Another fabulous venue. It was frustrating that last night’s gig got cancelled, but the fine acoustic and ambience of the Symphony Hall soon made me forget this. I was further back in the stalls than I would have been on 7th February, but the mix from the soundboard was good. This line-up performs well across the range of Yes music, but I’m especially enjoying ‘Hearts’ on this tour. It has won a place in mine, for sure.
Jon Anderson struggled a little at times throughout this concert. He lost his way in ‘And You and I’, taking prompts from the front row, and forgot the name of both ‘Lightning Strikes’ and ‘Face to Face’. He also took a little while to warm up, sounding strained in the opening couple of numbers.
Strong performances all round, that and a couple of miscues apart. Khoroshev, Howe and White were glistening. Quite a few people there had missed out on the previous evening’s show, so it would have been good to have that acknowledged by the band. But they are clearly in a mood to ‘carry on regardless’; which is good in its own way.
Well, it finally happened. After the first Birmingham show was cancelled, after I came all of these miles (for a mere single concert), after giving up 5th row center (in front of Chris and Jon) for the nosebleed of the hall (they called it 3rd tier - it felt like 5th!), this Yes princess was struggling . . .
But I have to thank all of you who helped it to happen, who hosted me, who gave me rides and other support to make sure I could do this. You all know who you are, and howe you have helped me, and I'm grateful - because in spite of it all, things have turned out incredibly.
So here I am up in the nosebleed (the gods, my companion called them) - I can't even see the screen behind the band, because I'm looking down through the lighting racks.
REVIEW . . . . . . .
I haven't written a review in months - so I apologize if I say things I've said in other reviews. Since it's been SOOOOO long (see? I >am< a spoilt Yes Princess) I had to write this fresh, as though I've never seen Yes before..
The sound in the hall was very quiet. As we filtered in (I nearly had a heart attack climbing the stairs to the tier!), I couldn't really hear the ambient music to determine whether or not it was the same they played in the States. I was beginning to be concerned that I wouldn't even hear the Firebird. I kept thinking I was hearing the first note, but finally, it came on, and they boosted the sound (though my companion complained that the entire show was "too quiet" as though it were behind a wall of glass that the sound couldn't get over), and the hall went mad.
We looked down at where we >would< have been sitting and groaned. I was still seething from the loss of my Row C seat - that seat which I flew across the Atlantic for - would I have come this far if I'd known I'd be up in "the gods?"
During the Firebird, I noticed for the first time Jon playing gong to emphasize it, brass it up, bring it up - and I wondered exactly what else the band was contributing to the swell just before YIND began.
YIND is a beautiful beginning to the concert! Jon's starting vocals were very rough. I was wondering if he was okay, I've not heard him start this rough before. He was wearing a teal fingerless glove on his tambourine hand. The sound in the hall was INCREDIBLE! (I lack superlatives for this!) Crisp and clear, but full and rich as well. On YIND, on the album, I cherish Bill's performance - but live, I've gotten accustomed to Alan's playing, and enjoyed his contribution.
Jon's voice started to clear up as he sang his brief snip of TAAW. He looked haggard, as if he wasn't really ready to be here on the stage.
HOMEWORLD. OMG. OMG. OMG. This is fast becoming one of my favourite live songs. Igor brought in highlights, Alan kicked and jammed, Billy, hey! Chris, too - sheesh, this song is GREAT live! >HOWE< can they play an album tune NOTE for NOTE and yet bring to life, make it so passionate? Jon's voice had loosened up and was sweet by the ending, "Truth."
The audience wasn't nearly as rowdy as I'm used to. They shouted some after songs, but they weren't as raucous as even Cincinnati (one of the quieter show I went to). There was very little movement until the very end. Howe ever, the ability to hear a pin drop during the songs is incredible.
Perpetual Change - you've heard me praise Igor before, well, you'll hear it again. Igor adds sparkles. His sparkles just before "I see the coldness." were melodic, bright, beautiful, and quite wonderful. Alas, I miss Bill on this tune, but . . . (my notes mutter something about Jon's tambourine but I didn't mutter clearly enough). Billy added nicely to the crescendo in the middle, and Chris - all I can say about Chris is POWER. Power. Power. Wow. There's always a point in there that I get lost in the rhythms, I can't keep track of what's going on, it becomes so overwhelming, and wow.
Jon announced Lightning Strikes as
B'ham Symphony Hall rocked for sure. 'Awaken' & 'Yours Is.....' the best for me. 'And You and I' excellent, despite....ahem.....Jon's request to the fans, "Er...can you help me out with the words?.....' Could have done without 'The Messenger' - otherwise, the set stood up beautifully.
PS. B'ham. Evening Mail gave it a brilliant review. Something of a shock.
Well, after the major disappointment of the previous night being cancelled, we finally got Yes in Brum.
Note-worthies: Great backdrops of Homeworld the game and the band through the ages.
Jon forgetting where he was in AY&I, and getting the crowd stage-left to prompt him (and a tap on the shoulder from Chris)
Jon introducing one of the new songs, dithering over the title because he couldn't remember what it was (and Chris leaning over and saying "It's still called Face To Face").
Steve looking unhappy during OOAOP.
Chris being announced as a father of a 2 day old.
Personal opinions: It felt like a short set (just over 2 hours) which was a disappointment after the wonders of the OYE tour. Also, the set didn't seem to flow (apart from the closing 3 numbers of the set) - but I would think this will improve as the tour progresses, and the band tighten up after their Christmas break (certainly YIND seemed to go on a bit)
New songs worked extremely well in concert.
Hearts was the best version I have seen (Steve's embellishments were marvellous)
Awaken was marvellous (and should have closed the set)
Cinema was played perfectly by Billy (no complaints)
Personal disappointments: No mention of the previous night's cancellation by the band at all.
No CTTE (still not played in UK since the seventies)
No SK as opener (my personal favourite opener).
Travelled down from Teesside last night to find Birmingham windswept and icy - but worth every mile! We hadn't seen Yes since Koroschev was first drafted in as an emergency replacement for RW - he was a bit lost back then but he's well & truly tuned in now (no pun intended). We took our 15 yr old daughter and a friend - and they loved it!! As ever, Yes were simply brilliant!
The set contained a surprising no of old favourites and these, along with more recent stuff, were played with the consummate ease and virtuosity every Yes fan has come to enjoy. Calls for personal favourites rang our at the end, during an encore whose length I felt had something to do with Monday night's dissapointing cancellation. With so much amazing material to choose from, I wonder how the band decides what to play at all?
I remember seeing them at Wembley Arena in the year dot, and doing a Rick Wakeman crossword in th programme; one clue was, "Hopefully, what all Yes music is?" The answer was 'Interesting'. I can think of a few more adjectives to describe it, many of them superlatives, but I think I know what he meant by that. JA commented on the last 30 years, and how they were happy to see that the fans had stuck with them. I wonder how he'd feel if he knew that our teenage daughter wants them to go on for another?
Yes music has been part of our lives for as long as we can remember, and I certainly rely on it to lift me when I need it. So, thank you lads.
PS A current Yes chat room thread muses over Billy Sherwood, whose presence quite simply seems superfluous in a band of such eclectic talent. I may have the answer - the two girls with us (and my wife, ha!) were drooling! Tcha! And I thought it was the music that did that...
Just got back from this superb show! Lots of fun, they really let go right from the start with different instrumental bits in YIND for example. Its a great little venue. Changed set list from Dublin slightly from what is posted.....
No 'To Be Alive', but inc 'Cinema' and' All Good People' Jon couldnt remember the names of the new songs and forgot his words on And You And I ! Steve and Alan were on particularly good form.