I wasn't at this show, unfortunately, but it was my birthday, and I'd love to get a copy of it. Please e-mail me at email@example.com. Thank you! And may I say, Pete Whipple is far more magnified than Mr. Whipple from the '70s commercials.
This was my second Yesshow (so far.) The bait, of course, being the promise of live "Gates" & "Ritual" (in my lifetime...wow.) In general I probably was not as strongly affected as at ABWH 8/9/89, though both shows were equally spectacular...I was just harder to impress at age 27.
I would be attending alone, not much fun, but again..."Gates"...and I'd just moved and needed to lighten up. Acquired tix through phone, "front row circle." I'd been familiar with SPAC for years as a Troy, NY resident and had no interest in the ever-popular lawn seats, where you can view a distant, dim stage within a large, ugly New-Frontier type amphitheatre...I had high hopes for inside seating. Unfortunately, "front row circle," referred to the front row of a balcony, not front of stage. Yes, even in 2000, apparently radio stations (or something) snapped up the good seats. The seating itself was reminiscent of a racetrack, with lots of metal bars. I raced back over a large natural gorge to the front gates, to see if I could get my tickets changed, fighting against an enormous tide of concertgoers in "Talk" T-shirts. Of course there were spaces, but I was advised to wait until intermission. Resigned, I took my place next to a couple unknown to me, but friendly enough. (And as it happened, I was in a better spot than the seats I scoped at intermission, though Alan remained a blur.)
Kansas opened, racing through a metal-edged set of old faves and about 2 new songs. None of them sounded as good as you'd imagine...other than the standards I think I recognized "Icarus." Kerry Livgren was not touring and Steve Walsh doubled on keyboards, a youthful demeanour defying his years. Phil Ehart is a more energetic drummer at this stage than Alan, for what that's worth.
Yes: Opener was "CTTE..." only on a tour featuring "Gates," could this be construed as an opening song! Jon had been sick and cracked a little during "I Get Up," but otherwise a fine, slightly relaxed version. An amusing quasi-recitation of "Starship Trooper" lyrics pre-tune by Jon...as often with him, seemingly delivered with a knowing wink and not too seriously. "Gates," was not as raw and anarchic as the album sounds (to me), but Jon's voice has improved tremendously. As everyone knows, this piece is as challenging as most symphonies and requires the utmost concentration; I would say Squire and Howe were flawless, with White solid but having cut down the more baroque fills almost completely. It left most of the audience in shock...the mainly 40-somethings were used to "Roundabout" & "ISAGP" and maybe they remembered "Owner," but nothing could have prepared them for this. A dream realized for me.
I was actually more impressed by "Ritual," which surprised me...the lengthy, mainly wordless vocal section preceding the first verse seemed to wax and wane naturally, reminding me of live Dead tapes I'd heard. And for the first time I became aware of the natural reasons for their 70s work shifting from "Fragile," to "Relayer," : Yes were conscious of the larger venues they were filling, and scaled their music up accordingly. "Ritual," overwhelmingly long at home on headphones, is just the right length for a live event, and structurally shows a remarkable awareness of how to balance audience expectations. This is an awkward description, but there's no other way of putting it. Squire, a narrow (from that distance) giant in black spandex, took over the stage mid - "Ritual" - he'd made pleasingly, exaggerated strides across the stage during the subsonic bass notes in "Trooper," and now seemed determined to shatter his instrument , so hard did he play it. As the music descended into chaos, the lights suddenlycame up hard to reveal four band members, including Igor, beating out the melodic pattern on portable percussion...a stunning coup de theatre.
After that, the standard encores (ISAGP in the Jon-strummed YesWest version) may have seemed anticli
The YES concert at Saratoga Springs was my 7th Yes concert since 1978. I hadn't seen Yes play since the Talk tour, so I was both excited and uncertain of what to expect. It turns out they were incredible, starting the show with "Close To The Edge", which I've never seen them do before, and "Gates Of Delirium". Jon's voice is simply amazing. He sounds just as good if not better than he did in the '70's. The only disapointment of the night was the 'Leaves Of Green' excerpt from "The Ancient". Steve and Jon performed it well, but the PA system was too quiet for the acoustic nature of the piece. Too many over enthusiastic fans thought this quiet moment was a time to hoot and holler, drowning out Steve Howe's delicate playing. Chris Squire was fun to watch, clearly having fun himself - adding extra pauses in the bass solo section of "Heart Of The Sunrise" as though teasing the crowd. Alan White, of course, did his usual terrific drumming; and the new keyboard player Igor Khoroshev was awesome. Too bad he's already left the band.
"For Kansas and Yes, progress stands still" July 17, 2000 Times Union
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The term "progressive rock'' is as much a misnomer as "alternative rock,'' especially considering that the former hasn't had a thing to do with progress in more than 20 years. Still, it was a night of "prog rock'' at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Sunday -- and what a night.
