22 years, 10 months and 10 days ago
Tuesday, July 18, 2000
Camden, New Jersey
Blockbuster/Sony Entertainment Centre
One of my coolest R'n'R moments:
I was sitting at an outside table at a restaurant on Rittenhouse Square, waiting on a friend; there's only about 6 or 8 tables out front. I look over at one of the other tables (the place wasn't too busy) and did a double-take at the couple eating dinner a table across from me. The waiter (who was waiting on all the outside tables) came over and took my drink order, and I asked him "Does that guy over there have a British accent?" and he said "Yeah -I heard that Peter Frampton is in town!", and I said "That's Not Peter Frampton..."
I walked up to the corner and grabbed a City Paper, and be damned if Yes isn't playing the next night at the river: That's Alan White.
I've been drumming since I was a kid and Yes was one of my favorites to play along to; I'm a huge Yes fan (I was at JFK in '76!) -and very big Alan White fan.
After he finished his dinner, I asked the waiter to offer him an after dinner drink on me. The waiter went over and Alan looked up and smiled and said "Thanks", and I took that as my cue. I walked over and said hello, told him I've been a Yes fan since before Fragile, and was a big fan of his and he was one of my heroes! (It was not a lie). Obviously, he was flattered. We talked for a moment, and I said I felt bad bothering him like that, but I just had to say Hello, and shook his hand, and finally exited gracefully...
About 10 minutes later, he walks over to our table (my friends had arrived)and asks if there's room (Damnned-straight there is!) and pulls up a chair. I then had the pleasure of introducing 4 friends of mine to Mr. Alan White -Yes's drummer.
We hung out and talked for 3 hours; drums, hardware, cymbals, sticks, tours, recordings, players, Yes songs, his discography ...It was surreal.
The waiter was so impressed he kept the beers coming and (I'm not sure) we ever were handed -or paid- a tab! Alan White was so humble, and not a jerk, but just a grounded, cool guy. (besides his work with Yes, this guy played drums on Lennon's Instant Karma!! -it wouldn't have surprised anyone if he had been a real dick -but Not At All; he was just a really cool guy.)
It was obvious to him I was a big fan, and I knew what I was talking about, and Alan enjoyed being interrogated (it was like I was a kid who got to meet Santa) and sharing stories with us about his and Yes' careers. He asked me if I was coming to the show the next night (I had not planned on going) and then invited all of us to be his guest there; tickets and backstage passes. He invited me to go early, and check out his drum kit during the sound-check.
As fate would have it, I couldn't get there early and sadly missed that opportunity, but we made it to the show (he had hooked us up with 12th-row center tix!) and then backstage for the post-show mingle.
It was great. We got to meet everyone in the band (except Steve Howe, who was kinda reclusive -he literally snuck out the back door) and I/we got to sincerely thank Alan White for what was a freak-chance meeting that turned into a really amazing night with a really cool person. Yes was great; Alan White Rocks!
When I first really heard Yes in 1982, it didn't take long for me to become enamored by their long-format, "epic" songs. Almost straight away, "The Gates of Delirium" became my favorite piece of Yes music. Given the relative obscurity of the Relayer material when it came to set lists of the eighties and nineties, I never thought I would ever hear it live. (No, the "Soon" excerpt doesn't count.) As it turned out, I had to wait until the year 2000 before I heard the entire song performed live. And it was well worth the wait.
The idea of a "fans-only" tour was tossed around by the Yes men before, but it never materialized. They finally came through with the Masterworks tour, with the set list being determined in part by fan polling on YesWorld. I was blessed to have my two requests actually made part of the set. Of course, "Gates" was my first choice. "Ritual" was number two. Add to that "Close to the Edge" and a few other classic songs from the early seventies, and you have one amazing show.
While many folks were a bit taken aback by the setlist, of which the "newest" song performed was from 1974, the intensity of the "epic masterpieces" held most folks' attention. A more accurate description would be that it held them in awe. All during "Gates" and "Ritual" the audience just sat and took it all in. This is not to say they were bored - far from it. The music simply captivated the crowd. Is was a wonderful thing to behold. (Except for the quiet sections, where a few bone heads near me insisted on carrying on a conversation totally unrelated to the history occurring on stage. But I digress...)
A comment about Kansas: They were great! They actually performed with more energy then Yes did, albeit much less complicated music. The new songs came off well, and it looks like their set list was chosen with the Yes fans in mind (Icarus - Borne on Wings of Steel, Mysteries and Mayhem, Miracles out of Nowhere) along with the classic staples (Carry On, Point of Know Return, Dust in the Wind). Over all an excellent set that I wish was longer. Kansas and Yes were a great pairing.
I have two suggestions for the future: 1) Take Masterworks to the rest of the world, especially Europe. They deserve these shows every bit as much as the States, if not more. Yes did start in England, after all. And 2), Chris needs to ditch the spandex. I may be not be the fashion police, but 50+ year old men should not wear spandex.
