Friday, August 4, 2000
Riverbend Music Center Amphitheatre
22 years, 7 months and 16 days ago
Racin'' Tracy Doyle
I first saw Yes in 1976, here in Cincinnati, and that concert changed my life.
So *blown away* by that show that I'm a Yes fanatic to this day.
I had seen them in concert several times over the years, but always came away somewhat dissapointed that they did'nt play the epic Yes songs - their best songs, and my favorites.
Now I am at peace with myself, as the Masterworks show was my dream come true....
My Wife Lisa & I went, she loves Yes too - and we have never been to a show that touched us so much.
Hearing CTTE, Gates of Delerium, and then Ritual - this was something I thought I'd never experience. It was as near to a religious experience as can be.
Lisa said it best without saying a word - I looked over at her during Ritual, and tears were streaming down her face.
And then, of course I shed my own tears of joy....
We were sitting up-close (4th row in the Pit), and I remember glancing periodically over my shoulder to see how the crowd was filling in -- and saw that it wasn't! The opening act cleared off around 8, and Yes was on shortly thereafter. At 8:00, I was thinking to myself, wow, this is going to be sparse!
However, looking over my shoulder after CTTE, I was amazed! Looked like the pavilion was packed, and reports from the lawn indicate that it was pretty crowded back there as well.
Odd, eh? WEBN usually never (well, always never) plays Yes in any shape or form, and that redneck bumpkin Mojo Nixon always goes off about how much he hates Yes, Genesis, Floyd, etc. WOFX rarely branches out beyond "Roundabout" or "All Good People" -- someone pointed out that they played "Starship Trooper," which I find amazing, frankly!
So, all in all, I dunno what went on, exactly. I *do* know that at least some folks still expected to see Kansas, so maybe that explains at least some of it. The idiotic Cincinnati Enquirer still reported (on August 3) that Yes *and* Kansas would be playing Riverbend on the 4th. I heard one guy say as he stormed angrily past me while the opener was going on, "We ARE going to see Kansas, one way or another!" I snickered. There were certainly some "types" in the crowd, that's for sure!
Speaking of the Enquirer, did anyone see a concert review either in the paper or online? Yes received two *very* positive reviews for their past two shows in Cincinnati (November 1999 @ Taft Theater, and July 1998 @ Riverbend), but I saw no mention of the August 4th show this time.
I'd like to see the attendance figures for the show, for sure! From what I saw, it looked more packed than the Roger Waters show in July.
To be honest, this show did not compare to the Nashville (Amsouth) gig on July 29th. Don't get me wrong though, this concert still was a great YES show. It is just that at Amsouth the sound was so crisper and the band seemed to have more fluidity. I get bored giving a play by play of the concert and instead like to bring up other details.
First off, Igor's keyboards were barely in the mix. It is such a shame that he doesn't get the same sort of sound attention that Rick Wakeman would receive. What really bothers me the most is why can't Steve have a concert where he doesn't have a problem with one of his guitars? This is a professional show and the roadies should be able to do their jobs without a hitch. Also there was a lot of feedback which disrupted the sound even more. I really try not to be critical but when things keep happening over and over again, I have to bring it up.
There were tons of people in the lawn and the pavilion wasn't filled up. So people were trying to get into the pavilion. There were a bunch of people who tried to sit in front of me and were booted out of their seats since they had lawn tickets and not pavilion seats. This ruckus resulted in a lot of people including me to miss quite a few moments of the concert.
I felt Chris was just going through the motions. He still sounded great by his fan fare wasn't as active as it usually is. If anybody was on it was Alan. He was so sharp and his timing so good, that I watched him for the majority of the show. Seeing a drummer of his caliber beating the skins is really a sight to see. He really locked on in Gates and tore up Ritual. Steve was fantastic as usual but I could have used more of his guitar than so much of Squire's bass. It seemed the bass overpowered a lot of the more intricate sounds that only YES can create.
