I made the trip to South Bend for the 10/26 show. This was one of the ones with Porcupine Tree opening. I don't care for PT, but I'll say this for them...their light show beats the hell out of Yes'.
PT stylistically is sort of a conglomeration of a few groups that come to mind....Tool and Pink Floyd are the two most prominent. The main vocalist/main guitar player is about the only thing that is happening in that band, and I find him to be pretty one dimensional. Enough with the doom and gloom, and write a damn song and/or show me that you can play. They had as couple of nice moments, but over all there isn't much for me to hang my hat on. They are not functioning on a level that even approaches a distant third cousin of a Yes. They have youth and angst going for them primarily. He had decent accompanists that stayed out of his way, and to their credit, made him sound large and in charge. I have no desire to see them again.
Yes, on the other hand, for the most part is in many ways was the complete opposite of PT. They came out with a lot more fire and energy. Without going into too much anal retentive detail, I'll try to give you my thumbnail impression of the performance.
My biggest concern for Yes is Jon Anderson's voice. He started out dead on with SK, but about halfway through the evening, it was clear that he was becoming more and more unsupported in his lower registers. I observed that he was holding back quite a bit by the later stages of the show. I honestly didn't think that he would be inclined to attempt an encore. In my opinion, the clock is ticking for Mr. Anderson..so you better get it all in while you can. I respect the hell out of him for making a go of it, but with each successive tour I see the wear and tear. He is a true rock and roll road warrior, and deserves his propers for keeping it together so that he can show up and get through these gigs.
Chris and Alan were right where you would expect them to be..in the pocket and punching hard. Chris was his usually hammy self. He plays the shit out of his parts and doesn't seem to let the dopey stage moves get in the way of actual playing. I respect that a lot. You get more energy, musical and entertainment value out of Chris than you do out of PT collectively. It is after all a show, now isn't it? Alan managed to steer clear of Chris' bass at the end of the night, which Rick was quick to take away from him before he could inflict any further damage on their drummer. It was funny..I could actually see Rick looking around to locate Alan to make sure he was out of the line of fire........
On this night, Steve gave me several indications that he possesses a whimsical "just fucking around" side to his Yessishness. He seemed to be making an effort to come up with new ways to mangle his parts to keep him from getting too bored. I really enjoyed a few of the things he came up with. He hasn't suprised me in a LONG time. Tonight he did a couple of times. Unfortunately, I think on this evening that his compulsion to reinvent made him the cause of several near trainwrecks. It didn't happen, but there were definitely a few "lost in space" moments for the band that I attribute to Steve's sudden indulgences. Interestingly, I observed at least once when he fucked up a part, that he reacted to it with a sheepish smile.....which is about as human and semi normal as I have ever seen him be on stage since he rejoined the band in "96. I liked it. As a side note, the electric sitar was MIA in CTTE, so he just stuck with his ES345 for the whole song. Maybe Shooz got hungry and ate it......
Rick was pretty tight with the proceedings. They didn't really change the setlist, just eliminating America and adding CTTE, and he seemed to be sight reading a lot less of the show than he was in July. I don't think the coke bottle glasses were donned at all last night. Maybe I'm hallucinating, but I think that Rick has spent some time working up sequenc
Chris was also the only one NOT to stop, chat and sign a few things outside the stage door after the show. Jon stood out of reach for 15 minutes 'talking on his new cell-phone' while several folks waited. He then came over and signed everything, but spoke very little. The 15 minutes on the phone must have drained his voice, although he usually blames it on the previous 140 minutes of singing. Steve tried a quick exit, but stopped and was signing things while wearing gloves. He even shook the hand of a young lady. Alan came out, and was once again, a true gentleman. Rick followed. Rick was obviously happy to be signing and acknowledging the fans' support. Both Rick and Alan actually communicated and took their time being gracious and cordial to congrats, conversation and general adulation. Chris crawled into the front seat of the van as Steve, Alan, Jon & Rick gave a little more to the fans that spent a lot of time, money and energy following the musicians' careers and the current tour.
Once again, the road crew was polite and understanding of the cluster of folks slowing down their work. The crew is a CLASS ACT.
I am still scratching my head about the reason for an opening act. It can only diminish the headliner's share of the gate, unless the theory is that new blood will help sell the balance of the unsold tickets. Generally a lack-luster opening act. There were too many times when 30 seconds of sounds were coming from all the musicians NOT TOUCHING an instrument. I understand samples filling out a sound, I do not understand complete passages being generated with ONE KEY STROKE. It was unique when Floyd did it in 1970, it is a little disappointing when it is the BEST part of the performance in today's live concerts. They did have some nice shiney toys, but they were in a tough position, trying to please another band's fanbase, like the folks that turned out to see YES in South Bend. Another YES song and the solos would have made me a happier camper.
Some problems in the sound mix were corrected, and some fans were STOOPIDLY vocal. Yes does not do requests, and hollering "Tales from Topografffical (sic) Oceans" seems like a request doomed to not being fulfilled (pick a song... ANY song... NOT an entire OPUS).
All things being equal, the band kicked ass, and seemed to be having fun with the show. Jon even redirected Rick to start Starship Trooper, as it seemed as though he was starting into something Jon and the band weren't quite ready for. Watching musicians of this quality being human is worth the price of admission. Hearing them deliver virtuoso performances is icing on the cake! Chris and Rick seemed to be the most ACTIVE showmen of the night.
Sure [Squire] was hamming it up. He was drinkin 7-7s all night. He took his bow in front of me spilled his drink on the floor and it reaked of some hard stuff. He also looks like he's gained 25 lbs.
