An awesome night! This was my first Yes concert. I was about 13 then, and I was just getting into them after I heard the albums, CLOSE TO THE EDGE, FRAGILE, RELAYER, TORMATO, YES ALBUM, and TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS. My Dad asked if I wanted to go, and my first words were "HELL YEAH".
Kansas opened, and what a dissapointing act too. The sounded too muffled, and boring. Oh well, at least the Yes part of the concert made up for the beginning crap.
I believe the set list was this: CLOSE TO THE EDGE STARSHIP TROOPER GATES OF DELIRIUM LEAVES OF GREEN HEART OF THE SUNRISE RITUAL I'VE SEEN ALL GOOD PEOPLE ROUNDABOUT
The concert kicked major butt!CTTE rocked, and so did R, ST, GOD, HOTS, and ofcourse Roundabout(My favorite YES song in the whole fricking world).
That was one fricking concert I will never forget.
This was my sixth YES show. My first had been more than 12 years prior, plus I had seen ABWH and Earthworks. By far this was my least favorite show.
It was great to hear Ritual and Gates of Delerium (I had never seen either live), but I would have liked to have heard something outside of a four-year period in the early 70s! Koroshev was great (as he was on the prior tour), but I missed Sherwood. "Close to the Edge" (my personal favorite YES song) was also excellent, but for me the highlight was "Leaves of Green" from the Ancient.
I left disappointed. I later saw them twice on their 2002 US tour, and the shows were much more entertaining.
Kansas opened, and they were better than I thought they'd be. I even heard a new song I would up liking--"Icarus II."
At the Phoenix show, [Steve Howe] had a problem with the [Les Paul Jr. at the beginning of [Ritual] and played the Les Paul Roland guitar-synth until his roadie fixed it - he returned to the Jr. after the drum solo.
In Phoenix, Jon did the unbelieveable, he went UP for "seasons will PASS you by, I get UP, I down down..." unlike I've ever heard live or recorded. It was wonderful (full story later) So, he can hit the high notes....
By Phoenix, I had traded to my Tales tee shirt (lotsa compliments, I suggest the tales tee to everyone), and stood for a few seconds longer at the start then everyone else. Jon saw the Tales shirt and pointed at me and smiled! After CTTE, the crowd was going nuts. I hollered "Igor! Yow!" and he heard it, nodded very stiffly Russian and hit the cowbell once. Then Jon caught my eye, and just then someone moved their head between us. Jon leaned way over to the side, caught my eye AGAIN, and raised his eyebrows, like "Good enough for ya?" (Of course, this was CTTE perfection, and he knew it) My arms were already raised so I gave him a gesture like, "Perfection, Jon, perfection" His face lit up, he smiled, then closed his eyes for a moment, crossed his hands over his heart then raised them to his forehead, opened his eyes and looked at me one last time. He had personally told me "Thank you and bless you" I know this sounds like a lunatic fringe type of thing, but it *did* happen and I was floored. After that he went to on others and didn't get back around to me until Ritual (before the crash) He must have seen me singing, what with my tales shirt and all, and looked me straight in the eye and we sang "We receive what we venture to give" to each other. It was very magical.
So after all this, I couldn't just leave. Marla had a line on where the band was going to emerge, and off we went, about five Yesheads Yes hunting. Finally we reached a point where we could see the stage door from the street, but we had no backstage passes at this point. Igor came out and hung with the backstage people while we watched from a distance. Then Steve came out, and Marla, Brian and I raced to the gate, just in time. Steve stopped his car and lowered the window, and I got to meet him and have him sign the cover of the tourbook. I told him how much I liked the new CDROM. Some burly guy came up and wanted to shake his hand, and Steve said, "I can't shake a big hand like that." and everyone laughed. The three of us got his autograph, then he took off. We were elated.