All in all I rate the show as a mediocre/good YES gig but a great concert overall. Though it didn't have the power of the Nashville concert, it is always such a thrill to see YES live. I guess I was spoiled by the Nashville show. Nobody, and I mean no one, plays like YES. No one commands their instruments like the YES guys. There is not one bad YES musician and I don't give a shit who is in the band at the time: I will always do whatever it takes to see them in concert. I left the show energized yet saddened that another tour had come to a close and another chapter in my personal YES book had ended.
These guys deserve another resounding applause. And when that next tour begins, I will go to the ends of the earth to see them wherever I can.
just got back from Riverbend. Some brief comments.
The atmosphere surrounding this show was just a tad surreal. First off, of course, the whole thing was supposed to happen about a month ago, but due to Jon's illness was appended to the end of the tour. Second, Kansas was not the opening act--instead, an acoustic singer-songwriter duo (don't know the name, but more on them later) warmed up the crowd.
I figured that, given these circumstances, the show would be very sparsely attended--so when my plans to see Jethro Tull in Dayton fell through, I decided to drive down and grab a lawn seat, put my feet up, and enjoy some Yes masterworks. Well, I get to Riverbend and the place is a fucking zoo. Thousands of people everywhere. The entire Riverbend lot is full. Most of the River Downs lot is also full. I parked fully a quarter mile from the venue, a rarity at Riverbend where parking is plentiful. As I'm walking in, I realized that, in fact, all these people were there not to go to the racetrack or Coney Island, but to see Yes. I was handed a free lawn seat on my way in (which explained the gigantic crowd--I'd say 10,000 would be a conservative estimate) and was startled to see that the entire lawn was packed fully 45 minutes before Yes started. Having come alone, I worked my way down to the front of the lawn and sat down next to a large family's blanket. Soon I picked up from snippets of conversation that they were the family of the singer in the opening act. After he finished ,he came out and spoke with his mom and some others. Most of the family (including small children and the singer's parents) left at that point. One of the men there handed me a pavilion ticket stub and so all of a sudden I find myself right in front of Squire, 15th row. FOR FREE.
The show itself was superb. Far more astute and appropriate statements have been made by others here on the newsgroup--Sullivan, et al--so I'll just say that this current quintet really has a lot of balls and power onstage. The subtraction of Sherwood from the mix seems to have spurred everyone on to more focussed performances. And it seemed like everyone was having a good time. Steve Howe's intense onstage persona was actually absent for a good portion of the night--he smiled often and played to the crowd on his side of the stage. Igor was great, as were Jon and Alan, but it was Squire who really took things to another level--dominating the mix and the play, regulating tempo, and driving "Ritual" into feverish overdrive, a tumultuous ten minutes of absolute power--the live equivalent of the freight train that is the studio opening to HOTS.
For me the highlights were "Ritual" and "Gates". "Ritual" in particular was fantastic. I will need to hear a tape, but my feeling was that it even trumps Jersey City '76 (ducks), the way they play it on this tour. All things considered, it's perhaps the most dramatic piece of Yes music (not melodramatic like "Awaken") and was performed extremely well--a stately, unhurried pace during the vocal parts, gradually edging faster during the bass solos, before exploding into the stop-time segments lifted from "The Ancient." Of particular notice was the reprise of the "Revealing" theme durign the "life seems like a fight" segment--Igor's keyboards blasted through the mix and it was a truly powerful moment.
None of the other performances were quite that revelatory--but "Gates", "CTTE" and "Starship Trooper" were extremely solid.
Two final notes.
1. I was afraid of train-wreck potential when I saw how large and varied the crowd was--most got in free, most were probably not Yes fans and likely would not be familiar with the lion's share of the set. But much to my surprise there was great acclaim from the lawn for each piece of music, and raves from people walkign to their cars afterwords. I figure that this was because of the emphasis on this tour on 'heavy' material--something that the WEBN fans weaned