Having seen Yes in Cardiff only two weeks before, there were some amazing differences in my appreciation of this concert!
General admission!!!!!! I turned up at 6.45pm and got to sit in the front row directly in front of Steve. I loved it there!!!! In Cardiff I was row 11 centre, where I could appreciate the whole thing in perfect sight and sound but a little detached from the experience none the less.
The price! 32.50 pounds in Cardiff, about 16 pounds for Belgium! HALF the price!!!!!!!
In Cardiff I appreciated the music the best, in Belgium I got to rush the satge and go bonkers!!!!!!! I hope I can see the band agin in both ways next time.
From close up you can see much more of the band dynamic. You read so much here about who is getting on with who etc. Most of the stuff put about here is complete rubbish. There was an incredible band dynamic.
From even 11 rows back Billy Sherwood fades into the background. From the front you can see exactly how much he is putting in. Sure, Steve can play classic yes without him, but he is completely integral to the new material and his backing vocals are impecable. Billy is right up there with the rest of them as far as I'm concerned. Yes music is back to being now music (unlike the OYE tour). Is the difference between OYE and the Ladder the fact that OYE was a Billy Sherwood-lead album and the Ladder a albulm with Sherwood as one of the team! I admire and appreciate the role he is playing in the band at this moment in time.
Much younger audience in Belgium. Many more people.........
Some yob shouted out 'Play Mood for a Day for me Steve' during his intro to And You and I. Incredibly he did at the end (I was expecting Clap). But he fluffed one line - he stopped entirely. But he smiled and went back. I was suprised not to be embarassed at this because he would react badly, but he took it in good humour and when he got back to the offending bar he played it very slowly and deliberately with an enormous smile and a little laugh when he made it through. From what you guys write about him I would have expected him to have committed suicide at such an obvious error, but he was completely cool about the whole thing. I enjoyed his performance of that piece very much.
One question - was Igor playing with as much confidence and verve when they reorded the Vegas Show on HDTV? If so I want a copy now. I expect he will one day learn he doesn't have to try to play more notes that Rick, but he is a fantastic find for the band and I wouldn't mind if I never saw Rick play keys in Yes again (even though he's still my all time top keyboard guy - see you on 26th March Rick!!!).
Two concerts, two completely different experiences. I'm glad I was at both.............
Met some nice Japanese people - Hi!!!!
So, 26 years after our very first Yes concert, my brother and I accompanied by our wives, went to the Brussels concert. Since we are all big fans of Yes for almost 30 years, we had high hopes for this concert. The sound was pretty good ( a bit overdone at times) and the band played with a lot of enthusiasm, like they were 20 years younger. Overall they performed very well and they lived up to our expectations. I particularly liked the Forest/Vorst National venue because of its intimacy. The theater is capable of housing 8000 people but because of its round shape looks much smaller. Much better than the Ahoy hal in Rotterdam, which imho is an acoustical disaster. The band members were all in good spirit and were communicating with each other during the entire concert. No signs of running on auto-pilot that's for sure! I noticed that Chris interacted with Billy alot, while Igor did the same with Alan. As for Jon and Steve I would say that it was just like 26 years ago: they are a team and always will be.
The 'old ' songs were played like we expected them to be played and I still think that it is a blessing to hear a band perform live just like they perform on their recordings. Granted, a few minor mistakes were made but hey, that is to be expected during a live performance. We have seen other bands go down big-time, because they weren't capable of performing even close to the edge ( pun intended) of their recordings, which were polished and dubbed and edited in so many ways that you wouldn't believe it. The new songs are different from the 'old' stuff but they also show that Yes is still capable of translating their musical ideas into an innovative 'modern-day' stile. It all sounded very familiar but not like they are stuck in the past, like so many other bands and that is okay, even if that means that they are making music, that is not going to be liked by every ('old' stuff) fan. That could also be the reason why there were quite a few younger visitors present, who never saw and heard Yes play live in the 70's. We noticed that the band seemed to enjoy themselves at least just as much or more playing these songs, as they did playing the 'old' stuff.
