got to attend the free EMP show two nights prior. It was pretty cool to see South Side. A few kinks to work out. All in all a good show. From what I hear it was the first live performance of South Side in the US.
I could be mistaken, but I believe this is the first full-length concert Yes have played without performing anything from "The Yes Album" since the Tales tour! Southside was awesome. Time to break out "A Venture", "To Be Over" (fat chance w/Wakeman back), and Side 1 of "Going For The One". I was surprised that nothing from "Keys To Ascension" was played. Ok, so I want everthing. Maybe next tour. Great gig. Opening night is always special.
I just wanted to mention a few things about the Paramont show, but first wanted to say that the reviews I had read here, are quite accurate (cudos to Colin). The thing about Yes is- they are so great, that we fans sometimes have really high expectations. The Yes fandom in Seattle was respectful (except in one or two cases) and reverant towards our aging heros. The band made some mistakes- there I said it, but the 98% that was good- was real good. Its funny to think that in any Yes venue is a hundred guitarist in the theatre, analyzing each riff, note by note, and same can be said of the keyboardist, drummer, etc. The fact that this band comes out in 2002 touring Revealing Science of God and Awaken is just amazing to me. Hearing Awaken was a transcendent experience, truthfully. The entire audience sat there with a collective jaw dropped. When Jon forgot the words to In the Presence of, or Rick was slightly behind on a riff or two, it gave us all a brief chance to remember, these guys are human afterall (except perhaps for Jon ;) His voice was incredible. Absolutely beautiful. I would put the mistakes in the performance to simple technical issues (something about the band not being able to hear Alan is what I read). It was hard to disappointed with the set list. You could fudge with America, Roundabout, and even Siberian K...but why ? They were wonderfully performed. Magnification is a new classic, it was stuck in my head all night (I think I woke up humming it). Roundabout is the signiture piece. Oh sure, I wanted Sound Chaser, but Revealing Science satisfied that itch. The real treat ofcourse, was hearing South Side of the Sky (talk about well aged brandy!) My one thought afterwards was, why no Keys to the Studio stuff? One quick Mindrive would've rounded out the corners for me. They played Dont kill the Whale, which was really great, but it left me thinking "no other Tormato stuff". It's probably for the best-Rejoice/Rejoice or Arriving UFO would have made me wet myself. The fans in Seattle were really respectful to the band. Jon forgot the lines to In the Presence of, and was teased a bit, he smiled and the entire place applauded- talk about feeling the love in the room. Besides he came back and knocked out the opening to Revealing, without a stutter. How he does it is beyond me. Rick was the shining star in a crowded constellation. Its funny how he's surrounded with keyboards, but the keyboard he needs is always just out of reach. Hearing him live again (without the distraction of the Union cast) was a special treat. Again Awaken blew everybody away. The Paramont only got quiet twice as I recall, during the quiet parts of Awaken, and during Steve's classical guitar solo. Steve treated us with Leaves of Green. The silence was deafening, especially next to the roar of applause that followed it. Chris' solo Whitefish, for better or for worse leaves one with the feeling of...I want more Tempus Fugit, more Sound Chaser, more etc... (We're a loyal, but fickle bunch, aren't we?). At times I wonder why even do a solo, every song is such a display of virtuousity anyway. All in all, it wasn't just a great show, it was a great feeling- having heard the greatest band in the world performing live, to a room full of appreciative fans, it was high vibrations go on....See you in Irvine!
Cluching our print-at-home-from-PDF ticketmaster tickets, my wife and I entered the Paramount Theatre amongst a mixed-age crowd of happy yesfans. Inside, I looked for a stand with T-shirts, programmes, and other miscellania but I couldn't see anything obvious. Oh well, first show of the tour, probably like the last one, the merchandise wouldn't be available until later on in the tour.
We had pretty good seats on the second mezzanine level, it would have been excellent except for the hulking guys sitting in front of us. Can't complain too much, we still had an excellent view of the stage...
Until YES walked on to the happy sounds of the "Young Persons Guide To The Orchestra", at which point everyone stood up for a standing ovation to the guys. Now I am average height and could see ok if I stood up, but my wife is slightly vertically challenged to the point that she didn't even try standing up to see over the shoulders of the guys in front.
A brief satorial word about the Yes-men:
Steve - thin, with stage lights glinting off his spectacles, wearing dark pants and a black-and-white silk shirt. This time around he has limited his arsenal to 4 guitars: The ES-175D; The yellow "fat" telecaster; the pedal steel, and a classical guitar (I'm wrong - also the "close to the edge" 335 came out once or twice, as did the Steinberg 12-string.)
Jon - In terrific voice, better than ever. Not sure about the lime-green track suit though. He played backup guitar a lot on his strange-looking custom instrument - it looks a bit like a "travelling" acoustic, only with scrolls attached to the body, knobs for volume and MIDI (?) and, a nice touch this, the "Olias" pentangle thingy in the sound hole.
