The concert was excellent. Yes seems to be always at their best when they are in Milan.
The Polish orchestra played really well in my opinion. Made up of mostly young female players, they seemed very sharp and precise, compared to what I heard from the 8 or 9 gig I have in my collection from the CanAm tour. Especially "The Gates Of Delirium" was performed flawlessly and they played even differentely the overture from Give Love Each Day with an extra opening section before the usual attack we were used to listen from the American tour. In "Close To The Edge" they were up to par to the band and the tall girl handling the doublebass basically took Chris' high licks in the mid part of "I Get Up I Get Down" since Chris was particularly thirsty... but it was probably because the PalaVobis was completely filled by cigarettes' smoke (basically...) which was criminally allowed by the attendance crew. The only black mark of the evening.
Steve looked rusty in the beginning but then it was all downhill. The two new songs were warmly embraced by the attendance. But all the old tunes were basically treated at their end with standing ovations, and Yes seemed to be particularly touched by this. And before Alan's piano opening on "In The Presence Of" Jon and Alan at the piano improvised a little number where Jon basically apologized for skipping last year concert near Milan due to the sore throat which killed three of the four Italian date of The Ladder tour.
All the guys around my seat were worried about what they have read on the net about Yes dropping Gates Of Delirium earlier in the tour, but when Jon introduced it mentioning war and piece I am sure I heard titanic sighs of relief all around the place. Also "Starship Trooper" was another fine moment of the concert, with all the guys playing up to par.
Then we were treated to probably the best performance of the night: "Ritual". Perfect opening vamps between Chris, Alan and the Orchestra, Steve in full swing.
The orchestra was in excellent sync with the rhythm section of the band, and that left Chris to play a monster rendition of its solo spot. The battle section was the K.O. punch of the evening. Some friends of mine at the end of the concert lamented the orchestra was never in full front during the gig. But after also this live experience I arrived at the conclusion this must be the band decision to leave them a bit behind in the mix, but when they were playing at full steam they perfectly listenable.
The abridged version Roundbout was the weak spot of the night, but after 2 and a half hours of magic I could bear it (Why not Perpetual Change instead?) Fun moment of the night (and you are not even on ESPN): Chris' tech missing a routine flyball catch of the harmonica during And You And I. He was behind Chris' Ampeg speakers and Chris made a perfect pitch and he was a little late in stretching the arms, the hands, the trunk. The typical one base error missed catch, so to speak. He then quickly circled the speakers in order to locate the harm, and looked desperate and amused at the same time. He then quickly grabbed it trying to sneak behind Chris at the end of And You And I.
Gossip of the day: Magnification shall be apparentely performed in Amsterdam where they'll shoot for the dvd to be released for Christmas. Words are the first attempts were full of mistakes during the soundchecks.
Luca de Gennaro
Italy's only date of the Yessimphonic tour ended just 30 minutes ago. And it has been fabulous. The venue was packed ( I presume around 5000 people ) and the crowd was completely mad. I had the great pleasure to bring my older brother to the show. He, who introduced me to live concerts more than 30 years ago. The Milan date of The Ladder tour was cancelled due to a throat problem by Jon, so the city was waiting for Yes since the excellent concert of the "Open your eyes" tour in March 1997. I had the chance to see The Ladder show in London, but this time it was much better. Rarely played pieces like "Ritual" and "Gates" were incredible, all musicians were in top form, and Jon's voice was simply perfect. Also on the ups: the orchestra was well directed and the arrangements very good. The only two little things that didn't work are: the show still misses a second guitar to have a more rounded and full sound. Billy was a little hard but with him on stage the overall sound was more complete. The other thing is that Tom is not as "Yes" as Igor was. He is very good ( otherwise I don't think Yes would have taken him on board ), and respectful of the parts, but you get the feeling that he comes from a different school. Anyway, a wonderful night for which once again we thank some of the most incredibile musicians in the history of rock. Hope to see them again soon.