Last night I attended the gig at Cardiff's (Wales) International Arena, Wow!
Absolutely brill stuff.
The set contained tracks from many past albums, for example The Clap, Perpetual Change, I've Seen All Good People & Your's Is No Disgrace from the Yes album (1970), Hearts & Cinema from 90125, Numerous new song from 'Ladder', Roundabout, 'Fragile' to name but a few. This was not just a fantastic evenings entertainment but a jouney to past YES music and ideals, from what at some times seem distant memories, yet still as fresh as when the songs saw the light of day in the early seventies. God I was like a teenager again. Talking of teenagers, there were many in the audiance joining in the merryment. When the intro for 'And You & I' began the auditorium errupted into a frenzy of delight, with silence until the set had finished, then a standing ovation for this retrospective delight. Steve played with such commitment as usual, his fantastic guitar playing still haunts me every time I hear him. Alan, reputedly the best percussionist in the World, still. Chris, well what can you say about this beautiful man, absolutely fantastic. Igor, well you would still think that Rick was still part of the line up, except he has his own imitative style that blends exceptionately well with the band. Billy, just bloody fantastic as usual, smiler I call him, always with a wide grin on his face. I leave Jon til last because what can you say about the most fantastic man that ever walked this earth, and I mean this most sincerely.
After the show, I waited back stage for what I was hoping was a further glimps of the band. One by one they appeared from the back stage door. Steve first, jumped into a car and drove to the gates where a few die hards like myself were waiting. The chauffer stoped the car and Steve began to sign autographs, this at midnight. He was closely followed by Jon and Igor. Jon refused to sign autographs until he had shaken hands with all. Jon is truly a fantastic person. Chris, Alan & Billy followed shortly after, all of whom took time to personally thank the fans and sign autographs.
This was a delight to behold, to be able to watch the band perform and later to meet all.
I have been a YES fan since 1973, 27 years of sheer pleasure, and I hope, God willing, that they will continue for many years to come.
I was at the concert at Cardiff last night as well - first Yes concert since Leeds Town Hall in 1971! Had a really good time - lots of old favourites, lots from The Ladder, and a few I hadn't heard before (lost touch during the 80s and 90s, but steadily catching up). Took my wife, who had never been to a rock concert before and who was a little apprehensive - her usual tastes are classical, piano and choral music. She was delighted and enjoyed the whole experience, dancing, clapping and cheering with the rest.
For those interested, setlist was as follows:
Lightning Strikes - much more light and rhythmic than the CD version, almost a different song, but none the worse for that
As a finale, Steve came back on stage and did an energetic rendition of The Clap, which really got the audience going - the only people not dancing were already dead. Followed by Owner Of A Lonely Heart (hadn't heard this before, glad I have now) and a stupendous Roundabout, then a bluesy-style Thank You Cardiff.
What a night. Two of the best moments were (I imagine) fillers to allow instrument changes or breathers for the rest of the band. Just Jon and Igor, playing short excerpts from Time And A Word and later Nous Sommes Du Soleil. Very quiet and simple, but unforgettable moments. Best of all was the wonderfully happy atmosphere in the hall and on stage. The band seemed to really enjoy the whole evening. Superb lighting and effects.
I agree that the sound level was a lot quieter than I expected (last time I saw Yes in the 70s it was ear-splitting). This may not be a bad thing from a Health And Safety point of view - I now have significantly reduced hearing from all the loud concerts I went to in the early 70s - but I did feel that something was missing. The sound quality was excellent, and the emphasis seemed to be on melody and harmony rather than raw noise, but if I had a complaint at all it would be a slight lack of "guts" - I didn't get the sledgehammer pounding in the chest feeling which is part of the Yes thing for me, at least for some of the time in some of the songs.
I bought the obligatory T-shirt and three "Yes" square stickers - one to adorn the Land Rover and two spare because "we may not pass this way again". This morning I found that one sticker had already been stolen by the household's latest Yes fan and had been stuck to the front of her diary. If you knew my wife and her previous attitude to "noisy pop music" you would know that this is really something.
Now for those remaining gaps in my CD collection...
I think this just proves that even with the advances in audio technology over the last few decades, it is still not possible for a travelling PA rig to provide even, distibuted sound over a whole venue - even a relatively small one like the CIA. I was in row 30, more or less centre stage and for me (and 2 friends agreed) the mix was very bass heavy, vocals in the background and Steve Howe very often barely audible. By the encores it had become a loud, indistinct mush. For me, the show looked much better than it sounded and even though I've been a fan for 30 years I left very disappointed and probably won't bother to go next time. Yes, I will, 'course I will but I'll want to sit closer and off to one side in front of the PA.
I was at Cardiff last night. It was a fabulous show. My main comment was going to be (short of the obvious fact that it was brilliant)that the volume was great. 2 years ago I sat at the back and came out with a sore head. This time I bought tickets in row 11 and took ear plugs just in case! It was wonderful to hear the music so clearly and painlessly - just how Yes music sounds in my head (not in my stereo). So, Roger, I dissagree 100 percent. I suspect that the volume issue may well come from the band - how can your ears take that much noise for 30 years???? Anyway, I was very happy. I had not been so close to Yes since the ABWH Wembley gig (which I also left with a sore head).
Last night's show was relaxed, but tight. The combination of songs was excellent (if exactly as expected from the ng). I took my wife who is well used to Yes music and likes it a lot, and two Yes novices who left the hall converted and rather blown away by the scale of the whole thing. This can only be good news for a band.
The most significant thing was it didn't feel like a 'reunion show' like the OYE thing, same old songs. It felt like a working band with a past and a future. The whole band were really into it and playing superbly. The vocal harmonies were so tight and intune it was unreal. Awaken was mindblowing.............
I wish I could see Yes in London, but I'm in Belgium the next couple of weeks. Perhaps I can find some tickets for Brussels????????
I went to the show on Friday night at CIA (I was a refugee from the cancelled show at Birmingham Symphony Hall last Monday). I think it is the most relaxed I have ever seen Yes play, but not the best show I have ever seen them produce (for the shows that I personally have seen, that accolade has to go to 'seating in the round' at the N.E.C. a few years ago). The music at the CIA and the balance of songs within the set I felt was spot-on, along with the quality of the sound. The only complaint I would have made would have been about the volume of the whole thing. It was, to say the least, a little on the quiet side. Don't get me wrong, I'm not some sort of metal head who's not happy if he leaves a concert hall without bleeding ears, but it was easy to hold a conversation above the music (and hear other people's conversations too). When Jon was introducing songs, even when the audience was hushed, he was difficult to hear (I was 26 rows back from the stage on the right hand side of the arena floor). The lack of volume for me removed some of the solidity of Yes music and reduced the impact. I was wondering if this has been the case at other venues so far? Or is it some sort of rule imposed on CIA by Cardiff City Council for the protection of everyone's hearing?