For the first and, unfortunately, also the last time, I saw Yes live on the 27th of November, 1977, in Bremen. I have been in lots of concerts throughout the years, but until September 2001, when Roxy Music closed up, the ‘Going For The One’-show was by far the best one I ever witnessed. And now, exactly 24 years on, I was in the CCH1 to refresh the feelings of my youth.
What can I say? Yes is still one of the most amazing live bands in the world. And they are loud! We saw, that the 30-piece-orchestra behind them obviously played their instruments most of the time, but they were not to be heard at all, when Yes really gave it to us! The Moody Blues also did the orchestra-thing, and I had the pleasure to watch their show in the Royal Albert Hall in London in April 2000. There and then it was a real coincidence, here and now it wasn’t. Fact is, that Yes don’t need an orchestra on stage. Their power is so immense, that even the whole staff of the Berliner Philharmoniker wouldn’t be able to cope with it. But nevertheless: those few introductions and intermediate parts, that the orchestra played alone, were quite nice.
When a band is not en vogue, but still has lots of faithful followers, they can do whatever they want, and even start their show with a 20-minute-epic. ‘Close To The Edge’ is one of Yes’ most played classics, but they still do it as good as the also unavoidable “Long Distance Runaround”. After that, it was time for the new studio album. Heaven knows, why the first track they did from ‘Magnification’ was the mediocre ‘Don’t go’. Couldn’t it have been the beautiful, orchestral ‘Give Love Each Day’, which, believe it or not, they did not play at all ? How dare you, Gentlemen ?!? The lengthy ‘In The Presence Of …’ then drove the audience crazy. Lots of people rose from their seats and gave a standing ovation. When, after that, Steve Howe prepared himself for a nice acoustic solo performance, a woman from the audience repeatedly called his name. Steve smiled and asked her, what he could do for her, but got no answer. I saw this woman after the show, still sitting there, clothed in rags and surrounded by large plastic bags. Maybe she was under the influence of something like the LSD, that Jon Anderson had tasted during a stay in Hamburg in the year 1966, as he told the audience. He even tried to rebuild some German phrases from that time and finally succeeded with “Schatziputzi” and “Apfelkuchen mit Sahne”.
When band and orchestra were back on stage after Steve’s two track solo set, they did the title song from ‘Magnification’ for the very first time on stage. “We’ll try. Let’s hope for the very best”, Jon said, and then they rocked the house. Simply stunning, a new Yes classic. Jon then reported, that their fans always begged them to play an old song from 1972, named ‘Starship Trooper’. “We won’t play it”, he asserted with a grin, “but we will do something very similiar. It’s called ‘Starship Trooper’!” Laughter and rejoice in the audience. The song was as brilliant as the following “And You And I”. Jon told us about all the books he had read back in the seventies (“crazy times”), especially from German novelist Hermann Hesse, and how they influenced the lyrics he wrote. When he announced a track from the … err … demanding album ‘Tales From Topograpic Oceans’, he received applause at the very mentioning of it. And then they performed ‘Ritual – Nous Sommes Du Soleil’. It is impossible to describe all the thoughts and images racing through my head during those more than 25 minutes of pure greatness in live Rock performance. Mostly scenes of the past, of friends that I had and situations I went through. I was virtually flying through space and time, while those magnificent musicians gave their very best to please us and themselves. There is a 108-lined (!), very applicable concert review in the newspaper ‘Hamburger Morgenpost’ today, but at one point the writer is dead wrong, because he describes ‘Ritual
We just got back from the Hamburg gig which was really great.
Jon was talkative as always, telling us how he had his first LSD trip in Hamburg in 1966. Also funny was the woman who kept calling "Hello Steve"Howe" during the pieces of his solo. He quite politely quipped "Hello. What can I do for you this evening?"
As for the setilst. Good and bad news. The bad one first: Gates was dropped. ))-: Good news however, the band played Magnification (the song) instead. (-: For the first time ever as he told us. It evolved into a real rocker towards the end. GRRRREAT!
Generally, the new songs were received quite warmly. In fact, In the Presence of got the first standing ovation, IIRC, causing Jon to thank us for receiving the new songs so well.
i already saw some shows during the symphonic tour but this hamburg gig was the best of it. the whole band played perfect all in all. the audience was totally knocked out...3 minutes of standing ovations for "in the presence of" !! jon was in perfect mood and made very unique anouncments during the whole show...,he told the story of his first ever lsd-trip in early 60ies which he took in hamburg. "magnification" was an excellent live performance, really enjoyable !! folks, don´t miss the chance to see some more shows in europe :start travelling now, you will not regret !! all in all this was one of the best yesshows i ever saw, very close to the 1977 germany tour. GREAT !