22 years, 11 months ago
Wednesday, June 28, 2000
previously someone said the place was "packed." Actually the Fillmore was rather empty that night. Disappointingly so. Over half of the floor space was empty. My estimate would be a crowd of no more than 2000 in a place that holds 3500.
but still the show was awesome, except for the obligatory chatter from people in the crowd during "Soon" part of gates.
This was the second concert I'd seen at the Fillmore - the first had only been a month and a half earlier, when I'd seen Bob Dylan and his band. From this earlier experience, I knew that if I showed up early enough, I would have a shot at standing front row center, right next to the stage, as the Fillmore is mostly general admission/standing room only seating. I stood in line all day - I think I was seventh or eighth in line, and when they opened the doors, my friends and I made the mad rush for the stage. We ended up center, one person between me and the stage - Jon Anderson was just feet from me the entire concert. In fact, the stage isn't particularly big - I could clearly see all five members, and hear everything from the stage.
BUT, that was only after having stood outside all day in the summer heat, then standing through the entirety of Kansas' set (I'm not a fan, but, it was OK), standing through the entire intermission, then standing through the entire Yes set - not to mention, there was virtually no room to move. I was crammed in with hundreds of other fans - I couldn't so much as take a step in any direction. I mention this because, ultimately, this had an impact on my reaction to the concert. The Fillmore is a miserable venue - the sound is terrible. The only seats are located on the sides, where the acoustics are so bad, that casual conversations from the floor overwhelm the music coming from the stage, not to mention that many of the seats are obstructed. To stand in front of the stage for about three and a half hours, not being able to move, lean, or even squat, totally sucked! I was 29 years old at that show - but, man, was my back killing me by the end! I couldn't even feel my legs!
At the time of the show, I was totally jazzed by the setlist, but, in retrospect, it doesn't rank amongst my favorite Yes concerts. Igor was great - I loved his enthusiasm - but, frankly, I did not like his keyboard sounds on 'Gates of Delirium.' The overall performance was good, but, not particularly inspired - I felt like all of the guys were concentrating very hard on what they were doing, draining the heart from the music in the process. The highlight was almost certainly 'Ritual' - as stupid as I think drum solos are, the drum assault by Alan, Jon, Chris and Igor was awesome! This was the one point in the show where it felt like the guys finally were INTO it - and, tellingly, Howe was off-stage.
Maybe it was the difficulty of the material, maybe it was the shabbiness of the venue - I don't know. But, writing this a few years after the fact, and having seen the Symphonic tour in '01 and the Wakeman reunion twice in '02 - plus having seen their triumphant return in '97 - Yes seems to have just been going through the motions for this show. They were playing a fan dictated setlist, having just completed a grueling tour in support of an album that fell well below sales expectations (meaning, obviously, The Ladder - I don't know whose expectations were disappointed, but, I do recall Howe emphasising the importance of decent sales), and they had just released Billy Sherwood from service. Remembering this show, I was pleased to hear some songs I never thought I'd get to hear, but, ultimately felt a bit let down by a band that was clearly in a holding pattern. After the concert, I remember thinking that THAT may have been the final time I would see my beloved Yes.
Alas, it's easy to focus on the negative - when I say "let down," maybe what I really mean to say is, 'this was the least great of a series of great shows I've seen this group perform.' If the Masterworks Tour was purely an exercise in nostalgia (and a quick influx of cash), well, dammit, some of us that discovered the band in a post-Drama world were happy to hear a few of these tunes at least attempted! Between having seen 'Awaken' performed by the eight member Union in '91, 'Revealing Science of God' performed by the OYE six
I was the one that held up the sign at the Fillmore in Denver that said "Play...South Side of the Sky, that he was talking about. I was really hoping that the sign would of helped them make up their minds in playing one of the songs that I voted on, but all Jon and Chris did, was give each other a look, a fast no nod of their heads, and it was on like usual. Oh well, I tried to get the ball rolling......I was standing right in front of Chris, second person smashed up from the stage. I was also the person that was throwing up the flowers on stage. Something I do each time I'm close to the stage. Just to let them know, I / we love them, and thanks.
I'll have to tell you that this was the first time I have been to this venue. The sound was so so, but we stood about 120 feet from the stage. Was the closest either of us have been at a show.
As we were leaving, my eye caught a curiosity which I had not seen before, a hole in the floor with an iron wrought gaurd rail around it. As I walked up to it to inspect it, I discovered it was simply a stairwell leading down below the level I was on.. As my concentration was focused on the stairs, I barely acknowledged that someone was saying "Please keep the area clear"....
