This was due to be my penultimate concert on the Masterworks tour. Due to unforeseen circumstances, it turned out to be the last one, unfortunately. Another fantastic show. The sails stage backdrop is simple and effective – classic, like the music. There were some minor technical issues early on, but other than that, the sound was good and the performance excellent.
There’s nothing on this (unchanged) set list that comes from beyond 1974. But Yes, while doing full justice to these glorious pieces, also manage to make them sound current. Like all the best music, there is something timeless about material from The Yes Album through to Relayer. For many of us, this era, together with ‘Awaken’ (not featured), represents the absolute pinnacle of the band’s achievements.
“Long may they flourish”, was my thought as I left the arena after another exhilarating musical evening.
By the time Yes took to the stage, the place was packed. Only a few vacant seats in the orchestra section. It was a pleasure like no other concert experience to hear and see these Masters perform some of their most beautiful and compelling works. Each song was a magical experience.
These gentlemen are all artists first, entertainers second. Things have to be meticulously right. But even when they go wrong they keep their cool like the professionals they are. Steve was having some sort of problem with his equipment but you could hardly tell. He never missed a note. Jon was angelic as always. Chris was a wild man, playing to the crowd but keeping it all together. My wife quipped "How did he get into those pants?" I think she enjoyed them. Alan was very powerful and kept the set rocking. Igor did an excellent job, however his sound was mixed a little low (at least where I was sitting).
My friend, Garry, summed it up with his comments about the Virginia Beach show: "I must say the show was all about Steve Howe and Chris Squire. John Anderson was clearly in charge, but the show really displayed the talents of Howe and Squire. Those two guys are incredible musicians..." I concur. They all are. We are SO LUCKY that we can still enjoy them live. They are such a part of our lives. I remember saying to myself during the show "I know these people better than some of my family". Think about that.
The highlight of the evening was...well, all the songs really. I must admit I sat through many of the songs with my mouth agape and even shed a tear or two during Soon and Ritual. Ritual...that had to be the one. It was performed perfectly. I never truly believed that I would ever hear that beautiful song again. Magical. I know I cried a little then...it's just such an intense song.
All in all, a wonderful evening among the Friends and Family of Yes, capped by a wonderful beach trip with my wife.
Life is good.
I guess it's passe now but standing out front of the pavillion gates waiting to meet a friend from the chatroom, I only saw a handful of YES shirts. And since I'm sure I was the only one, if anyone noticed a short girl in a white YEStival shirt, that was me.
I'm not as technically educated in music as some so I'm not going to break it down song by song.
Kansas pulled off a killer job!! Walsh's voice is as crystalline as the days of their first album! The bass level was higher than Squire's (as I realized later) which I thought interesting. The setlist was well mixed with new material and old favorites. They never missed a beat on anything, that I could tell (How some people can pick a minor mistake out of a half a bar is beyond me!), and they had the best time playing!! I really enjoyed watching them!
Now for the main course! I could tell from the start that Jon (bless his heart) has had trouble with his voice. But he could still hit the required notes!
Music and equipment was right on target, unless I blinked and missed something else, which was the case when Chris dropped a stick at the beginning of the Ritual percussion sequence (my friend informed me later)!Everything went like clockwork - a little too much like clockwork, actually. There were no real antics, no one-liners from any given member; Chris, Jon, and Igor showed the usual spirit but no real spontaneity like I've seen in the past. But that's OK, they were getting tired by this point, among other developments.
Still, I spent the whole show either going totally crazy yelling or in complete awe - as I have never seen Gates or Ritual live.Overall, a totally natural high from start to finish and I pray for the day I get to see them again!!
Agree with your synopsis.
Had fourth row right in front of Steve. He seemed preoccupied with technical matters in his rig. His guitar roadie kept poking into his rig rack and Steve kept looking over to him most of the night for some reason. I could not detect anything amiss. Certainly could not detect anything in his playing. Awesome
Chris was in fine form.
Igor is nothing less than sensational.
John sounded a little hoarse at first which soon went away.
