This was the first of two gigs on my fifth trek from Britain to see Yes in action. Thankfully a side-trip to Pennsylvania during an East Coast family and friends visit made it possible. Really good, also, to link up with fellow fans John Connor and Andy Oretsky again… even if Andy nearly caused us a heart attack by losing his ticket in a nearby diner shortly before show time! Thankfully, that one got sorted.
In principle I prefer to see Yes without support, but I confess that I was delighted to hear Porcupine Tree again, this time with Yes in the US. Great choice of support: a cutting edge, modern band which takes the ‘progressive’ ideal into fresh, left-field territory. Fewer than half the eventual audience bothered to turn out for their set, featuring material from ‘In Absentia’. Kind of confirms the view that many Yes fans are stuck in the past and musically quite conservative, sadly.
I can’t say the Yes set did a lot to dispel that image, either. Rick Wakeman’s sounds aren’t great, but overall the band played a mixed set of classics and a few pieces from new album ‘Magnification’ very well, despite a few technical glitches. Credit to the band for keeping all but ‘And You And I’ in the concert. This was not quite the high point that was the Symphonic tour, and I really miss Tom Brislin on keys, but it’s great to see the band maintaining momentum. An energetic show.
Just got back from the Tower and I'm too wound to sleep. What a great show - it's hard to believe Yes is still putting on amazing, 2 1/2 hour shows after over 30 years. We got the full show tonight, including the solos (albeit *slightly* shortened) and Starship Trooper in the encore after Roundabout. There was no intermission. Pretty cool, since most shows that had Porcupine Tree opening were cut short. Not this one! PT was interesting, but I would have been ticked if having an opener caused Yes to shorten the show.
Aside from a few technical glitches, most notably Chris' triple-neck bass going out at the very end of Awaken (the "Like the time I ran away" section) and seemingly constant monitor problems, the performance was excellent. Steve even smiled on a few occasions! It seems that the band is really having a great time and it showed in their performance.
My seat was sixth row, just right of center stage, directly in front of Chris. The sound was LOUD, but relatively clear. It did seem the sound crew screwed up several times, including dropping Chris’ vocals during the “I Get Up, I Get Down” section of Close to the Edge, and Steve’s acoustic during the middle of Starship Trooper, among others. I’ve done live sound mixing myself, and I have to think the issue was in the equipment and not the sound engineer. It was the same guy they had on the first leg, and I would think if he often made as many obvious mistakes as I heard tonight, I would think he would be out of a job. (Hmm, I wonder if they would consider hiring me on? How cool would that be?)
Jon was also having constant problems with his in-ear monitors. At one point, once his problem was corrected only after several animated attempts to communicate with the monitor mixer what was wrong, he laughed and blew a kiss in the hapless engineer’s direction. The crowd cheered and Jon laughed at our reaction to his monitor woes. Pretty funny.
All in all a wonderful show. I think it was a better performance then the show I saw on the first leg of the 2002 tour – they seemed to have much more energy. I hope they keep on playing - I’ll go see them as long as they keep coming around.
Thanks Jon, Steve, Chris, Rick & Alan. You guys are simply amazing and I consider myself extremely blessed to be a fan of Yes.
Another great show from YES. This was the 4th time I've seen them this year, and easily ranks with the Camden NJ show from 8/8/02. The set-list was switched up a bit from this summer, with "new" pieces such as Close to the Edge, Long Distance Runaround and Starship Trooper added to the setlist (while dropping America, Revealing Science of God and Yours Is No Disgrace). Awaken, Close to the Edge and Starship Trooper were the highlights for me. South Side of the Sky, Siberian Khatru and Heart of the Sunrise were all very strong. It is nice to see/hear SSotS after the song sat dormant for nearly the entire live history of the band.
The only flaws I saw in this set were some technical difficulties with Steve's acoustic in Trooper, Rick's keys in CTTE, and sometimes vocal mics were turned off, noticeably in Siberian and CTTE.
Otherwise, all the guys in the band were right on and had a lot of enthusiasm and energy. The sound was great and the light show adequately entertaining. It amazes me how they have made such huge steps forward as a band in the last 5 or 6 years, they seem to know and understand what their fans want. They have realized that taking care of the fans will also take care of them!
There's something about YES playing in the Philadelphia area that seems to bring out the best in them as a band. The fans certainly love them here, and they are die-hards. There are few casual concert fans that go to these shows, and even fewer that go for the party! Given that, the audiences are generally very attentive and appreciative. Occasionally, we get the obnoxious jerk who feels the need to shout out or whistle during the song or someone's solo bit, thank goodness the rest of us are kinder and better than that!
See you all next time!
After hearing other reviews about sound quality and general sloppiness from this years sound and road crews, I was somewhat concered about this years show. What a waste of energy on my part. Simply a great,great show. Sound was crisp and clear, each member of the band was ON, and the crews even showed up for an honest days work. This ranks right up there with one of their best ever. The only thing missing were the lasers and the Roger Dean staging from the 70`s shows. It`s simply amazing how these guys keep to their standard of excellence, year after year. Too many highlights to pick just one but I`ll go with the last 5-8 minutes of "Awaken" as truly a spiritual experience that only a band like Yes can deliver.