When I refocused on that, I looked up and almost ran into Steve Howe!!!! The band was moving towards the stairwell to descend. I about shit my pants that I was within 3 feet of Howe and JA. "Thanks guys" was all I could blurt out, and received a smile from both. We moved away, but not before had Squires attention and told him it was a great show!
An awesome encounter to top off an awesome show!!
Review of Yes: June 28, 2000, The Fillmore, Denver, Colorado, USA
The set list -
Close to the Edge
Gates of Delirium
The Ancient (snippet - "Leaves of Green" acoustic section with just Steve and Jon)
Heart of the Sunrise
I've Seen All Good People Roundabout (encore)
I've been a Yes fan since late 1973. My first show was the "Topographic Oceans" concert in March of 1974 at the Forum in Los Angeles and it was a revelation to me. I had never heard or seen anything like it - the level of musicianship, the complexity and depth of the music, the elaborate staging and lighting, the clarity of the sound. After that concert I was a fanatic throughout the '70s, seeing them another 13 times as they toured with "Relayer", the solo album tour, "Going for the One", and the two tours in the round following the regrettable "Tormato" album. "Tormato" was such a huge disappointment that a lot of the magic had faded and after Jon Anderson left, I didn't really consider it Yes at all (although "Drama" was surprisingly good). I had absolutely no interest in the Trevor Rabin era of the band. I did go to see AWBH in 1989 (it was great to finally hear Bruford play "Close to the Edge" live) and the "Union" tour in 1991 (which had its moments, yet seemed contrived).
After hearing that this tour was going to consist of nothing but the classic material, I just had to attend, and my level of anticipation for a concert was higher than it had been in years. It felt like I was going home.
This was my first trip to the Fillmore. It's a large rectangular room with a wooden floor and a smattering of chandeliers. There were a few seating areas to the sides and upstairs (a very small balcony of four or five rows). The vast majority of the place was just a huge open floor. I read that it holds 3600 people, which seemed about right. I stood on the main floor wedged in with the other sardines about 50 feet from the stage on Steve Howe's side (stage right).
By the time Yes took the stage, the place was packed and the crowd was quite enthusiastic. As you all know by now, they launched right into "Close to the Edge". What an opener! Howe's guitar was not quite as manic in the opening sequence as in days gone by, but his tone was sharp and clear and he built the intensity as he went along. The staging was quite simple - just some white sheet like objects behind them that captured the colors of the lights. No mirrored ball for the intro or dry ice for the "I Get Up, I Get Down" movement. But the playing was strong and passionate and I was in heaven. Igor did a fine job with Wakeman's classic organ solo. The crowd was clearly enjoying it as much as I and they erupted at the conclusion.
"Starship Trooper" was more like the version on "The Yes Album" than the one on "Yessongs" - Igor didn't play the Wakeman solos and he didn't have a mellotron for the big choir sound during the "Wurm" section - but the song was strong nonetheless, particularly due to Steve's playing.
Next up - "Gates of Delirium". Prior to reading the set lists of the first shows on the tour, I never thought I would hear this one live again! And what a treat it was. Steve played the Telecaster with fire, Igor admirably played Moraz's synthesizer parts, Chris and Alan were locked in with the ferocious rhythms, and Jon was sublime. Steve had a brief bobble switching from the Telecaster to the pedal steel for the "Soon" coda, but he quickly made up for it with his haunting playing on that lovely section.
After that exhausting piece, Jon introduced Steve and everyone left the stage. Steve launched into the acoustic section of "The Ancient" (which everyone seems to call "Leaves of Green" these days), playing it on a steel string acoustic guitar (as opposed to the nylon string classical guitar he plays on "Tales"). Jon returned to sing his part and they shook hands at the conclusion.
Just arrived home from the YES show at the Fillmore auditorium. For an added treat, we get in the car and 99.5 FM is playing "Ritual", followed by Homeworld. A few commercials, a snippet from an interview with Alan White and they play And You and I.
The concert was unbelievably good...personally, I don't need to ever see YES live again...I was so impressed, the setlist was "epic".
What other rock band ever played 3 epic songs over 20 minutes in length each? The crowd was totally responsive to the band for their efforts. Ritual was the highlight for me, especially from Chris bass solo through Alan's drum solo into the boys all banging on the drums through the closing...cloud nine. Gates was everything one would expect 25 years later...loved Jon's line about "when we played that song in the 70's and I sang 'Soon oh soon the light' I thought, I hoped there was alight...now I'm older and I know there is a light in us, and when I sing 'soon oh soon the light' whew..."
If you like early "classic, epic YES" and you haven't decided about this tour...go.
No SSOTS in Denver...one sign held up saying playing southside...we got the Roundabout encore...only thing I'd change from the show...