Good show, looked like a full house from my vantage point (floor, center, about halfway back). Rick's keys were pretty severely undermixed at times, and I got the impression that Jon was getting a little annoyed with some of the loudmouths in the crowd. He basically got shouted down a few times when he was trying to talk between songs. He must have gotten over it, though, because he actually reached into the front rows after the encore and signed some Yes album covers. Chris was the star of the evening as usual, though, hamming it up and smiling almost the whole night.
Setlist: -Firebird/Siberian -Close to the Edge (slowest I've ever heard the intro) -Starship Trooper (nice synth solo by Rick in "Wurm." Looked like he was using a vintage synth, maybe an ARP or Minimoog. Hard to tell from my seat.) -In the Presence Of (I could barely hear Rick at all on this one, which left a lot of empty space in the performance) -We Have Heaven -South Side of the Sky (back-and-forth solos between Howe and Wakeman near the end; Alan did just fine as usual) -Magnification -Don't Kill the Whale -Heart of the Sunrise (Jon tried some banter before the song, cut himself off when someone started whooping it up, and just quietly walked off the stage and let the band kick in the intro) -Awaken (Rick's "organ" work was thunderous) -encore: Roundabout (full version)
Yes played for about 2hrs 10min. It looks like they're planing on doing their complete setlist for the PT shows, with the exception of the solo breaks and "LDR."
Porcupine Tree had a few vocal fans in the crowd, but I'd say they got a mediocre response from the crowd at best. They focused almost exclusively on _In Absentia_, with one or two cuts from their previous album. I understand that they feel the need to highlight the new CD, but I think that tossing in a few of their spacier/proggier bits, from the _Sky Moves Sideways_ era and previous, would have gone over better with the Yes crowd. Most of their selections were quite heavy, aggressive, and grungy. (What is a Yes fan supposed to do with a piece called "The Hate Song," anyway?? ;-)
PT got 45 minutes. Yes hit the stage about 35 minutes later.
Porcupine Tree was great!!!!!! They had two screens behind them. And the lighting was great.
Yes took the stage about 8:15 and was done by 10:00.
For people who don,t know. Deeper is In the Presence of.
I really liked the two new songs. I think Rick did a good job on them.
Ohhhhhh And Chris was great on Starship. He started dancing all the way across the stage.
Downside. I could not hear Alan's drums clearly. I coudn,t hear his Snare at all. The drums for PT was great sounding. So i guess it,s a mixing error. And Rick was low in the mix at times too.
But still a great show. I wish i had the money to go to the Fort wayne or Chicago Show.
P.S. I still would have love to see Dance of the Dawn live. (RSOG). I love that song!!
Having missed the Chicago show, I made the trek to South Bend and left quite satisfied.
After muddling through Siberian Khatru and CTTE, the band hit their stride on Starship Trooper and never looked back. I have to agree that Jon seems to get better with age and still has great vocal range and inflection. It was great to see Rick perform since the last I saw him was on the Tormato tour - and of course ABWH tour. Chris and Alan played together - great as usual and Steve was in good form.
Now ... Even though Yes sacraficed a couple of songs and drawn out solo's, I couldn't be more pleased with the opening act - "Porcupine Tree" These guys are absolutely amazing playing with precision and musical expression that we're used to seeing from our favorite band Yes. I thought it was well worth giving up a little to witness the fresh new music PT is putting out in support of "In Abstentia" I would be remiss to mention that most of the main floor supports my comments as evidenced by the standing ovation given them - Not too usual for a support act. I've had the good fortune to see Yes play live a dozen times and would love to add PT to that list.
The absence of solos and intermission did make it more intense. This was a good thing. Only bad thing was they had to drop Long Distance Runaround also. I would have been pretty disappointed if they kept the solos and dropped something else, however. Very good choice on their part to do it this way, and I was overjoyed with the setlist they kept. They played 2 hours and 15 minutes uninterrupted.
As far as sloppiness goes, they were much better this time around on Siberian and SSOTS. I would describe Siberian as a lacking a little fire compared to the studio version, but with pretty good timing. They seemed to slow down some parts, but they were in sync. I would describe SSOTS as quite tight and energetic. Where they were sloppy was on the newly added songs CTTE and Starship. In fact, for the first minute of CTTE, Steve and Rick were completely out of sync and the result was cacophonous. Rick and Steve were shooting each other puzzled looks, highlighted by a Steve Howe Shrug and some Rick Wakeman smirking. When they got to the first vocal, they corrected it and were close to tight on most of the rest of the song, though sometimes Steve seemed a half beat behind. On Starship Trooper, Steve seemed a little off also-- a fraction of a beat off, making some of his attacking leads miss their mark and some of his arpegiated chords were a little out of time also. The rest of the band was very tight during this song, however. The rest of the show, expecailly HOTS and Awaken, they were on fire and precise, Steve included.
The vocal Harmonies were tight and perfect--quite powerful. I noticed that on SSOTS, Chris was doing the higher vocal harmony part which seemed strange. I don't think that's how it's recorded, or how they performed it in Chicago last leg.
Rick Wakeman was a madman in South Bend, running back and forth between keyboards, never missing a beat or flubbing a long intricate run (except the beginning of CTTE as mentioned above). He was just amazing all night long.
Alan White was solid as usual, playing pretty much flawlessly, though rarely getting the spotlight.
Chris Squire was great also, and was the source of energy for the performance, dancing and running around on stage throughout the show. His vocals were also very strong.
Jon Anderson is definitely still on top of his game, vocal-wise. He hit every note strongly, even the highest note, with power and grace. Quite remarkable to hear how great his voice is, even after all these years, and, as mentioned before, the harmonies were beautiful and moving.