22 years, 11 months and 5 days ago
Friday, June 23, 2000
Universal City, California
This was only my second ever live Yesshow and is still my favorite. I'd stayed offline for two weeks prior to flying to the states for this one and I was certainly glad that I had.
Someone let slip at the pre-show gathering at Wolfgram Pucks (Thanks Bob, Cher and Brian for setting up the party) that they opened with CTTE but I managed to persuade folks not to discuss the set further for the sake of those who were seeing the MW tour for the first time that night ie me!
CTTE was stunning.
Then they did my TWO favorite ever tracks:-
Starship Trooper was blistering. I barely noticed Jons slipped line and Steve tore UA apart with that Wurm solo. Chris' more up front role in the final wurm buildup was excellent.
Then....Gates!!!!! Holy four letter expletive!
Even with the near trainwreck things improved so much that the error became like unto a distant memory. (Jonism)
Quite honestly, after this sonic barrage a break was sorely needed. I expected the lads to reel out a standard reading of 'Roundabout' and we could all go home happy. But no...
They just *had* to play LoG, HotS....and RITUAL (great version, stunning to be there and a complete overload of the senses the first time you see them do it. Honest.)
Just a stunning experience.
ISAGP and 'Roundabout' brought the crowd back down to Earth with some good old ragey Yes R&R.
Overall impression of the show. A buffet of Fine consumption. VERY satisfied.
Then it got better. I managed to score a backstage and VIP after-show party pass and had the chance to meet Steve, Alan and Igor. They were gracious, exhausted and truly appreciative of the glowing praise that folks were lavishing on them.
Great show guys. Thanks.
South side was NOT on the soundboard set list in Phoenix at all, and WAS at Devore and Universal.
I went to my first Yes concert at Universal Amphitheatre last Friday night. Don't know why this was the 1st time I've ever seen them. I've followed their music since Fragile, but never had a good opportunity to see them I guess. I paid $69 for what I thought were very good seats straight on but it turned out to be awful. 4th row up from the walkway where people crossed in front of me the whole show and also on the Ailse where the attendant was in the way the whole show.
Kansas was incredible. The guys were full of energy and had a great setlist of hits, classics, and new stuff. Icarus II off the new album Somewhere to Elsewhere was fantastic! It was a shame they only got 1 hour to play. The crowd was really into it - much moreso than I thought they would be. Steve Walsh's voice was stronger than it has been in 10 years. My only criticism was that Phil Ehart's drums sounded hollow and without power.
Yes was also excellent, but not without criticisms. They were precise and played expertly. Jon's voice was supurb. The sound was perfect. The stage set was simple yet very effective (except for that very annoying bright light behind Igor - pointed right at me of course.)
The choice of songs was acceptable, but I was really hoping for Mind Drive and Homeworld. Replace Roundabout and ISAGP with Mind Drive as the encore and then add Homeworld into the main set (or use it to replace Leaves of Green) and you'd have an excellent setlist (although I like the Drama thru Rabin era just as much as the classic era and wouldn't have minded hearing Changes or Release Release or Tempus Fugit.) That being said. I pity the poor people who don't know hardly any of the songs on the setlist. I noticed that many people left even before Gates was finished. I can understand because this was the first time I have ever heard Ritual and it seemed excessive, but I am sure that it was because I have never heard it before (Tales is the only Yes studio Recording I've never heard or owned.) I liked all of the songs but if I were putting together a setlist, Gates would have been the only song that they played that I would have chosen too.
OK, now no flames please as I am just presenting my opinion here which is no better than yours, but there are several things that bugged me about the show too. It's not the setlist, but it was the self-congratulatory actions during the entire show. After each song they turned to each other and praised one another. They announced each song as though it was the greatest thing on earth. Kansas praised Yes twice, but Yes didn't even acknowledge Kansas. What "host" accepts all the praise and gives none to their "Special Guest"? The came across to me as very egocentric. The other thing that bugged me was that except of Roundabout and ISAGP, there was practically no improvising. Everything was played so precisely that I could have just as easily been listening to a record. Granted, that just shows you how accomplished these guys are and that is very impressive, and perhaps some of these songs are so complicated that they must be that way, but I didn't pay $69 to listen to a record. Finally, Jon's mannerisms just cracked me up. Not a criticism, but he just does not look the part of a "rock star."
Ok now for the highlight of the night. As you may be able to tell, I prefer Kansas over Yes, but Gates of Delerium stole the show! WOW. All other problems and criticisms aside, this one song was worth the price of admission. Yes don't need to congratulate themselves. They had plenty of people to do it for them.
