Sunday, November 4, 2001
21 years, 4 months and 22 days ago
Have just read that 'Gates of Delerium' has been dropped in Helsinki. Oh, how my heart sank! If any of the guys are reading this, or even just anyone that knows them, or anyone who has ever known them and is planning on renewing their acquaintance before 9/12/01 - please, please please bring back 'Gates...'!!!! I have been looking forward to seeing this performed for months now and the thought that the object of my desire is to be removed when I am so close has just about ruined my year! In the interests of my sanity and psychological well being, dare I say it again....BRING BACK GATES!!!!!! PLEEEEEEEEEEAAAAASSSSE!!!!!
Yes made their way to the cold Helsinki evening last night. The band had had some trouble crossing the Russian - Finnish border and I thought they clearly showed some strain, though this could partly be just their old age ofcourse!
Hartwall Arena wasn't packed, but I take it there were about 8000 fans seeing the show live, more than enough for it to be considered a decent show up - Yes still has alot of fans in Finland and the number of fans is just going up in my book after a show like this.
It is also necessary to mention at this point, that being rather young (21) and always having had this "peculiar" (I think you call it that in today's Finnish pop/mtv oriented time, especially for people my age) musical taste, I haven't been able to see that many concerts during my life. Taking into account this fact my review might not have the backing of experience of some of the other reviews written by people who've seen live concerts on regular basis.
On to the real review ..
The show started with the nice symphonic introduction from Magnification, but what struck to my ear immediately from the start was the fact that a symphonic orchestra playing on an Arena the size of this one (Hartwall Arena is a 12,000 people Ice Hockey arena in Helsinki) doesn't have the backing of a concert hall with it's delicate set of acoustics. I hadn't considered this much before, but ofcourse a duetto of a rock band and a symphonic orchestra playing on an arena demands the symphonic orchestra to use the same set of amplifiers as the rock band is using - which means that the mixing has to find a delicate balance between these two distinctly different styles of music in order to give the credit to both parties involved. I'm sad to say that this didn't happen for the most part of the time last night. The symphonic orchestra was obviously professional enough to have been given more credit by the mixer, unfortunately either he or the band had made a decision not to do so and the nice string arrangements were for the most part just lost in a jungle of rich guitar and bass sound.
Towards the end of the warming up orchestral piece the band started arriving on to the stage and the audience was getting ready to experience something that most of it had been missing for the last three decades. From the start things went quite smoothly apart from a couple of high - and low points.
I thought that for the most part the band played with a certain nice twist, not just trying to redeliver something that they'd already done on their albums, but doing something that for some parts sounded rather intuitive and even experimenting. This ofcourse could probably just be put on the consience of my limited experience with seeing such a long-lived and great act like Yes. The band had picked most of my favourite pieces from Magnification and delivered them with good precision, not forgetting to add something extra for the people showing up for the show.
Things really heated up for me and my friends after Howe did his thing with Clap/Mood for a Day and the band produced a simply breathtaking Starship Trooper. The ending of ST will simply be something otherworldly from that day onward. Squire's bass was pumped up and I thought it worked fantastically! Had they done Wonderous Stories or Roundabout right after ST I would have been sure to have jumped out of my chair right there and then (I did do this later on fortunately - I didn't do the mistake of not doing it!).
A down point came when Anderson - wisely in my book - told the crowd that they'd play Ritual. I was hungry for hearing a song that for some reason I'd missed on the albums (made a mental note to get the albums I'm missing asap!). Unfortunately it sounded a bit awkward and just didn't suit the atmosphere of the show that far. It was fortunate that with an impressive show of I've Seen All Good People (and Anderson asking for the people to stand up and sing alon
Setlist : Give Love Each Day
Close To The Edge
Long Distance Runaround
In The Presence Of
Corkscrew/Mood For A Day
And You And I
I've Seen All Good People
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
Hello, fellow Yes fans. I had front row seats, and still couldn't hear the orchestra most of the time, bummer. The band was mixed ok and played very well.
Steve Howe is in brilliant form. It was great seeing him switching guitars on the fly during songs. Jon Anderson sang beautifully and is in good voice. The background vocals were also spot on. Alan White and Tom Brislin did some b-vox too. Chris Squire's bass was loud and had too much treble at times and too much low end at times. His playing was great nevertheless. Alan's drumming is also very good nowadays.
