Steve's review is entirely accurate. the other reviewer is clearly "music press" and ought to not bother with "Yes" and stick to shit like Nirvana. As usual the music intelligentsia has no clue what the Hell they're talking about when it comes to Yes....
Monday, April 22, 2013 1:04 PM
Review by Phil Bonyata
Musically speaking, Yes isn't satisfied until they find a new way to go over the top. Whose idea was it to add a 50 piece orchestra to their already heavily layered and over produced sound. Imagine when these guys heard Nirvana blasting out of their radios for the first time. As they winced they were probably thinking of a way to slap on some soft instrumental layers to deflate the urgent power chords into a meandering and pointless merry-go-round.
Yes set-up it's elephantine musical ensemble at the Riverside Theatre last night and unleashed all of it's progressive rock cliches on the aging, but wanting audience. Lead singer Jon Anderson, clad in a frumpy red tunic with sparkly purple pants, started it on "Close to the Edge" with his high-pitched voice and wimpy stage persona fighting for life against the bottomless pit of directionless sound coming forth from fellow Yes vets Chris Squire and Steve Howe. Squire's bass lines seem to be the closest thing to real rock that these guys have in their bags of collective prog-rock standards.
"Roundabout" was the best tune of the evening because of it's more melodic and simplified rock approach. On 70's staples like "And You And I" and "Wonderous Stories" showed that Yes' rather unique blend of classical, English traditional and American pop influences go happily around and around acheiving a kind of twisted perpetual motion. Their music is like long and winding roads that are more like a Sunday drive to nowhere then trying to reach a specific destination. It's hard to tell when one song finishes and the next one starts. Anderson's silly lyrics on "Get Up/Get Down " only made you wish that the electricity in the building failed and all that we would be left with was the natural sound of the orchestra.
The Riverside Theatre was rocking Wednesday night as one of the few remaining true entertainment bargains performed for close to 2 hours and 45 minutes before a packed house of close to 2,500 frenetic fans.
This night was special for practically everyone in attendance, as well as the band itself. You could just sense from the crowd's response to 'In The Presence Of' that the band's members knew they had a group of listeners they could work with.
Sure, there were the boisterous few who ruined a few soft moments in the music, but their intentions weren't mean-spirited and their unwelcomed noise eventually subsided, thanks in large part to a knowledgable audience that made it known that hollering during the playing of the music _ even up until the final few notes of a piece _ was none too cool.
There would be plenty of opportunity for dancing and singing _ and howling _ during a fantastic version of 'I've Seen All Good People' that was performed much later in the show. No, this was more than a classic progressive rock event. Most everyone knew it and Jon Anderson commented to the audience that the more it listened, the more it made the band want to play.
Steve Howe, himself, acknowledged the excessive adulation from some of the 'rock 'n' roll crazies' during his acoustic solo numbers, before giving them the look that indicated it was time to chill.
But there was nothing chilly about Wednesday's performance. The small, ornate theater on Wisconsin Ave. was somewhat steamy and the band with its orchestra couldn't help but turn up the heat with blistering versions of 'Gates of Delirium' and 'Ancient.' Opening with 'Close to the Edge,' Yes took the venue by storm before retreating with 'Long Distance Runaround' and 'Don't Go.' Those were the only two numbers that didn't get standing Os from a majority of the crowd.
'In The Presence Of' got the special vibes flowing again. There's been some talk about Yes failing to come up with epic masterpieces since the 70s, but this one and a few studio offerings from Keys I and II are solid extended pieces in every way. Curiously, 'Wonderous Stories' was the newest song played, save the two selections from the upcoming CD, Magnification. Here's hoping Yes starts performing some of its high quality works of the '90s on future tours.
That's assuming there are future tours. And, as we all know, there's little in life we can assume. Which gave the loyal throng in the Riverside all the more reason to show Anderson, Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White their undying appreciation for their unparalled music.
Anderson's heaven-sent voice is as strong as ever. His interplay with the crowd displayed his firm understanding of the finer art of showmanship.
Squire had the crowd in awe with his cutting bass lines, especially during his extended play in 'Ancient.' And that was before he helped the band blow everyone away with the high-octane drumming section of the same piece.
A very visible White was an effective conduit between the orchestra and the band, in addition to performing as solid as ever. A class act, White was in plain view of everyone in the audience, thanks to the Riverside's small stage.
Howe is not 'god,' but he's close. He was very workmanlike in a craftsman sort of way, taking the aborted first attempt of 'Wonderous Stories' in stride. A guitar had not been properly plugged in and it made for some gut-wrenching noise just as the audience was about to embark on one of Yes' most beautiful works. Howe is a master guitarist and deserves greater volume in the mixing,especially during 'Starship Trooper,' which begged for musical sparring between Howe and Rick Wakeman. But, alas, Wakeman isn't around, so the crowd had to make do with a less spectacular, yet solid performance from keyboardist Tom Brislin. The audience gave the youngster a great deal of support, which was without question well-earned and appreciated by