Last night at the Universal Amph. ----
Damn....those guys can *play*. I had great seats - right in front of the light/sound boards. Superb sound, beautifully balanced, save for Jon's acoustic, which got lost some times. Great stage set up with a big overhanging scrim that vari-lights were projected through. First song - CttE - superb. They played it last time I saw them - here at the UA in what, 1998? Jon's voice in top form and Squire noticeably slimmed down. He looks and plays great. The big revelation was Steve, who was a demon from the start and went absolutely *insane* at the end of ST -- ripping off impossible lead guitar that had everyone just shaking their heads in disbelief. You know...he looks like a fucking botanist or your 9th grade homeroom teacher. But he plays like the long-haired Steve of 25 (yikes!) years ago. I was astonished.
As others have said, GoD and Ritual are really really hard to play and the band had the occasional mix up, Steve most often the culprit. But you've got to cut him and the whole band some slack and I just applaud them for taking these songs on. They must be wondering what the hell they were thinking writing some of this stuff. In the current musical climate, it's positively *radical* to hear these crazy tempo and time signature changes. Who else makes music like this anymore?
Reading here about the possible inclusion of SSotS, I'm sorry I didn't get to hear it. But I could see the show was running long & late and knew that they had to finish before 12am. The band barely walked off the stage at the end of the regular set before Jon was there, thanking us all and starting AGP, which is still a great song. And being so pressed for time, they seemed to ram through Roundabout as fast as they could and I have to say I thought it was really *great". A very very intense, joyful, rocked out version of that song.
Overall, I felt the night was very nostalgic in a way, and couldn't help thinking about the night I first saw Yes - from the 6th row at Madison Square Garden in 1979...the Tormato tour. That was a great, magical memorable night for me and here we all were 20+ years later.
The venue has changed, we've all changed (audience and band) but you know we were all still *there*, and the band was playing great and it all felt really good. Alongside that, I was aware that we weren't likely to all be there in another 20 years time, and so it felt precious -- a night and a concert to really savor. I will always love Yes.
Just got home from Universal and what a great show. Let me say first off that if you do not have tickets, run to TM and get them. It was worth every penny. Tell your friends and take the family.
Steve Howe was jamming tonight. It was night and day comparing tonight's performance with The Ladder tour. Not that he played badly last November, but he was a zombie. Tonight he rocked out beginning to end.
The set list was basically the same as the previous two shows. When I arrived I headed for the sound board, where I saw the set list posted. It had South Side as the second song for the encore. However, after the Kansas set I saw somebody passing out a new set list which had only Roundabout for the encore.
I believe that they had intended to do South Side but perhaps found it too difficult. So they have substituted ISAGP (yes, it was in the encore but not on the set list); which I don't think they intended to play on tour, because Steve did not bring his Portuguese 12-string.
FYI...he played the red Les Paul on CttE.
Gates: I loved it. This has to be the most difficult song to play live. I don't know how Alan does it. The complex beats and timing changes are impossible, yet he keeps it going. Since I was sitting in front of Chris, I noticed his grimace when Alan or Igor didn't get the change exactly right (twice). So it still needs work but it will get better. I don't know how Steve covers so many guitar parts on Gates either. What a monster! This song alone was worth the price of admission.
It's been a long, long wait.
I've been to every "Yes" tour since 77, but at last night's show I felt like I was seeing the real deal for the first time in 21 years.
Funny, before last night I actually thought they needed a Billy Sherwood these days. But seeing Jon, Chris and Steve in their old stage alignment -- without Billy or any other leatherpantsed hitmaker crutch providing heavy metal guitar licks or AOR vocals -- took me (and, I think, them) nearly all the way back to 1979. Not only was the show more adventurous, more energetic, more spontaneous, and ultimately more musical than any Yesshow since then, but they actually seemed to be having a genuinely good time playing with each other - even Steve and Chris.
Oh, and I can die a happy man, finally having seen GoD (was ever acronym more apropos?) performed live. It was breathtaking.
See this tour.
I had one day of rest after returning from Reno, before I had to get back to work. I left work as early as possible on Friday to Get to the Universal Ampitheater, having just bought my ticket at 7pm that evening, and almost didn't make it because I got lost in Bel Air (don't ask how). I was fortunate as a couple stopped to help and had me follow them back to the freeway. Blessings on their heads! I made it to the theatre just as Yes got on stage. LA was in general tighter than Reno, although someone lost it during the battle section of Gates and it sounded like mish mosh for a few seconds, but they quickly recovered. We also got All Good people as an additional encore.