We waited another 30 minutes or so, and then someone came out and gave us backstage passes. However, by now the guard knew who we were and wouldn't let us in unescorted. He was real nice, the security on this tour is *very* tight. Just as we were getting an escort, a red van came out of the gate, slams to a halt, and the door bursts open, with Igor holding his arms wide. "I am here for you!" he exclaimed. As we approached the van, we saw it contained everyone else!!!
By now there were only four os us left, so they all (except Chris, who appeared pissed and refused) signed our tourbooks. Igor signed mine first, and sat there like well now what, and almost handed it back. But Jon, clearly recognizing me (or my shirt) yanked my tourbook and pen from Igor, and said "No, give that here" and immediately signed it, and handed it back to Alan. We told them it was a great show, and whoever caught the drums deserved a "double". I got to tell Igor I got Piano Works the first day and he was pretty impressed (or at least as much as he could be with two beautiful females wrapped around him - hahaha). I told him I thought he was the 21st Century Stavinsky. Alan stayed low and didn;t say much, he was still pissed about the drums, I think.
Then, Jon and Igor said together, hop on in, and the driver got out and opened the van for us to jump in. Someone said, "well, they have cars" and JOn said oh. Then he and Igor again together said, "We're stayin at the the Ritz-Carlton, come on over". Shortly thereafter, the doors closed and off they went.
The four of took off after this invitation, but the hotel was much farther than I thought. About halfway there, I aborted, as I had an early business meeting (this was a "composite" trip for me, comprising Yes, a consulting job, and a visit to my Mom) Marla and Brian continued on. I would have even with the meeting, except we were so
Having seen Yes, in one incarnation or another, nearly 30 times over 17 years, I'd have to say this was as tight a show as I have seen in many, many years. Seems like most of the bugs, I have read about here, have been worked out during the first few shows, sans a hiccup in Heart of the Sunrise in all places - though I could be wrong. The set list remained the same as it has been, but time allowed for them to put in All Good People. Jon even mentioned specifically that they had time to fill. The flow of the set was very smooth and built well from CttE through Trooper and exploded with Gates. The show settled a little with the bit of the Ancient, but it gave the rest of the band a chance to catch a breather before getting back to it with Sunrise. Seemed like a lot of the crowd didn't know Ritual as it got started, but got into it as the song built. Trooper got a much better response than CttE, but I was guessing that much of the crowd (perhaps as much as 50-60%) didn't know all the epic pieces and were expecting more of a mix of songs.
Highlight - Gates & Ritual. Chris in Ritual, Igor note for note in Gates, Steve & Chris back and forth in Heart of the Sunrise and Alan going nuts on the drums in Ritual while his set was partially falling on him (see below).
Overall the band played great, the sound mix was right and it seemed like they were having a genuine good time. Igor looked like he was now really part of the band, verses the last couple of tours where I always felt it looked like he was playing for his job. Chris looked in the best shape I have seen him in since the Union tour, and might have played as good as I have ever seen him play. Steve, Alan and Jon were as rock solid as always. The lighting and staging fit well with the music, especially during Gates and Chris' solo during Ritual - the red strobe was an excellent effect. Kansas did a nice job opening, I have seen them a few times in the past - here and there - and this was as good as I can remember them playing, though I am not a huge Kansas fan. The crowd was par for Yes in this venue - the upper side sections were not sold at all and the lawn crowd was more sparse than I would have thought, then again, Phoenix is a pretty quit place in general - let alone on a Sunday night.
One interesting note - the left side of Alan's set (Alan's right) started to collapse leading into the rhythm section of Ritual. It was everything one tech/roadie could do to keep it from falling into Alan & creating an huge seen. With about 8 minutes left in the song, Alan was able to avoid that side of the kit until the rhythm section was complete and it was nearly fixed. They were still working on it as Jon came out to start All Good People.
In conclusion, don't miss the show. It was a fantastic time. One complaints I heard were from newer fans and people that were along for the ride, saying the wanted to see more newer material.