Great show and a great venue!!! As noted in previous posts and reviews by others, those that haven't seen it yet are in for a real treat. Their performance is strong and the orchestrations really add to the music. Larry Groupe did an excellent job on the arrangements and all the songs really benefitted from the use of an orhcestra, moreso than the Symphonic Music of Yes album, which seemed hit or miss at times. The song selection was extremely good, tho I noticed it has been modified from the first set list posted for the Reno show. Tom Brislin does quite a good job, tho he is all too often buried in the mix. as was the orchestra. I could barely hear the brass at all. This, of course, has a lot to do with where I was seated. However, I'll gladly take second row seats in the middle any day! :-) If you want a more balanced sound, sitting about 20 rows back dead center would probably be ideal. Stromberg did a good job of conducting and seemed to really enjoy himself. There were a couple of minor flubs (see below) but it seems he has come a long way in just a few short days. My daughter (a trained band musician) gave him the thumbs up for his knowledge of the score. Squire was his usual energetic self and had a ball playing. I loved his facial expressions and theatrics, thrilling the crowd as only he can by playing a singular, powerful note. Classic Chris!! His voice was also in great shape. The band played straight thru for 2:45 and I was quite grateful that I was wrong in the assumption that there might be an intermission. DO NOT BE LATE!!! They start promptly!
Now for the songs:
The opening overture is a very effective piece of music and segued nicely into CTTE. It stood well on its own. One early flub, however, was a noticeably flat horn at the start, but this was the worst it got and the orchestra recovered nicely.
CTTE was very good, tho I do not care for the slower tempo the band takes it at these days. Jon's voice was in very fine form on this (and all night, for that matter). My only disappointement was that Tom Brislin was not at all loud enough during the "church organ" section in the middle. I thought this would have been a fine way to introduce him with this very powerful section. The orchestra, however, made up for this, adding a nice, lush sound.
There was a orchestral interlude to open Long Distance Runaround and I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. Anyone know what this is? Probably just an intro tacked on by Groupe but it is very good. I hope they have a live recording of this released after the tour. Unfortunately, they didn't go into The Fish, as I am so used to hearing, but, given the length of the show, I got over it in a hurry.
Don't Go, as noted by others, is an OK but not exceptional love song. Nothing to write home about but not bad either. Good orchstral arrangement.
Deeper Than... is the longer and stronger of the two pieces off the new album and I really enjoyed it- especially for a first hearing. Good orchestration on this one. Can't wait to hear it on the studio album.
Gates of Delirium- WOW!!!! I won't go off the edge with a long string of superlatives but this one was worth the price of admission in my eyes (and ears). Thank goodness for all the Yesheads who voted it into their setlist last year for the Masterworks tour! They really enjoy playing this one and seem to be playing it better this year than last. The orchestra really adds a lot to the war! Howe's slide at the end sings and Jon's voice is just magical!
And You and I was extremely good, too, and benefitted from the orchestral arrangement. Steve's playing is crisp and clean. Wonderous Stories was fine, too. Both Jon and Steve sounded quite good on this one.
I was thrilled to see Howe come out and do some solo material, especially after the first few shows did not do so. He started with the opening cut from Natural Timbre (a particularly fine and consistantly strong album)