What a great venue for a YES concert! Jon remarked that "you have beautiful countryside here...we're staying down by the lake, and it's like everyone is on a holiday!" How true for Northern Michigan, and so wonderful that the band picked up on the natural ambience of the Interlochen atmosphere as well. Jon wore a purple top and pants, with a gold vest. His hair is the shortest I've seen it since the 90125 days, and it looks great. Steve wore a green silk shirt splattered with white designs. Steve's energy level was high. This is the first time I have seen him wearing glasses. It has to help him looking at the guitar neck up close and then at his sound panel for his many tunings. Chris had on a black V-neck shirt with puffy sleeves and black spandex pants. His hair is longer than the last several tours, blondish colored, kind of like during the Keys shows. He has lost weight, and looks great. Alan was in his traditional athletic wear - spandex shorts and loose-fitting silver T-shirt with sweat bands. He played so well. Tom Brislin does look like a kid from Joisey that might work in a cappucino shop, but he definitely got into the music. What a rush to be up on stage playing with this band! I'm sure he'll be pleased at the response he'll no doubt receive by the time YES plays the east coast on this tour. I talked with a horn player from the orchestra before the show, who said that YES music is definitely "challenging, with all the timing changes and signatures involved." The conductor sure got a workout. I enjoyed what I heard from them, but my wife commented that there were times where the limitations of written orchestral music seemed to limit the band's creativity during certain songs. I agree. Driving home, our CD collection contained a number of selections that might make it into a future show if they continue with Part II of an orchestral tour - "Onward," "Turn of the Century," "Survival" (albeit from a different guitar era), and "Time and A Word" would all be well served by this symphonic backing, as well as "Heart of The Sunrise" and others. Interesting that they chose the "hard" rock side of their repertoire to play with an orchestra, as the softer, melodic moments of "Gates of Delirium" and "Ritual" were when the strings, woodwinds, horns and harp really stood out. It was spectacular to see many instruments from Steve's arsenal in action. The sitar was great, and the Fender steel just sang out. How many more shows will we get from these guys? Missing from the line-up was the antique-colored Martin 00-18 (in for repairs, perhaps), in it's place was a sunburst model, played only from a stand. The red Les Paul saw a lot of action. "Sketches In The Sun" (or "Eye To Eye," as it was known in the Asia days) and "Clap" were just a blast to hear, and well done. Many instrument changes were completed by Steve's tech just seconds before he played the next guitar part. Jon played a thin-body guitar that looked almost like a Martin "Backpacker" model on "In the Presence Of." At one point during the other new song, "Don't Go," he sang through an electric megaphone, lending a sort of Rudy Vallee effect to the song. Chris worked the Rickenbacker hard, also playing a Fender Jazz bass as well as another model. Missing was the green model from 90125 that he also used on the "Ladder" tour. At the end of "And You And I" he got the harmonica and began picking at the mouthpiece, attempting to pull or wipe some foreign material away. It was time to play, and he did so, stopping between riffs to again run his fingers along the edge. When he finished that section of the song, he fired the harmonica offstage in the direction of the techs, obviously furious about it's condition. He looked at them and pointed
Wow! Getting older isn't so bad after all! My wife and I had to pony up a donation to Interlochen to get VIP seating, but it was a very worthy place to give money to. When I was 21, I probably couldn't have afforded it, so being over 40 does have it's advantages! Anyways..we got front row, just a couple of feet to the side of Chris. Front row is a whole different universe. It's as if the band is there just for you! I had a great time jamming to Chris and the band. I guess my neighbors to my left didn't appreciate my in seat dancing because they got up and left after a couple of songs. I guess I was shaking the whole row. Oh well...this was a rock show, not an opera! Chris did have trouble with his harmonica during AYAI. My wife asked his assistant after the show what it was about. He got some whiskers caught in it and thought he was bleeding! We stayed a bit after the show. One of the tech crew threw one of Alan's beat up sticks into the crowd, and I was lucky enough to get it. One fine man who had a backstage pass took it in and got it signed. It was a pretty trusting thing to do, and this man again renewed my faith in humanity! We stayed a bit later and saw Chris,Alan and Steve leave and got them to sign a few things. They were great and I felt like a 21 year old groupie! The concert and whole experience was great. Yes fans tend to be great, and the band surpassed my expectations on this show. I'm looking forward to the new CD and the nxt time they come around again!