The YesSymphonic tour stopped at the Mohegan Sun Reservation in Uncasville Connecticut on Saturday, Aug 25th. This is the first of three stops in Connecticut for the tour. First of all, the venue, the Uncasville Pavilion is pretty much a big tent with folding chairs and bleachers set up inside. Actually Jon at one point commented on the tent like structure saying that he felt like he was in the circus. He then added “well, there are a lot of clowns on the stage tonight.”
The set began with the orchestral introduction that has started every show this tour, before roaring into “Close to the Edge”. The sound seemed a little bit rough and echoey at first, but cleared up by the “I Get Up, I Get Down” section…either that or my ears just adjusted to it. At any rate, the sound wasn’t nearly as bad as it was at the show in Noblesville, Indiana last year, the last time I saw Yes in concert. The band was in sync with this song right away, though the orchestra was only audible during the quiet parts. When audible, the orchestra really did augment the song nicely. Tom Brislin, the touring keyboard player pretty much played this “by the book” as the organ solo was pretty much as it is on the original.
“Long Distance Runaround” was next, with an orchestral introduction. The orchestra certainly adds to this song. They replaced many of the keyboard parts in this song. Brislin was rarely heard on this song.
One of the new songs from “Magnification” was played next, “Don’t Go.” For those not familiar with this song yet, it’s a short “poppy” song. Jon introduced it by saying it’s important that we don’t take love for granted and that’s what the song is about. I am pretty familiar with the song myself, having heard various live recordings and the studio version for a few weeks now. I thought the band played the song really well, but Jon was almost apologetic about it afterward stating that sometimes new songs work and sometimes they don’t. Jon actually uses a megaphone on the megaphone part, and plays his “MIDI guitar” on this one. Many people missed this one because they got up to buy refreshments or use the facilities.
The other new song, the longer “In the Presence of” was received far better, as the band got a small standing ovation afterward, with Jon stressing that some new songs go over better than others. This one went over real well. I got the sense that the band can feel the vibe from the audience if a song is going over well or not. Jon again played his “MIDI guitar” on this one, and Alan played the opening lines on the Kurzweil keyboard that Jon uses.
“Gates of Delirium” was next. The band has this difficult piece down pat now and the performance was much tighter than last years Masterworks versions. The orchestra additions were welcome when they were audible, but like “Close to the Edge”, Chris and Alan play too loud for them to be heard.
Steve Howe’s solo set was next. It consisted of what I believe was a new piece from “Natural Timbre” and “Mood for a Day.” I enjoyed the new piece a lot but was bored during “Mood for a Day” as I have heard it a lot.
The orchestra left for “Wonderous Stories” and “Perpetual Change.” Howe’s guitar solo at the end of “Perpetual Change” is always a highlight. At one point, Jon began singing the wrong verse and then quickly corrected himself. I did miss the piano runs that Igor Khoroshev had added to this song during “The Ladder” tour.
The often played “And You and I” was next. This is one that should benefit greatly from the orchestra (as it did in a recording that I had heard from earlier in the tour), but unfortunately they were barely audible. Otherwise, the song was pretty much the same to the versions they had played the last few tours.
“Ritual,” which was a personal highlight for me during the Masterworks tour was again strong. The orchestra was audible during the verses, and added to the overall color of the song. I missed seeing Ig