I liked Tom's keyboards mostly. Though the church organ on Close To The Edge sounded a bit wimpy. But the Hammond and Moog sounds he uses are quite good. He played Rick Wakeman's keyboard parts flawlessly.
The concert started with the orchestral intro which sounded great. Then the band took the stage and they did a thunderous version of Close To The Edge. I had tears in my eyes. It was so good.
Long Distance Runaround sounded a bit silly to me with the orchestra. Don't Go is quite ok live but nothing special. In The Presence Of is much better.
Howe's solo pieces Corkscrew and Mood For A Day were excellent. Steve has great acoustic guitar sound.
Starship Trooper rocked but then they ran out of steam. And You And I was nice to hear but the performance lacked spark. Ritual..., well I don't understand it, sorry. I wish they had played Gates Of Delirium instead. All Good People got people on their feet, but the song is overplayed and had no new twists.
Owner Of A Lonely Heart sounds strange with Steve's dry guitar sounds. Tom did Trevor Rabin's solo on keyboards and Steve soloed a bit in the end. Roundabout picked things up. They did the version without the middle section. Alan and Chris made the song really rock. When they left the stage the crowd still wanted more. The concert lasted about 2 1/2 hours.
This was my first Yes concert, they have never been in Finland before. From what I've seen and heard on live CD's and videos, this is the best they have sounded since the 80's. Thank you and come back soon.
Yesterday Yes was in Helsinki. Concert started one hour later because they had some troubles in Russian border.
The set list was like in Moscau (see other posts), BUT probably because of that starting delay they did not play Gates Of Delirium.
They played well, especially Steve.
BUT the real probelm was mixing (hopefully for that delay problem?!).
When concert started with orchestra playing I found myself thinking: wow this will be very good one - orchestra played very well and then they started Close to the Edge and band came in and started playing. The result. mixer pump up band ´s volume so much that you could barely hear the orchestra - only in the quieter parts of the songs You could actually hear it - only Don´t Go and In the Presence Of were mixed such away that You could hear bits of what it should be sounded and mixed. The orchesta was really good, but now we could only see and guess in our minds (most of time) what they were playing (we had good seats). So I do not think that it was only about issue "you were sitting in a such place".
Then other thing which I found very annoying with my friend was keyboard sounds (thought Chris had some problems with his bass - and he was mixed too up most parts, thought bass pedals were really cool). I did not except Brislin to play like RW (they did play a lot of old stuff, thought I would have waited them to play more from Magnification...). He played actually very well, but those sounds were some of times like "el cheapo" low-fi. Too sharp and ear-cutting, especially last song (Owner of the Lonely Heart, which was a real rocker for the audience) summarised whole keyboard sound problem: Brislin mimicked Trevor´s solo very well (yes, he played the solo in the middle, not Steve like some others are here saying - for a lesson watch Union DVD and Trevor playing and then see what Howe is doing - and of course you must have a seat where you see brislin´s playing), but the sound was above like style with really sharp, painful sound (it is difficult to describe) - it made band to sound like a very good tribute/cover band. Why not sit down and really, really hard tune the instruments up to their maximum (perhaps they should have been playing more of stuff from this new album).
It was my first Yes concert and probably last - it is really more comfortable to wacht from DVD and enjy good mixing than listen poorly mixed stuff in concert.
Lowest point: The Ritual (says a person who has listened it lot during 70s) - really out of place and sounded horrible. Real pain to listen. They could really drop this one and play "Dreamtime" and some other longer piece from Magnification.
Highest points: Orchestral Intro,Steve´s acoustic solo and in the Presence Of even there were these awful mixing problems, BUT pedal steel was really tasty.
Embarrasing moments: the crow started to clapping in the middle of Close to the Edge (some people probably thought that it was the end of the song, the quiter part). Another was Jon commenting something like "You Finns drink a lot" - he probably try cheer the crow for partying, but it sounded like "you are drunkers" for our ears - earlier in the concert he had asked from the crow if we speak/understand english - and that question sounded like asking "do you l-e-a-r-n to read in the school if you have such". Oh well...
Well, all in all I think it was good to be in that concert (at least I can say that i have seen them live), but i really missed Gates Of Delirium. They really need to think and fine tune the mixing.