Chris - he's gained some weight, my wife thought he looked a bit unhealthy, and he's grown his hair out so that the floor fan he has down by his pedal-board blows it around. Shades of Spinal Tap videos, but I guess it keeps him cool. No boots this time - neat black leathers with a bit of a shine.
Alan - same as ever. He's a dynamo.
Rick - A bit plump around the middle, but actually looks great, with flowing blonde locks, a sparkly silver "Matrix" overcoat over a white turtle-neck and black pants.
On to the set list:
Siberian Khatru - A great but predictable opener. Everyone stood up an cheered at the Wakeman keyboard flourishes. Damn it, but that man has presence. I can't help it, I'm getting excited at the classic line-up. Steve has pretty good guitar tone, but the end solo lacked a little fire. Still good though.
America - I didn't expect this, and I must confess I was thinking "uh oh, it's a replay of San Luis Obisbo '96". By the time the middle part where Steve gets fired up was happening, I'd changed my mind. It's an exciting peice. Wakeman was clearly reading from a score/chord sheet on a stand in one corner of his keyboard array.
In The Presence Of - Wakeman made this work. His piano intro was as it was always supposed to be. Sorry Alan, but that's the way it is. Wakeman was still reading the cues off a chart, with glasses, but he did ok. A few missed cues, but overall I didn't miss the orchestra.
South Side Of The Sky - They nailed this. What took them so long? THIS ROCKED.
The Revealing Science - Um. This threatened to become a train wreck at more than one point. I hope this gets tightened up by the time I see them again in Vegas. Wakeman has a good solo in him somewhere towards the end, I just wish it would come out right!
Steve Howe Solo - the other guys left the stage, with Jon saying "We'll leave you in the capable hands of Mr Steve Howe!". Chris and Rick looked _very_ chummy at this point, arms round each other's shoulders.
The roadies brought a chair right out front and center, and Steve came up the front with his classical guitar and played two numbers:
- the acoustic section of The Ancient - The Little Galleon.
You know, the Seattle show was a great show, but they had some problems from the beginning with technical difficulties. Most, if not all, involved Steve.
BTW, this is not bashing the technical crew. It was more funny than anything, though it was painful to watch.
#1 During the second song or so, Steve turned around to play his acoustic and it wasn't there. A second later, the guitar tech bolted out and gingerly set it up for him.
#2 Steve's slide guitar (don't know the term for it) is on a cool pulley system that slides it left and right as if by magic....when it works. Had some problems with that.
#3 Where is Steve's stool? Ah! Just in time for him to sit for thirty seconds of the two minute section when he needed it.
#4 Wrong pedal? Again, right before Steve was about to play his slide guitar, he gestures a bit hurridly to the tech to do something involving a pedal and some wires. Whew! Another close call!
#5 Let there be light. The spot light crew refused to highlight Steve all night. Luckily the show lights (colored) were on the ball. However, during "Awaken" Steve really needs to see what he's doing. As he was going through the song he kept waving his hands for light. He started missing his stops and just then the light came on.
That was about it. Alan missed dropped a beat or missed an accent here or there and Jon made a point once of pointing to him! Woah! And Jon forgot the lyrics to part of "In The Presence Of":
"How does that F***er go?" (He might have said "bugger" but I don't think so) He tried two more times, stopped, then apologized to the crowd. Then he got it! The crowd was rofl!
I think that's about it!
Michael C. Moore
Yeah, it was a little ragged. But it was glorious, too. The sellout crowd at the Paramount Wednesday night forgave the opening-night flubs, according standing ovations after each of the set's 10 songs and three solo-ensemble pieces. And Yes fought their way through with aplomb, the thrills outnumbering the pratfalls a hundred-fold.
Yes warmed up for the Paramount concert by playing a five-song set at Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle 7.14, and turned their final rehearsal into a live fundraiser for about 400 lucky folks in Kirkland 7.16. Four of the songs they played at EMP made up the first half of Wednesday's show, punctuated by a riveting version of The Revealing Science of God.
That was the cleaner half of the show -- the songs seemed better rehearsed, the band more confident in them. There still were goofs. Jon actually stopped In The Presence Of early on after forgetting the words, but the rest of the band kept time and he joined in after an embarrassed bow. Steve and Rick both missed several entrances, and even Chris and Alan were late on some cues -- perhaps trying to anticipate trouble spots from the rehearsals. Jon often seemed to be referring to a lyric sheet on an easel next to his mic stand, as well. Sometimes, it seemed a mighty struggle to keep things going. That's always a part of the fun at a Yes concert, though. They're struggling because the music is so incredibly complex and difficult -- and, let's face it, it's been nearly seven years since this lineup has taken it to the stage, and this after less than two weeks' rehearsal. But they always managed to right themselves and turn trouble into triumph. Notably, a rocky first couple of sections of Awaken, the closer, gave way to a magnificent final section.
The second half seemed to bog down a little bit at times -- indeed, Whitefish might've been a late replacement for Yours Is No Disgrace, which was rehearsed the night before at the Kirkland benefit.
But Awaken, and a ridiculously good runthrough of Roundabout (although sans the middle section) brought the show to a rousing close.