If American heartland proggers Kansas had joined up with British prog pioneers Yes in their respective heyday, it would have been front-page news. It's not that now, but a midsize crowd of the faithful and the curious were taken back in time anyway; deep into the heart of the '70s -- complete with whirring synthesizers, rumbling bass pedals and skittering violins.
Both bands sported impressive lineups at SPAC, with many original members returning to the fold for the first time in a long while.
Kansas founder Kerry Livgren has opted for a Brian Wilson lifestyle, so he wasn't in town with the band even though he did write and mastermind much of the group's latest album, "Somewhere to Elsewhere'' (which was released Tuesday).
Bassist Dave Hope isn't touring either, but the real Kansas characters are on the road, including leonine fiddler Robbie Steinhardt, eye-patched guitarist Rich Williams, mulleted drummer Phil Ehart and goat-bearded wild man Steve Walsh.
Walsh's voice showed a little wear, but the soles of his shoes didn't as he bounced around his keyboard stand as he always has, yelping out lyrics with what would have been formidable energy for a man half his age. Walsh had the crowd in the palm of his hand with the opening line of nearly every tune -- be it "Point of Know Return,'' "Dust in the Wind,'' "Hold On'' or "Carry On, Wayward Son'' -- and he knew it.
The band centered their set with a matched pair of numbers that brought them full circle -- "Icarus II'' from their latest album, and a charging version of "Icarus (Borne on Wings of Steel)'' from 1976's "Masque.''
Yes is calling this outing their "Masterworks'' tour and they're sticking close to the '70s epics that made them staples of FM free-form radio when there was such a thing.
Keyboardist Rick Wakeman (whose spot is currently held by Igor horoshev) is the only one missing from the band's seminal lineup of vocalist Jon Anderson, guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire nd drummer Alan White (although some would legitimately argue for Bill Bruford in the latter position).
Vocal problems sidelined a few shows earlier this week, but Anderson seemed in good shape Sunday (although his speaking voice was a bit ragged). The band, well they seemed in fantastic shape -- ripping through a long set of long tunes with both muscle and subtlety.
Few bands today would dare offer two 20-minutes songs in their first hour, but Yes did and their fans loved it. The opening "Close to the Edge'' seemed fresh and twisted in its own way. "Gates of Delirium,'' on the other hand, seemed brand-new, as though it were being born while it was being played. It looped around from chaos to beauty in a way that only "prog rock,'' heck, maybe only Yes, can. "Gates,'' in fact, defined all of the good and bad of the genre in one fell swoop. It was ponderous, pompous and pretentious, sure, but it was also glorious and gutsy -- and full of pure musicianship that would make most alternative bands pass out.
Later in the show, the gentle acoustic nature of "Leaves of Green'' was countered by the barbarism of "Ritual's'' dense, percussive middle section.
And like Kansas, Yes offered up a few radio staples (though not chart hits, mind you) as well, including "Starship Trooper,'' "All Good People'' and "Roundabout.''
SPAC was incredible. I'm still exhausted, but here are a few observations:
1) Seeing Kansas was like watching Spinal Tap... It was funny. I never thought I'd EVER hear any band ask 'do you wanna ROCK?" again. The most pointless hour of music and silly posturing I've sat through in many a fortnight. They kinda had an air of desperation about them. And they seem to attract a certain redneck element to the show.
2) It was incredible how focused Yes looked, right from the start... they really looked intense, like they meant business. Steve Howe was dressed like someone's grampa.
3) Now that I've finally heard Gates and Ritual live, I can die a happy man.
4) Some schmuck next to me was going on and on about how much he loved Steve. So much that apparently he felt compelled to do the obnoxious 2-fingers-in-mouth whistle, all through the quiet acoustic segment. Finally got sick of it, and told the guy to show some respect for the man he supposedly idolizes. He shut up and sat down after that.
All in all, it was the best Yes experience of my life.
If anyone has a recording, pls let me know.
