Friday, October 25, 2002
Chastain Park Amphitheater
20 years, 5 months and 1 day ago
Two Yes shows in one year in Atlanta? A rarity I couldn't pass up. After seeing the show at Lakewood earlier that year I doubted anything could measure up. That was THE show for me, THE setlist too. I had so much fun at that one though I was up for another dose of this classic lineup. What others have said is true about Chastain Park Ampi. I have seen many shows there and often the season ticket holding yuppies chatter through the whole show. I don't recall them being here this year though. Unlike when the OYE tour there which was a mixing travesty, followed close by the Symph tour, also there. No, this was one night when the mix was actually good and clear at Chastain. This set didn't set my soul afire like the Lakewood one did, but it had some good moments. Seeing them do Close to the Edge with Rick was certainly the hilight. Other songs just seemed kinda....there. Like Starship Trooper and Yours is No. Yours is No is best as an encore, it is always kinda limp as an opener. It was nice to catch South Side again too! Did it rain that day? I think it did....
I must have been very close to the guy who gave the review just before me. I saw Yes twice this year - Yes were very good at this show and being very close to the stage was exciting but I found mself cupping my ears to block-out the chatter from the ding-dongs who talk during the show. I was getting torqued at the chatters but cupping me ears tuned them out and amplified the band. Yes put on a very nice show and having Wakeman there was nice. I could have seen this show indoors with only 2,000 fans at Ruth Eckerd in Clearwater (a lot closer to my house). What a dumb-ass.
First of all, I have to give Chastain Ampitheater the "thumbs up" on this particular night. From where I was sitting, three rows behind the floor area on the Steve Howe side of the stage, the sound was near perfect...crystal clear, not overpowering, but sufficiently loud enough to be fully enjoyed. The weather was cooperative in that it rained just enough before to frighten away a goodly share of the "we just want to socialize and don't give a rat's ass what band is onstage" Buckhead element, but not enough to screw up the show for those of us who actually give a damn.
I can't really call this an "encore" performance, since the set was significantly different from the August 13 show and I thought the band was ever so much tighter this time out. The overall happy good vibes that permeated the summer show were still in evidence, but Rick Wakeman seemed much more fully reintegrated into the band, particularly on the _Magnification_ selections and the band seemed comfortable and confident enough to play around with a few musical details here and there. I thought they were a bit tentative before. Jon started out a bit scratchy sounding, but improved as the night went on. The rest of the band seemed primed from the word "go!".
This was my tenth Yes concert, which isn't that many by AMY standards, but it may just end up being a close second favorite overall behind the 2000 Masterworks performance, which remains the best show I've seen by anyone ever. Yes, we've heard all of these songs before on recent tours, but Wakeman's presence really was a difference maker. They verily tore through the stuff like they recorded it last week.
One thing that is completely obvious after this show: There is simply no subsitute for a genuine Mini-Moog. especially beneath the fingers of Mr. Wakeman, and his competitive spark as a soloist honestly does seem to spur Steve Howe to greater heights.
Some folks in the crowd tried to get "Happy Birthday" going for Jon after his acoustic spot. A few minutes later Chris Squire led the crowd and the band in a more formal rendition. That was a particularly nice moment that I won't soon forget.
The show was nice. I was front row center [thanks, Brian] and got to sing "Happy Birthday" to Jon Anderson.
Everyone was on with the exception of Steve Howe -- he wasn't just missing a few licks. His slide parts were flawless, his solos -- perfection. But nearly everything else he did was really preventing me from fully enjoying the songs -- esp. during "Awaken." And what's really odd is Steve was especially animated on Friday! He got as close to jamming with either Chris or Rick as I've ever seen: he walked over to Jon's area and began playing in their direction. Wow -- Steve was in great spirits, but his playing really disappointed me. I even like his fashion sense. But what was up with him? I won't name who, but another fan even speculated that Steve was purposely playing down and not doing his best. Personally, I think that's an extreme accusation -- but his solos were so great!
Aside from the plethora of drunk, rude bastards who somehow felt it necessary to either sit up front or walk between the front row and the stage just to carry a conversation and consume mass quantities of alcohol, I had a great time being able to just "rear back" and take in the show. Jon had an ethereal smile on his face -- and sounded wonderful -- for most of the evening, and Chris *never* misses any licks -- he's always in top form.
Though I was so close I paid little attention to it, there was even a light show, Paul! I think I saw a projection of either the Keyhole or Crab Nebula on the screen.
I was surprised to hear "Starship Trooper" as the second song. I've always considered it better near the end of a show.
Almighty songs of the evening -- "South Side of the Sky," "Heart of the Sunrise," "Magnification," "Don't Kill the Whale." I've especially noticed the improvement in "South Side" and "Mag." [I just could not enjoy "Awaken" as I have always done before due to some discrepancy in Steve's playing.]
"South Side" -- the middle part harmonies were 300% better! "Magnification" -- a modern classic! Yes really hit a groove in this performance. They were all diggin' it!
It was cool hangin' with Brian, Cherry, her husband and chatting with Star Dog (sorry, forgot your real name!)
These guys, as always, were great. I saw them at Lakewood in August, and this show was almost as good. There were a few goofs, and some technical problems, but nothing in life is perfect and this was just the second show in the second half of the tour so I expected it not to be as polished as the August show. The band looked as if they were having a great time and they all were in high spirits. Chris led the audience in a round of Happy Birthday for Jon. That was great fun. I noticed Alan stayed away from Chris, in a joking way, when they came out for their bows! I guess one knock on the nose with a bass is enough!
Now as far as Chastain goes, I wish they would never play there again. As far as I am concerned they should take the seats out, and fill it with water and make it into a lake. A lot of the people who go there are season ticket holders, and are there for a social event and talk and talk and talk throughout the show. For folks like myself who are hardcore Yes fans it is hard to listen to, and enjoy the wonderful music when folks all around you are talking the entire show. And as they drink more and more they get louder and louder, not to mention I think these folks are being rude to the band. Don't even try to tell these people to be quite or else you will be looked on as some kind of freak and they will get louder just to spite you. How dare you come and expect to hear the band. After last years concert there I swore I would not come back and see Yes there unless I could get close. I was able to get a seat in the pit 11 rows from the stage and I thought that this would be ok and I would be around other true Yes fans there to hear the music. Boy was I wrong. I was surrounded by season ticket holders there to get drunk and talk loudly.
If the band reads these posts, please, please, please stick to Lakewood or even better yet, try for the Fox theatre next time. This way the people buying the tickets will be coming to hear you play and will not be there to talk. You guys are incredible and deserve better and we as true Yes fans want to come and hear you and share in the moment as well.
Once again, thanks to Jon, Alan, Steve, Chris and Rick for coming to Atlanta twice this year. I wish you a wonderful tour and look forward to your next tour. You guys are great and we, the true Yes fans really appreciate you. Keep up the great music.