh, Steve and Chris did a great job with the WURM section of Starship Trooper. They put some new riffs into it that were great.
When you think about the last 3-4 tours we really have gotten alot of classic YES: Awaken,Revealing Science, Gates,Ritual, Perpetual Change. Those non-Rabin era fans can not complain at all anymore! Being a fan of Both guitarists I miss the Rabin era songs (though not Owner which I am sick to death of.)
Now I can die happy! I got to see Yes perform Gates of Delirium and Ritual! Did I have to sit through Owner of a Lonely Heart or some new songs that just don't cut it? No! This was Yes at their best, about the only thing they could have tagged on to make it utterly complete would be Awaken....Oh Yes!!!
It was a free concert as part of the Taste of Chicago festival and I drove down from Minneapolis to see it. My greatest fear going into it was that Yes would be forced to play an abbreviated set. I asked a sound-guy and he said "Yes is only allowed to play for 90 minutes". Oh crap! They're going to shave off GoD or Ritual and I'll be PISSED!!! But the only thing they dropped from the setlist was Leaves of Green, I can live with that!
Just before doing Ritual, you can tell the band wasn't sure whether they had time to do it, Jon Anderson said "ahh, I think we're supposed to do 'Seen All Good People' right now but I'd really like to do a song from Topographic Oceans...Would anyone like to hear a song from Topographic Oceans???" The crowd went nuts! Steve Howe was getting on his acoustic for SAGP but then quickly changed to his Les Paul Jr. for Ritual. I saw Squire give Anderson this look like "I told you we wouldn't have enough time but you won our bet, OK, we'll do it." It was fantastic!!!!
Throughout the concert, Howe was great and Squire kicked ass, Jon's vocals were pristine and Igor and White played well. I've seen Yes about eight times now but because of the ridiculously cool setlist and the way that they played, I'd have to classify this as the best Yes concert I've ever seen, probably the best I will ever see. I got all wistful during the Nous Somme Du Soleil section of Ritual thinking that this was probably the first and the last time I'll ever see Yes perform this material, I freezed that moment in my mind.
An unforgettable concert experience. If you're a hardcore Yesfan and you missed this Masterworks tour.....you have my sympathies!!!
First things first: Full artistic marks to Yes for putting on the show they wanted to play for a crowd that inevitably was going to include a lot of casual passersby at the Taste of Chicago who would say "Oh, yes, I like Yes!" without knowing much of their output beyond Owner and Roundabout.
You'll have to ask someone else for a review of stagecraft and band interaction, because my wife and I sat on the lawn, behind the main seating area. If I stood up and craned my neck through the crowds in front, I could sort of make out Igor and Alan through the chain-link fence, sometimes Jon, and occasionally Steve. I never saw Chris. For the price of admission, the seats were fine.
Although CTTE is a great way to open a show for a loyal audience, it's not a very good "warmup" piece for the band--at least, not these days. It took several minutes for Jon's voice to get up to performance volume and quality.
I came primarily to hear Gates of Delirium, and was about the only person in the lawn seating area who responded enthusiastically when it was announced. I was rather disappointed in the weak intro (can no one play the keyboard opening live? Even the Yesshows version is a disappointment, and that's Moraz, who should know how to play it!) but the song got much better as it went along. By "choose and renounce" I was hooked. To my ears, it sounded like Steve couldn't switch between guitars fast enough through many of the instrumental stretches in Gates, meaning he missed playing some of my favorite licks.
I don't think I'll ever really like Ritual enough to want to hear it live, but if they had to play it, they did a very nice job. Jon said "I want to ask you a question...do you want to hear a song from Tales from Topographic Oceans?" Crowd reaction was reservedly enthusiastic, so of course he said "Ok, we'll play a song from Tales from Topographic Oceans." If I had a vote, I would have asked for something else, but that's life. As you might expect, it was a big time for a mass-exodus.
I've seen Yes on all four tours since 1997, and Igor's keyboards continue to be too quiet at the wrong times and too loud at the wrong times. From my angle, it looked like his cowbell is now a double-ender.
Do I miss Billy? Yep. Some of the vocals were really missing something, or only has some fairly harsh backup from Squire. I was also robbed of my chance to shout "Billy rocks!" as I have at the rest of the concerts...
With the very mixed crowd of die-hard Yes fans and generic festival patrons (including a guy dressed as Jesus Christ, complete with cross, who showed up towards the end of the Kansas set), it was fun being turned into the "Yes experts"...since we seemed to be very into it, a fair number of people stopped by and said "Hey, you're Yes fans, do you know..." things like "which are the original members?" "where are they from?" and "What album was the singer not on?"
I also really enjoyed watching the middle-aged woman in front of us taking surreptitious hits every 10 minutes or so from her fine, hand-crafted, compact bowl.
The tunes in common with the 30th Anniversary Tour (particularly CTTE and Heart of the Sunrise) seemed to be much sharper this time around, which is nice to see.
Overall, an excellent performance, although quite a few casual fans were wondering just what in the world was going on, and didn't stick it out to hear the encore tunes: a rather rushed, lifeless All Good People, and a rocking Roundabout.