Jon is quoted on his Web site as saying Yes never played South Side of the Sky in concert because they just didn't think it translated well to the stage. Both at EMP and at the Paramount, though, it was a highlight, with stunning vocals and Steve's guitar lines soaring over that crunching riff.
Other highlights included The Revealing Science of God; Steve's brief, amiable solo acoustic spot; a credible Don't Kill The Whale (even though the sound didn't seem very well mixed), which might help them decide to dust off some more Tormato material in future; and In The Presence Of (once Jon remembered the words).
The foibles are minor, and by the time they're a few dates into the tour, they'll have them worked out, anyway. And there shouldn't be any quibbling over "what they didn't play." This tour should be about what they did play, the five of them together, looking happy and hopefully ready to carry the momentum from this tour back into the studio.
Have fun, the rest of you. Wednesday was a great time, and it'll get even better.
Wakeman is unbelievably top form. It's as if the band had never been separated. It seems whenever Wakeman leaves and comes back, he brings with him a load of new energy. Such was the case with this show! I've never heard him and HOwe play better! A total Wakeman-centric playlist, including the never before played on American soil South SIde of the Sky. I loved the selections they chose for all the individual sets. Howe did the Ancient. Wakeman did Wondrous Stories and And you and I. Chris Squire and Alan White REALLY went for gold with their set. Tempis Fugit, On THe Silent Wings of Freedom, and Soundchaser wrapped inside of The Fish. I'd say that was the best part of the show. Although when they sang Awaken...WOW...amazing...I"ve never heard that song better. Wakeman adds so much to that group that no other keyboardist of the past has. Not knocking any of the others. It's just that when Wakeman's there, you know it. Now all they need is to get Bruford back. :) On a downside, the security guards ruined part of it. I was on the end so I heard a lot of their yammering. At one point they were unsuccessfully trying to deal with an unruly crowdmember that wouldn't sit down and a yelling match ensued followed by a dragout, rumble on the ground fistfight during the encore.
Concerts just aren't the same as they used to be. Ah well. I just wish they would have played CLose to the Edge during the second encore. THe crowd was ready for them. Heck they gave them a standing ovation after every song...i'd say we deserved it. :) Excellent show, guys. Rick, it's been too long...and you always come up with the coolest costumes/clothes to wear!
Just walked in from the Seattle show. All in all a very enjoyable event, though not my favorite tour. The opening night started a bit slow. It seemed like they did the soundcheck during the first song. It was horrible, and everything was off, and then they put it together by the end of the first tune. I thought the band sounded incredible tonight, Wakeman and White were amazing in the mix. However Howe (pun intended), And Anderson (again intended)and Squire (no funny pun for Chris) all were in and out of the mix. Not their ususal dominating selves. They played for 1 hour and 15 minutes and then took a setbreak. They came back to do another 1 hour 15 minute set, for a total of just under 2.5 hours. Someone else should post a setlist as I was not taking notes. They did play America, Magnification, and encored with Roundabout. A side note about taping...The venue staff was being a bit tough with photographers and tapers. One taper a few rows behind me got busted, but was not removed (dont know if they took his tapes). I know Yes is pretty taper unfriendly, but I have never seen them enforce their policy. It is likely that the evil security of this venue are the lone culprits. Other however were able to get a darn good recording ;)
The vocals were the hardest thing to hear tonight. It wasnt just John, I could hardly hear Chris or Steve. Chris took a short solo, but did not step into the spotlight much this time. He did bring out the 3 neck bass, a newer fender, and of course the Rick... The band was using their own PA and not the house sound, which in tonights case was a mistake. I hope other shows the volume gets turned up, and the vocals and bass (and guitar but not as much so) get brought into mix more for later shows of the tour...
If you are a true Yes phan you will enjoy yourself alot. for someone like myself who has seen yes 7 times (with and without Wakeman, and with the Orchestra). I would say it lack a bit of punch, but beint the tour opener, that is a bit of a harsh criticism... I think the Ladder tour was the best musically they have played in years. Everyone had a good time, people were animated, and on their feet between every song..
Another fine evening with yes! This was my 7th time to see the band and they always play a great show! Howe was really sharp tonight as usual and Wakeman was great also! WELCOME BACK RICK! FINALLY! Jon forgot the words in the midde of In The Presence Of (He had to stop the song twice and appologized) It was funny but still came off great!Jon still sounds perfect! Squire was a monster as usual! Alan White, just a flat out awesome drummer! The sound at this venue is just great! Howe's guitar was clean and full of emotion! The best guitarist in my opinion! To my best of knowledge the song list was (in no order)
1.Siberian Khatru 2.America 3.In The Presence of 4.The Revealing Science Of God 5.Magnification 6.Heart Of The Sunrise 7.The Fish with a flare of On The Silent Wings Of Freedom,Sound Chaser,and Tempist Fugit. 8.Steve Howe solo spot. 9.Jon and Rick solo 10.Awaken 11.South Side Of The Sky (Finally get to hear this one live!) 12.Don't Kill The Whale 13.Roundabout, short version for encore