Well, folks, WOW! I have to start by saying that the sound last night was pretty damn good! The crowd was into it for sure, I would say they had 4,500 out of 6,200 seats filled. I sat in the 7th row center in the pit. Now I've been to well over 750 concerts over the years and sat all over the respective venues. I can say that being as close as I was last night I didn't expect to get the quality sound I did. They had some really nice side fills that really worked! Really the only thing I couldn't hear was Jon's guitar at times! The band was very worked up. OK, they had a few (and I mean a few) flubs. If you want to get technical there where a couple during "Gates" in the Battle section. Those really difficult time sig. changes confused Igor a little, but Alan kept it going, and they flowed right back in. But overall, I really don't think you could expect them to play much better! I really thought that I would miss Billy's vocals, but I found that they really don't need him muddying up the sound. Jon was in fine form, hitting his highs very well. Chris was harmonizing almost perfectly, he wasn't having the problems he's having in the past. I really believe that not having Billy, forced them to do their respective jobs in a fine manner. Alan, wow, that guys in shape, by the end of the show, I really don't see how he could have gone much longer, I could see his face during Roundabout, it was the look of a very tired drummer. This was definitely a taxing set for him. Steve, I haven't seen him this fired up since the Drama tour, he smiled when he flubbed, he danced, he moved. Overall, how could you complain, he's truly amazing! Igor, I think he's found his place, he's starting to not only play the songs, but he's adding his own touch to them. No, he's not Rick (Froy!). He played Gates as well as I could have hoped. No, he's not Patrick, but he's one hell of a keyboardist! Back stage keyboards, yes there were, mainly chords though. Really the only disappointment was when I saw the set list on the soundboard, there it was "Southside of the Sky" as the last encore! I was stoked, I was ready! But, alas, they didn't play it. In all truth, I think they are just to damn tired by the end of this set to play this. Maybe they will add it later on (tonight hopefully)! I'm still ecstatic about this show! I really couldn't be happier. Shit what are they going to do play all night! I could go on for a long time with this, but, I've got a party to get ready for prior to tonight's show in Devore. Here's a little on each song.
BTW-Kansas, was a GREAT opening band, they played tight, they played well, they got a standing ovation (including lighters). It definitely was the right choice for an opening act.
CttE- I was a bit worried about this being the show opener. With no warm-up, this song really could have been tough, NOT! They pulled it rather well, Steve was on fire! He was smiling, dancing swinging and a rockin'! Again a few minor flubs (you getting this yet). The vocals during "I get up" were done very well (Billy who).
ST- Whoa, seen it 20-25 times, this was one of the better renditions. Again, Steve really playing. His sound was definitely muddied up a bit, not in a bad way. He was back to his 70's rock sounds, instead of the polished, clean sounds of the 90's. The rest of the band were very tight. Wurm was amazing, the crowd roared!
GoD- Now here we go. Again, not perfect, but, after hearing the mp3 that WorldMoo posted (thanks again)! this was much tighter, I really don't think I could expect them to play it much better. They did get lost a little 2 times in the battle section. But those time sig. changes are rough! This song is totally mind boggling live! I still have the melodies flowing through my head. AS ANOTHER POSTER SAID "THIS ONE SONG WAS WORTH THE TICKET PRICE!". I think they've pretty much got it down, but it still has the edge to it. They're not playing it with complacency yet.
LoG- Came ou
Oh my God!!! What a show!
Sorry kids, but *this* is the *definitive* Yes!!!!!!!!!! All the others were just warmup bands!!!!!!
Before I get too carried away on superlatives, I can honestly say that this has now beaten 1976 as my top Yes show!!!! And they're only going to get better.
My seat was excellent, towards the back of the pit, dead center, with two couples leaning away from center, so I had a great view and excellent sound.
First Kansas, was a bit late so I missed the opening song, but they were hot tonight. Steve was leaping about and strutting, even doing a handstand on his keyboard during wayward son. Portrait was probably the highlight for me. The two songs off Somewhere to Elsewhere were done very well, especially Not Man Big, which live goes into a whole new dimension. No technical glitches, and was an excellent warmup for what was to follow.
Then Came the Band!!!! CTTE was spotless. Exactly the opposite of HOB last OCtober. It was spot on, I didn't hear any glitches at all. Igor was a little low in the mix but frankly, they can't turjn him up enough!!! The bass on the "reentry" after I get up was incredible, as was Igor's work here.
Starship trooper was one of the best I've ever seen (San Diego 97 still takes the prize overall), but this was the best Steve solo in many a long listen to this classic Masterwork. Perfect selection in my eyes. Chris was fantastic here also.
Gates was next. Started off well, they had a little glitch early on but they caught and by the battle scene were starting to realy get into it. Then disaster nearly struck, they all lost sync with one another for about 3 bars. Given they were smack in the middle of the battle, I thought they were just going to explode. Then Chris jumped into the middle and with a strong ONE-TWO-THREE, then pounced back into sync and that was that. Very excellent piece of work overall. They all knew this was the best so far, Jon was elated, almost glowing he was so excited. By the way, Jon sings this differently.
The Leaves of Green was just right. After all the intensity and cacophony, cutting to just that part of the Ancient was very beautiful and soothinh. The entire Ancient would have been overload.