Alan again proves he is one of the best.
The show was a well balanced blend of material from their golden era. However I miss hearing material from the early years and from their recent works. Guess you can't have it all.
All in all, one of the best out of the 20 or so Yes shows I've seen.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Oceans is speechless and mute. Holy sheep shite Batman! Wow! *Yes* descended upon Raleigh like a tornado and gave the critics and the casual listener a severe flogging on the arse that they will not soon “oh soon” forget. Furthermore, *Yes* flew in like a Japanese Mitsubishi Zero amid flak and anti-aircraft fire and torpedoed the USS Kansas sinking it in the deep abyss of the topographic ocean. All customer expectations were exceeded. It was a stellar performance. Thank you!
OBSERVATIONS & ANALYSIS The Crowd: Oceans estimates that about 17-20 thousand were in attendance. There were a wide variety of people at this show. There were yuppies, Harley-Davidson bikers, professionals, ex-deadheads, alternatives, moms, dads, rug rats, and a few aliens. The mean age was about 30. The oldest person Oceans saw was about 60 years old while the youngest was estimated at 10 or 11 years old. The crowd was well behaved for the most part. There was very little chatter or movement during the songs with an occasional “rebel yell” here and there. Oceans sat in section 2, row J, seat 9 (10th row). He wore a long sleeve white YES t-shirt with the original logo. During “Gates of Delirium,” a security squad was deployed behind Oceans in row K and removed about 5-6 individuals. They were never seen again. Also, Oceans did not see many fans wearing YES shirts. One person asked Oceans what was the YES lineup. Oceans also shared the set-list with surrounding fans. It appeared that many fans were in for a surprise and had no idea what the set list was.
The Goodies: You can buy YES t-shirts with the primitive logo. The original logo was nowhere to be found. Also available is what Oceans calls a YES history book. Others call this a program.
Kansas: Obnoxious is the only word to describe this. You had Grizzly Adams on electric violin and a jack in the box on vocals and keyboard (editor’s note: Oceans wanted to get some sheep sheers and cut off this singer’s white goatee). The other musicians were just there.
The back-drop: The whole sail theme was psychedelic with an assortment of lights and colors creating a kaleidoscope effect. During “Close to the Edge,” the sail back-drop was blue, and the boys looked like they were in a fish tank.
Yes: Jon Anderson wore his usual yellow pajamas complete with rope belt and sash. It reminds Oceans of something Luke Skywalker would probably wear. Anderson’s voice was exceptional. Between vocals, he would bang on an assortment of gongs, cymbals, and toys. It was fun to watch Steve Howe play musical guitars. He switched back and forth and back. Igor Khoroshev played his keyboard with one hand and swatted a cymbal with the other as if trying to kill a gnat. At times, there was a Marilyn Monroe updraft on Igor’s shirt. He must have been standing over a fan. Alan White pounded his drums into submission. Chris Squire frolicked about with his Rickenbacher (side note: Oceans challenges any Darwin-subscribing individual to step forward who proclaims that Chris Squire descended from the ape. Hopefully this puts an end to this simian suggestion once and for all time).
Yes put on a great show in Raleigh Thursday night. There was a big crowd... not packed, but a bigger crowd than for the Talk Tour. There were some rough instances at the sound board early on, and as has been mentioned at other shows, one rough spot in GoD just prior to a change, Igor came in half a beat early, but they all quickly recovered. One other gaffe by the sound guy in Roundabout, and thats it. Overall, a great performance (#7 for me, and the 3rd best...1st on the list is Hampton Va. during the solos tour, and 2nd was Norfolk during Tormato) and those who are still waiting for the show will certainly enjoy it. The guys seem to be having a great time. Kansas' new material is quite good, and their performance was also top shelf. Had the pleasure of meeting Jeff Hunnicutt and his lovely wife, very nice folks. Jeff was wearing a nifty NFTE t-hirt. My brother and I begged him to produce a new run and we promised to buy at least one each. Now, on to Charlotte for Friday night's show. "...the hour approaches..."