I had, unfortunately, missed The Ladder Tour when it landed in Philly in December of 1999. The first time I'd missed a Yes tour since 1980! Here it was the following summer and Yes were back with a different motif altogether. Good idea for a tour theme, emphasizing the longer pieces that diehard fans have been requesting over the years. GREAT hearing the whole version of Gates Of Delirium! Alot of people sitting on the lawn where I was were confused by the longer pieces. I guess maybe they were expecting Owner Of a Lonely Heart or some of the more recent things or maybe they were more fans of Kansas who opened the show(I liked both bands!) Then again I heard one guy near the bathroom complain that Kansas was doing "some boring shit" when he and his friends entered the venue so I guess there's no pleasing everyone at these things!
All in all a great show. It didn't occur to me until after the shoe that every song was at least 24 years old. Incredible!
Kansas was one of my favorite bands in the 70's and I hadn't seen them in years so it was good to see them. Icarus- Born on Wings of Steel was definitely the highlight of their set. I have to agree with earlier reviews that the guitar player (no match for Kerry Livgren) was lost alot of the time in the mix.
On to Yes
Jon was obviously still affected by his throat infection. This is about 30 shows for me and I have never heard him struggle as he did last night. God speed in your recovery Jon. I felt bad for him in a way seeing that he was struggling at times to hit certain notes. The mix was not great either, at least for the first two songs, which didn't help him.
I was concerned as to how a song like Gates was going to come across live but the band absolutely blew the whole arena totally out of the water. Everyone around me (5th row on Chris' side) was just saying "UNBELIEVABLE" over and over. This tune was absolutely hypnotic and mesmerizing, one of the best YES experiences I remember. There are really no words to describe it.
The other highlight was Ritual particularly Chris' solo which was completely different and refreshing from any I had ever heard and the drum solo with Jon, Igor and Chris participating. Awesome!
Igor seems to have come into his own with the band. He has always been technically proficient but somehow seemed spiritually connected this time with the other members, at least from one man's perspective.
Had Jon been feeling better and the mix been better this whole evening would have been a magical experience.
Many apologies to the folks who would have liked to have heard Owner and Rythym of Love but this was not your night. But there have been many of us that have listened to these tunes when we would have rather been experiencing the ones we did last night.
As for the gentleman that commented earlier about Steve being on the way out, maybe he would have had a better time at the GoGo's/B-52's show.
Hello Yesfans. I have been going to see Yes since the second leg of the Tormato tour in 1979 and this one Yesshow will definately be the most memerable.
We went early to meet a Yesfriend we met when we flew to Tampa at the beginning of The Ladder Tour. We went to his hotel in Philly and we went to the Bar to eat and whatever else. This is when he told us Igor will be leaving him something at the Will Call window. We were hoping they were backstage passes. We left the Hotel and drove from Philly into Camden NJ.
Igor came through and he left us Aftershow passes. We were very excited to the point of yelling and screaming. That kinds of left our other friend out because we only had 4 and there were five of us. We look up and she is already at work talking to someone at the gate. She was talking to an exec from Beyond Sound Music Label. She is a massage therapist and offered him a massage. She got the VIP passes and got us in before the Yesshow started.
I finally got to meet Jon Anderson. He was only at the Pre Show party and singned my Ladder Tour Book. He was the only one who didn't sign it. I got them all signed waiting for hours after all those theatre Yesshows last fall. Nine Yesshows in all to get 5 signatures.
I had brought a Matted Relayer litho I had just purchased. I had Jon and Allen sign it before the Yesshow. I gor was his charming self with the Yesfans and they left. We then left and went to the lobby. We all look up and see on the monitor that they were already playing CTTE and went to our seats.
Then came going backstage after the Yesshow Igor was first of course he works the crowd well and talk and takes opics with everyone. Allen the same both staying the whole time.
I knew Steve was going to sneak out the ramp entrance and waited by the wall in the area we were in. I saw them back his mercedees in to the ramp and I knew I would be right. I got him to sign my Relayer litho. I lucked out.
Now I only needed Chris Squire. This was unusual because when I have waited outside venues Chris along with Allen and Igor were the best with the Yesfans and he wasn not around.
He showed and practically nobody was there. Got him to sign the Relayer litho and take a pic wih me and my Yesfriends. Yes
The Yesshow was the same as everyother night and It was truly magical. I have to go get ready for tonights at the PNC in Jersey tonight. Bye Yesfriends and enjoy the rest of the Yesshows.
I have been listening to YES for less than a year, so you can call me new. But Yes is no doubt the best band i have ever heard. The show last night was the best show i have ever seen. The lights went down, and the young persons guide to the orchestra softly grew until it was loud, then died out into the opening sounds of Close to the Edge. And what a magnificent performance. Igors keys near the end where amazing. The loud church organ part and later the synth solo nailed the essence of what Wakeman contributed to Yes when they first created this masterpiece. Not to mention the amazing harmonies between Jon Anderson and Steve Howe during the soft section of "I get up I get down". Outright and amazing performance all together. Chris Squire's bass during Gates was off the hook. Alan Whites drumming was so solid and technical at the same time. Even during muli-metered sections of pieces, he made everything move and flow perfectly. I was abosolutly amazed by this show. And I hope Yes can continue thier tradition and continue playing great music for a whole other gerneration. A worderful and magical evening. Everyone should go see this show.