As to the individual performances, we must say that we particularly liked the way in which Igor and Billy were trying their best to fit in the band concept. Igor has definitely got his own style( which we all liked) but manages to blend it perfectly with the typical Rick Wakeman sound when performing the 'old' stuff, so we never felt the need to adjust. Once again it all sounded very familiar and we liked that. Igor did show that he is somewhat of a 'clown' who likes to have fun during the concert. At one time I saw him using a tambourine with long ribbons attached to it, trying to 'hit' Jon with it, who was standing within range. After a few attempts he succeeded and they both had a good laugh!
And Billy has shown, at least to us, that he is capable of playing the guitar in a way that really fits into the Yes style. He made some nice solos but only in the 'newer' songs and I guess he's going to continue doing that as long as Steve is in the band to perform the solos of the 'old' stuff. We found Billy's style of playing somewhat aggressive but controlled at the same time, kind of like Chris' style of playing. He seemed to get along well with Chris and they were constantly revving each other up to reach even greater heights. We can easily picture him in the future of Yes.
Jon was singing like Jon, though we all sensed that he was not 100% okay. He seemed not to be able to get the most out of his voice, but still left us with cold shivers running down our spine. Since they are on tour for quite some time now, my guess is that his voice might have been suffering from fatigue, or maybe he's finally getting to the point in his life where it takes more to reach the very high notes night after night. Either way he's forgiven, because Jon too is only human an
I was with my wife (also a Yes fan, how lucky can you be) at the Brussels concert yesterday and basically loved it. Vorst-Nationaal, a really nice venue, was nearly completely filled (much more people than OYE in 97) and since i was late i had to sit on the stairs.
The average age of the fans was lower than i expected, a lot of twentiers and 'thirty something'. The oldest fans i noticed could have been grand parents (i'm 43).
After the obligatory firebird overture, they opened with 'yours is no disgrace':great, followed by 'perpetual change' : beautiful, classic Yes. 'Homeworld' presents itself well live, it's an impressive song. I had the impression that Jon's voice had a fatigue problem, though.
'It'll be a good day' and 'lightning strikes' are well played popsongs, but not really Yes stuff in my opinion (hey, if i want celine dion or gloria estafan i'll go to their concerts).
'The messenger' is OK but, again: weaker material than the classic stuff (IMO). Jon dedicated that song to Bob Marley btw.
'And you and I' & 'Awaken' were the top of the concert, an orgasm of music. Those songs really carried me away. Igor Koreshenko is a very talented keyboardist and an worthy replacement for Rick Wakeman. Igor has a less baroque style than RW, more essential, certainly not less virtuoso... I love him... Jon also mentioned" who would have thought, nearly thirty years ago that we would still be doing this this song(AYAI), in the year 2000. Woooow..." Jon surely has a profound feeling for these things, he's a poet.
Jon did a few lines of 'ritual' for his wife. Let's forgive him for that, because without Jon there would be no Yes. Jon is the personality of the band, the trademark.
Squire was as always jumping like a bull and enthusiastic, a real rock animal. Plays the most difficult bars without effort seemingly....
Steve Howe, quiet, timid and even shy was maneuvering all of his guitars (it was impressive to see the crew change the guitars so often) to produce the most incredible sound. Steve is IMO among the very best in the world and he could tour with Mc Laughlin, di Lucia and di Meola. He did 'Mood for a day' solo. One remark on that: i don't know whether Steve willingly added a phase change, in the middle of that song, or was he in trouble and had to restart?
Billy Sherwood was pretty much absent most of the time, except when 'Hearts' (i think that's OYE?) was played, a pretty strong song that performs very well live. Billy is obviously not part of the operational core of Yes...
Alan White is an impressive drummer which he demonstrated extensively. I had the impression that his moment of glory was 'Owner of a lonely heart'.
Jon made everybody stand up for 'face to face', which i found totally uncalled for, because this is a again a 'midlle of the road popsong'. He got what he asked for, the song had no 'arousal effect' on the public, mostly classic Yes fans.(which one could judge from the standing ovations and the enthusiasm for the classics...
Encores were: 'Owner of a lonely heart', Roundabout, and 'i've seen all good people'