Eric R. Gamache
Went to SPAC last night (a beautiful venue itself) and saw the Yes show. We had tickets in the upper balcony inside the shed. Kansas started it off and I was indifferent. We actually left the amphitheatre about 3 songs in and chilled on the lawn. People enjoyed them enough, applauding every song, but the place was only about 1/2 as full as when Yes would play. And did Yes ever play! The lights went down, the sails went up, and we took flight. CTTE sounded great, with Squires doing some incredible basswork, moving around and being generally psyched. He looks great. Jon's voice sounded fine (not quite as good as I've heard it before, but great sounding considering he just got over a "serious" throat infection). Starship Trooper, always a treat, was well done, again featuring Chris' bass, especially during Wurm. Next, I psyched myself up for the long awaited Gates. And they nailed it. Jon sounded like an angel during Soon. Already I was satisfied, but still there was much more. Leaves of Green provided a nice breather. Jon didn't try the really high notes in this one. HotS was standard, and a joy to hear as always, even though I've never been to Zongo. Next, the Ritual. Incredibly tight, flawless, magical. The drumming jam was incredible, as the full moon appeared behind the lawn. ISAGP was standard, with Jon introducing the song by saying his son had just started playing guitar, while playing the chords on an acoustic, and then starting into the 1st verse. I headed out to the lawn after Your Move. Before the encore, we tried to get onto the lower level of the floor. Security wouldn't let us (for some reason security here was extra tight), but some very kind souls gave us their stubs, and they got us to within 25 feet of the stage. Roundabout was standard. Great to see them up close. Throughout the show, the lights were good (I'd say great, but after seeing Phish's spectacular light show so many times, it's hard to say "great" for this show). All band members seemed genuinely happy to be playing these songs, knowing that many of them were what we wanted to hear. Jon talked after most songs. I only noticed a few very minor flubs the entire night, and the band seemed really happy that they were nailing it the whole night. The place stayed full till the very end, and they got HUGE applause when it was over. Overall, a wonderful experience, well worth the price of admission...as it's been said...if you are considering attending this tour - absolutely do so - it is well worth it. Best Yes show (out of 4) I've seen.
Ok, so even though I have seen Yes over 20 times spanning over 20 years, I didn't know what to expect. See, I haven't seen them for a year or two, and had discovered this newgroup in the interum. I was expecting:
1) Unhappy, bickering members
2) a Fat, weird Chris Squire
3) a bad, nobody keyboard player
4) Weak performences specked with red notes and flubs.
1) Five happy band memebers, playing together because they like the music
2) Chris Squire, of normal weight for a 50+ yr old 6 ft man not on the cover of some fashion magazine
3) A good keyboard player, who obviously loves what he is doing.
4) A real musical performance, full of life, dynamics, tone and joy.
The Yes performance was great last nite. Steve Howe even danced and .......SMILED....... a little. I follow him quite a bit, and never have seen him so happy. Maybe it was the large, enthusiastic crowd, who knew ALL the songs, including Gates and Ritual (in fact, some spastic hoppers near me, almost fell over when they heard the beginning of Ritual, absolutely knowing it) Nice transitions in the music. Great to hear Starship Trouper so early in the set (2nd) as it is really a great, moving piece. Gates was OK, but I don't know it well enough to say how well they played it. It seems very scattered and on the verge of coming apart on record, so it was a little like that live. Ritual was super tight, fun and dynamic. To say the crowd, who many obviously didn't know it, were delighted, would be an understatement. Being close (2nd row, not 1st....Doh!!), I could see the expressions of fun and happyness on the musicians faces. They loved playing it and it came across to the people on the lawn as well as the Orchestra Pit.
Steve Howe used fewer guitars than I expected. The ES-175, A red Les Paul Custom, Les Paul Special, Tele Custom, Martin OO model, unknown classical, Coral Citar and Fender Lap steel. That was it. He seemed most comfortable on the 175 and that guitar sounded the best last nite.
Chris Squire was having fun as well. Slamming effect notes and overdriving his amps. He and the band even almost died laughing during some clap along the crowd began and lost tempo on (all white audience, ya know) ****Joke for those with no sense of humor--no emails telling me I'm not P.C. enough**** But Chris was serious and on enough during the harder passages to drive the band. Alan White was also in the grove, obviously loving every hit.
Igor is good. He plays all the parts that exist well, and inflicts his own flavors when he wants to, and they go together well. He has fun playing, and has surrounded himself with all the toys to play with. What would you rather have, some stoic stoneface in a long cape, taking himself too seriously at the detriment of the music. ( Nearly unveiled reference to you-know-who)
Jons singing voice was fine, hitting all the notes with surprising strength. His speaking voice was a little strained. Maybe still a little sick. But he also mentioned to the crowd how happy was to be singing again, after not being able to for a short while. It was as if it was something he did every day, even when in the garden. His duet with Steve was also exceptional.
I loved the show, and I am not the type to be star struck or just lay down on the performance of a band I like. Yes played very well, and the crowd recognised this and responded in kind. Next time they pass by, I would be surprised if every attendee didn't show up again.
Opener Kansas was fun. I didn't know them really, just being familiar with their Carry On--Dust material. But they also enjoyed playing. Many in the crowd knew the material well, so the band was well recieved. The band was a staple at SPAC in the 70's. One comment by the singer/violinist was "See, you can still rock after 50" was particularly poigniant, as the crowd, many in their 50's (I'm 37) understood. T