Once again Yes put on a hell of a show.But,it took an act of God to get to concert to see the show.Rains closed most of the highways to get to the Woodlands and if you did not live on the northside of town you could not get to the pavillon because of flooded roads.So I hope the band did not take it personal that the people just could not get there.But we made it and enjoyed it as aways.
My first YESshow ever... (I was "just around" waiting for the next evening and RUSH), and I live in Finland, quite far from Houston... I was so ... how to say... After that, I have been sold.
Anybody who lives on the Gulf Coast can appreciate that an outdoor concert in August is always a stultifying, sweltering affair. Last night, Yes treated loyal and casual fans alike to a really hot show that, for the first time in recorded history, had nothing to do with meteorological conditions. Mother Nature graced us with a break in the incessant rain of this week, rendering the Woodlands a breezy, cool (COOL! imagine that) place for a concert, quite unheard of in August. As the fans basked in 70 degree weather, Yes blew the lid off the joint with an excellent show. The show began at precisely 8:00, as the strains of the Firebird Suite drifted across the crowd, and got off to a great start with Siberian Khatru, which was right on, but lacked a little energy. They nailed the rollicking opening to America, but again seemed a little unfocused at first. Somewhere in the song, though, they achieved laser-beam focus and energy, and pretty much maintained it throughout the rest of the evening.
The band played with enthusiasm, and obviously enjoyed the gig. Jon Anderson was singing his heart out, and really seemed blissed out at times. His voice was a bit rougher than usual, but not in any way to the detriment of the songs - he nailed 'em. Chris was the circus master, as usual, rolling, rocking, stomping, spinning, grimacing, and grinning his way through the set list, all while combining with Alan White to provide the rock-solid rhythm section we've all come to know and love. Steve Howe was focused as always, and played most excellently, but this was not his best performance ever. He had a few equipment problems, nothing so big as to prompt a tantrum, including missing most of a steel guitar solo in Magnification. Perhaps that kept him at less than 100%, who knows. He still brought the house down, and his acoustic solo was absolutely beautiful.
Rick Wakeman is BACK, and with a vengeance! I can only hope and pray that he stays with the band for a while, because he really does take them to another level. I have always sung Igor's praises, and I was really impressed with Tom Brislin in 2001, but I have to admit, this band is just plain better with Rick! His choice of patches is great, and his playing has gotten lusher. On Rockline earlier this week, he said that he and Steve seem to have a sort of musical telepathy, and always have. It was evident last night. Rick threw in a number of flourishes that built nicely off of Steve's guitar parts, and the two engaged in a blistering exchange of trade-off solos at the end of South Side of the Sky. Wakeman's arrangement skills were put to the test with In the Presence Of... and Magnification, which were originally composed, recorded and performed with orchestra instead of keyboards. I thought he rose to the challenge quite well. I loved the 5-man band arrangement of both songs. In earlier reviews, people have generally been satisfied with his parts on ItPo, but less enthusiastic about his arrangement of Magnification. Either Wakeman's arrangements have continued to evolve and improve, or I'm just a tin-eared fan-boy who can't tell cheese from fine wine. I'd prefer to believe it's the former. I loved his playing on both songs, and the stripped-down band arrangement of Magnification.
The vocals were strong, but seeing them without a singing second guitarist and a singing keyboard player shows just how much they depended on these extra voices over the last 5 years. Where I sat, Steve's vocals were unusually high in the mix, which was a little strange. He sang his parts very nicely. The vocal difference was most noticeable on Magnification, since Steve didn't sing on that one, the album version generally has 3 or 4 parts going on most of the time, and they usually sang 3 on the last tour. This is not a complaint - it sounded great - but it did take a little getting used to.
The set list was really excellent. I applaud the band for a unique and courageous set list.
I just returned from Yes in HOUSTON and they were phenominal. They put on a very good show that was full of positive energy. I left feeling very content and at peace with myself. It was almost spiritual and maybe it was. I don't know but there is something about these guys that just made the whole concert an experience worth reliving. I was worried that I might not make it because it rained all night and day and some areas were flooded. Houston has had flooding in the past year so I was worried.
Anyway, my friend here decided not to go because he was real tired so I went by myself which was cool. Secretly and subconciously I wanted to go by myself it turned out to be the long awaited break I needed. A couple of real cool things happened. First I purchased lawn seats. Anyway, I found out you could upgrade to uncovered seats for free. So I did that. Then I found out you could go to the box office and if they are available you could pay 12 bucks to upgrade to seats as close as they are available. It turns out that I got a seat 16 rows back on the aisle! When the took the stage the place wnet crazy when Rick tok the stage everyone went even more nuts! It was like his triumphant return. Peoplke in the Audience we just happy to see him. YES played great for 50 somethings. During the songs the crowd sat and listened and watched and then after they played each song the place erupted. It was especially moving when they did some things that made your jaw drop. Howe and Wakeman were doing things you only dream of and Squire and White had a rhythm that was awesome and Jon was in his own world of percussion it was so cool. Wakeman had nine keyboards and various foot pedals and was all over the place on some songs! Once he had one leg under one keyboard on some pedals, one hand on those keyboards then he had the other arm stretched way ove to the other side. It was just like the seventies. There were times when I could feel the base drum move the hair on my legs and blow my clothes. It was a wicked sensation. Another thing that happened is I ran into a friend who used to manage the CD SATORE WHERE i NOW LIVE WHICH IS 500 MILES AWAY!. He too is going through a divorce and we both were there finally able to be ourselves and do what we like. It was great.
Anyway, when YES left the stage and we waited patiently for the encore I walked up to the pit area and waited for them to come out. A guy working the gate to the pit said to me,"You can't be in the aisle!" so I was about to go back to my seat when he motioned for me to go in the pit and watch the encore!!!! I was maybe 15 feet from where they were playing. Man, they are wrinkly! But it was great...then I drove the 37 miles home and now I am writing to you. Anyway Rush is tomorrow from the pit area...we will see if I can survive that one!
The bass coming from the PA was mind-numbing. The majority of it, I'm now convinced, comes from Alan's kick bass drum.
We were treated to both Roundabout and YIND. We were also treated to a huge thunderstorm all day yesterday, but it cleared up in time for the show. I thought we were going to have another YesStorm - 30 years (and two days) to the day of the Merriweather '72 show. Funny, hearing Jon say "It quit raining," as he did at Merriweather.