Monday, July 29, 2002
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Blossom Music Center
20 years, 7 months and 19 days ago
I have been a YES fan for a couple of years now and I have to say that I still find them the most talented group I have ever seen. However, I have to say I was a bit dissapointed in last night's show.
The parking was free... big plus there. My buddy and I came in and we got settled and I ran to the bathroom just before the storm. The weather forecasters were predicting the end of the world, but they always say that and then 15 mins later, it blows over. Which is exactly what happened here. The rain just added the the atmosphere of the whole show.
However the power seemed to go out just before the show started and I think that severally effected the show. They came out strong, but two of Steve's guitar's were mixed WAY too high, and you could barely hear Rick. The PA and sound system were horrible and both Jon and Chris sounded like furry chimpmunks. I also found the light show rather bland, and off at times.
However, besides the bad sound system, you could tell Yes was playing great. My only question is, has Rick's keyboards always been so far apart? He seemed to have to run left and right to get the notes he required.
The magnification stuff went off great and I have to say In the Presence of is a great song live. After the intermission the show came back and I think they remixed the audio because it sounded a lot better, with the exception that it looked like Rick was having some problems with his keyboards. Magnification actually had some guy going nutz two rows ahead of us and Heart of the Sunrise brought the house down. But then Rick's keyboard problems returned on Awaken, where it seemed he went to other keyboards to finish the parts in the songs that the other keyboards were missing. However, you could tell Chris was giving him support cause whenever he came on stage Chris gave him a big hug and the crowd was still very please with his performance.
I really think they should have done the full And You and I, and had Owner of a Lonely Heart as the finale encore than Yours in no Disgrace. My friend only knew Roundabout. Minus the few technical glitches, a bland light show, and bad sound quality from Polaris, the show was terrific and the crowd gave them a ton of love. My one cousin asked my Dad who asked me "Why are you going to see these guys? They've been around forever?" to which I responded "Yeah exactly, and they still continue to Rock!"
P.S. Guys come back to Columbus and please play inside, outdoor theaters stink. All my best!
In spite of the fact that they've been called the "Old Firm," the current Yes lineup of Anderson, Squire, Howe, White, and Wakeman appeared more youthful than ever on Monday evening at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Jon Anderson simply refuses to slow down. His rich, high tenor voice has never sounded better. Although it was apparent that keyboard legend Rick Wakeman is still struggling to learn Yes' new material - as well as working hard to remember the old - he was incredibly musical and entertaining. His mere presence onstage takes Yes to a higher level. You can tell the band is tightening up. By this time next year (assuming the "dream team" can hold together) they're going to be dangerous!!
The Blossom setlist was basically the same as previous dates on this tour with one exception: Anderson & Company performed a very believable version of "We Have Heaven," Jon's solo track on the Fragile album. This was their lead-in to the long-awaited "South Side of the Sky," which was nearly flawless.
Speaking of flawless, I was particularly impressed by the performance of Steve Howe. For one thing, his guitar was louder in the mix than I've heard it in years. For another, he seems more relaxed and at ease with his all-too-important role within Yes - maybe because Wakeman's back. Steve also looks better than he has in ages.
Alan White performed admirably - although you could tell that a 3-hour concert in the heat was taking the piss out of him. Having said that, he's still a powerhouse, and I noticed him adding some Lars Ulrich-like bass drum patterns with his double pedal during Roundabout, which was the band's first encore.
To wrap up this lengthy blurb, this year's "Most Valuable Player" award must go directly to Mr. Christopher Squire. Not only was Chris' bass-playing monumentous and inspiring, his backing vocals were nearly perfect - an area he's been letting slip away on recent tours. Well, he made up for it TENFOLD Monday at Blossom. Chris appears to be in great shape, and he seemed to be having more fun onstage than anyone else. Don't miss this tour - this is Yes as they should be.
One final note: critics should stop calling this lineup the "Old Firm." If you must call them something (besides Yes), call them the "Legends In Progress."
Acoustics were so-so and Wakeman was a little buried, but awesome show. Howe solo was incredible, RSOG was like a religious experience (no pun intended), and Awaken brought tears to my eyes. Could have done without the Magnification material - good time to go to the bathroom. We Have Heaven/SSOTS was a great surprise; the band seemed to be having as much fun with it as the audience enjoyed hearing it. I had to spend 8 total hours on the road (with a side-trip to Erie) to see the show but it was worth it. Would have rather seen them in Pittsburgh - would have been less driving. What do they have against StarLake? Would have liked to have heard Starship Trooper - oh,well..
I'm surprised to hear the comments about Wakeman being buried in the mix. From our seats behind the soundboard section 34, the mix was well balanced and clear. then again, it's been my blossom experience that when you set in the first 5 rows, the sound is hit or miss depending on the band or the sound engineer. I thought they show was superb, with the occasional dull moments. The crowd was very enthusiastic but I could have done without the howling during the quiet interludes. Then again, it was a Cleveland area concert and the Yes fans are rabid there.
I have seen the band play many times and compared to the last few tours - Masterworks and the Symphonic tour I thought they played with more energy and resolve tonight. Rick just adds an element to the band in style and substance that can't be replaced. The mix of the show wasn't bad but I thought the sound was a little better for the Symphonic show from my vantage point which was 6th row center stage. Rick was a little buried in the mix at times. I have never seen the band appear to be enjoying themselves more and having so much fun on stage. Rick, Chris and Alan seem to be having a great time. The setlist was exactly the same as the last few shows with the exception of We Have Heaven which was played before South Side of the Sky. It was a nice surprise for the audience. South Side of the Sky really worked well live and it was finally great to hear it live after all these years. The band members took turns soloing too which reminded me a little of the ABWH tour. The Squire / White solo playing Fish/Silent Wings of Freedom was received very well. Jon played a new song called Show Me during his solo stint and was accompanied by Rick during the song. A nice setlist with a short intermission and a show that was slightly longer than the last few tours too (2:45 min.). The band chose not to play any material from Keys, Open Your Eyes or The Ladder. I thought Children of Light might have been a nice showcase for Rick especially with the orchestral opening on KeyStudio. It was just great to see this lineup together again and enjoying themselves.
Just a short review! I've seen them every tour since the early 80's (when I was first turned on to them). Biggest surprise for me was they did "We Have Heaven" from Fragile before going into Southside of the Sky!!!! EXCELLENT!!!
This was one of the more energetic peformances I've seen by them in recent tours, and they were ON except for some minor mishaps (Like Steve finishing Magnification before the rest of the band). I liked it MUCH better than the Symphonic tour, and I wouldn't try to compare it to the Masterworks tour as that was something completely different!
The crowd where I was sitting, 4th Row Center, was fantastic!! Easily one of the best YES crowds outside of a Philadelphia show I've ever experienced.
Only gripe is that Wakeman was buried in the mix, and very hard to pick up when everyone was playing. Hi solo spots shined!!
Wait, 2nd gripe..why haven't they come to Pittsburgh 2 years in a row??? They've never skipped us like this before!!??
Poor acoustics spoiled what was not already spoiled by the obnoxious crowd as far as listen-ability and sound quality was concerned. The playlist was what was expected from reading reviews of previous shows on this tour. I got a "Tales...." tee shirt for $32. That was the high point of the show. This tour should be limited to "small hall" gigs only. They also need to get a decent and sufficiently amplified emulation of the mellotron to regain the impact/value of the Fragile Tour concerts. Whoever "colors" their sound seems to have forgotten, or never knew, their King Crimson influence. The power and grandeur that was YES was not present at Blossom tonight.