Heart of the Sunrise. Best I've heard, IMHO. Igor outdid himself on this one, hamming it up and nailing wakeman's parts with an enormous amount of interpretation. Hard to describe, it was true to the original, but defintely not Rick!!!
Then Ritual. Unfreakingbelievable. Chris was right on, hitting notes I haven't heard in 20 years. shaking us right down to the soul. The drum set was indescribable, you *have* to see this. The concussion was so intense it literally shook my hair and shirt with each beat. Definitely the highlight of the show.
The ending with the usual AGP and Round. Although both were done well. The general crowd loved it, the hardcores clearly were not energized, but it was still well done. Igor was having a lot of fun on this one, hamming it up as much as CHris ever does.
The light show was great, although I suspect many people are not able to see it, as the lights are flashing in the tent over the stage. Very trippy. There is a special graphic at the end of Soon which was particularly intense, a computer generated thing that followed Steve's steel guitar. Very nice.
The band: Steve was as animated and happy as I've ever seen him. He was one happy Yessucker, smiling, hopping, torqueing his body, really playing rock star. And considering the music!!!
Jon was right on the money. All the poepl I spoke to think his voice is maturing beautifully. Unfortunately, he missed a line during Starship trooper, which I didn't hear. I thought I had seen my first Yes show without a missed line.
Chris was defintely a key star tonight (although they did more ensmable work, no *one* stood out, they *all* stood out!) Wish he'd get some new tights, he h
It was a wonderful show., but it sounded much like a repeat of the Concord show two nights before. The band was still a little loose in most of the same places, and Jon said almost verbatim what he said at the Concord show. Well, how did they play?
Jon - Despite what reviews of the previous shows have said, I don't think Jon backed away from anything. He gave it his all on every song, and was great. His hilights were probably CTTE, LOG, and Ritual.
Steve - What can I say? Does he EVER not put on a fantastic show? Steve is so dedicated to playing well and pleasing the crowd, I don't know how he does it. His hilights were all over, but I'd say ST, GOD (slide, WOW!), Roundabout...hell I don't know, all of them.
Igor - I liked his playing a lot, when I could hear it. I think his keyboards were probably the instruments that most suffered in the mix. Sometimes his keys would be right out in front, and sometimes they'd be inaudible. I also wish he packed more analog gear. If they could do it in the past, they could sure do it now. There's no substitute for the real thing!
Chris - Chris is the best. I dug his playing throughout the night. He was the most animated of the Yes men, that's for sure. His sound and style are just brilliant.
Alan - I liked the tempos that Alan set. His playing was as strong as ever, although he didn't hop off his seat during Ritual. Alan is a fantastic drummer, and it was great to hear him on such percussion-dominated pieces as GOD and Ritual.
Now, on to the music...
CTTE - Moved along at a good pace. It was such a joy to hear as an opener to the show. The middle section was wonderful; Igor played it quite well. Chris's bass pedals in this section were powerful! They almost blew me out of my seat! The last section was not as frantic as it was in days of old, but when the final cadence of "I get up, I get down" soared from the speakers, it was pure magic, as it always is. This song is as good as it gets, but for some reason it never has the same power live as it does on the album. At least not recently it hasn't. The Yesshows recording is sure powerful.
ST - From what I can remember, it was perfect, as it should be being played so frequently over all these years. Igor's keyboard work wasn't as prominent as Wakeman's has been in the past, which I regretted. It's always a blast to see Rick and Steve rock out together on the final section. I wish Steve and Igor would have had more interaction during this section.
GOD - This is the song that brought me to the show, along with Ritual. When nailed, they are the two greatest live pieces of rock music I have ever heard. Don't believe me? Please see the 1975 QPR/London video for evidence. Gates didn't open with the gush and gusto it does on Relayer, and it seemed at first as if the band wasn't on the same page, but it quickly picked up. Squire and White were right together all the way on the "da da dada" section, and would remain that way throughout the song. The battle section was great, but again I wish Igor's keyboards had been a little higher in the mix. I also wish he had thrown in a little of the Moraz flair...(I guess that's impossible with digital equipment). Soon was marvelous. Howe never ceases to amaze. Oh but the end was a bit of a disappointment. Jon didn't play the final chords on the acoustic, so the ending was somewhat weak. The calming swell on the final C chord was also missing sadly. Nevertheless, this was probably the only chance I have to hear Gates live (I wasn't born when they used to play it!), and I enjoyed every minute of it.
LOG - Anything from Topographic is very welcome in my book. This section of The Ancient is wonderful, and Steve played it very sweetly and very well indeed. Jon was radiant as ever as he serenaded his wife. Where was the crowd on, "And I heard a million voices singing"??? Was I the only one singing along!?!
HOTS - This isn't a favorit