Kansas was an okay warm-up band, but they really do the fans a disservice by making them (their fans) require an encore to hear their three most popular songs.
Yes sound was muddled on the Squire side in the back seats. Only a few lead spots came through with the clarity and the emphasis that this music deserves. This was more evident during Leaves of Green where we could hardly hear the guitar. Louder would have been better, so that all the sing along fans can be drowned out. Although Squire is still dressing from the same rock clothes closet he has had since the 70's, he's the one that puts the life and energy into the show. Howe was a statue during the show, which once again makes you wonder how much fun he is having.
There is no denying, these guys can jam, jam, jam. A little more guitar, a better mix, some more volume and it would have been the best experience. That is the trick in a live show, it is all these things that make up the experience. It is in the execution, not just the intention.
The last two songs don't fit with the rest of the show, but that is Yes' prerogative to keep ending every show with the same songs - maybe it's a superstitious thing, or a Guiness Record in the making.
I just got home from the Yes/Kansas show which was nothing short of amazing. I haven't seen Kansas since 81, and with mostly original members. they did a nice job, and got a good reception from the crowd. A highlight for me was Icarrus (Borne on Wings Of Steel), and the little Magnum Opus coda at the end.
Then came Yes. No deviations from the past setlists, thankfully. This was my 15th Yes show since 79, and Ive never seen them do half those songs. By the end of Gates, they could have left and I'd would have been happy I've never liked Ritual, but I just sat mesmorized at how 5 people could play a piece like that. Some of the crowd was baffled by the tunes, (no Owner of a Lonely Heart), but most of the crowd was freaking out like me. The only problem with the set- no place for a piss break. (thats where "Owner" used to come in handy). It's hard to rank, but this has to be one of the best shows I've seen this year, along with Beck and Jimmy Page/Black Crowes. After every tune, they just looked at each other and the crowd, with a satisfied "we nailed that tune" look.
My only complaint about Yes was they didn't sell XXL shirts. Now looking around the lot at Camden (I'd say only 9000 people were there), there were alot of guys walking around with various years of Yes shirts, which probably haven't fit them since those respective years. Quite frankly, we were an older, more 'expanded' crowd, and I felt that larger shirts should have been offered. I'll be writting to the band about this. But unlike the Red Hot Chili Peppers/Foo Fighters show last week, no dumbass came up to me and congratulated me for being old and still going to shows. I was actually a youngin tonight. But at least they sold XXL shirts.
Good turn out for YES tonight. I'd say about 9 to 10,000, maybe 11. Under the roof was completely filled and the lawn was at least a 3rd filled. It was definitely more than the Jones beach show which I thought had about 8,000 show up. I'm interested to see the turn-out in Holmdel. My bet is that Camden, which is in the Philly area (directly across the Delaware River), will win the highest attendance award. After all, Squire said it himself, "Philly is Yestown USA".
BTW, great show tonight. It did my heart good to see so many Yesheads in attendance tonight.
KANSAS is old, fat, & their sound system sucked. Go home & bathe boyz.
The Ladder tour ROCKED! The Masterpiece Tour was an exercise in self-indulgence that I could've done without.
Were Igor's keyboards lower in the mix because he's not an "official" member? Freakin' ego maniacs!
If Steve Howe wants to act like a statue all night, perhaps he should join a classical music orchestra. This is suppossed to be rock-n-roll my friend, if you can't smile, move or acknowledge you're bandmates...quit. You've done it many times before & I'm sure you'll be doing it soon again! I bet my life on it that he's gone at the end of this tour. Especially after he got the other guitarist fired. Ego-maniacal bastard.
Why did YES play their best 2 songs at the night at the end???? You bore me to death for 2 hours, then decide to have fun???
What the @#!$ is up with Chris Squire's clothes??? Why does he dress like a trailer park hair spray slut at a White Snack concert in 1987???
Jon Anderson's vocals are the best I've ever heard them!
YES performed all their boring, overindulgent songs very well.
Squire sounded great, as did White, & Howe.
The lights were nice.
Sorry to sound like an ass, but this is definitely not the YES I enjoy. The YES on the Ladder tour last fall was almost perfect...Classic Yes mixed with YES West. My only complaint about that tour was Awakening...BORING!!!!
Sorry. I shouldn't have gone. I should have let the Ladder tour be my final YES experiance. After so many years of disliking them after Trevor left, I was reenergized in my YES enthusiasm by the Ladder album & tour. Now I hate them again. Oh well...I should join YES, I mean I sound like a disgruntled member of the band! Don't think so? Ask...
and of course... Steve Howe who will be quitting anytime now...AGAIN!!!!