Friday, November 15, 2002
Akron Civic Theatre
20 years, 4 months and 11 days ago
I think this concert was the one that finally got me hooked on YES for life. I saw YES in 99 i believe when i was only 11 and liked it but not too much. I then saw them when i was 14 at this show in akron and absolutely fell in love. I have listened to nothing but YES ever since. I am not 18 and all i listen to in my car, on my computer, in headphones and anywhere else... is YES. This was the show that changed my life. Anderson was amazing and my mom who took me thought that they couldn't have sounded this good live and they were sure that it was a recording being played over the speakers (since it was my parents first time seeing YES since the 80's). But they boys still had/have it. What a wonderful night.
Yeah, I need a job where I can follow the tour. They put on an incredible show, but itís mostly because of the music. The visuals are subtle, like a pastel tye-dye in motion, with an occasional blast of light focused on the audience. They play Close to the Edge so well. This year they added South Side of the Sky, from Fragile, which theyíve never done live; and they started SSotS off with We Have Heaven. Like on the album, the WHH jam stops with a slam of a door then footsteps. Then Wakeman piano for SSotS. It was cool.
Steve Howe still has nimble fingers, but he doesnít play the songs exactly the way they were recorded, heís constantly improvising. He was playing his solo and part of it was from The Ancient, from Tales of Topographic Oceans and I believe he was expecting Jon to duet with him singing Do the leaves of green stay greener through the autumn, but Jon didnít come on stage, so Steve yells out ďNOW!Ē a couple of times during the solo. It was hilarious. Iím telling you, the whole show, Steve is cranking out such intricate music changing guitars several times every song.
Chris Squire, though heavy in the midsection, dances all night as he plays. In this concert, you can hear so much more his bass and how melodic an influence to the music that it is, and how much virtuosity is there. He soloed too, when they did Long Distance Runaround that led into The Fish. So he did The Fish, but the solo continued to include some incredible riffs from Tempus Fugit from Drama (the only non-Jon album) and then the Silent Wings of Freedom from Tormato, which really is my favorite Chris moment.
Jonís voice is still strong, and the lyrics are so powerful, but in concert, multi-orgasmic. Plus heís got his own percussion area for when they go into a non-vocal part of a song. Gongs, and triangle and those bells that all lined up, sticks, a harp (mainly for that middle jam on Awaken from Going for the One) and a bunch of other stuff.
Rick Wakeman is back in the band. And really enjoying himself, jumping around between five (or more, if there were any two-high ensembles) keyboards, set in a circle. I think he had the most sound problems, I was pretty sure he had to improvise on some songs because the sound died on one of the keyboards. I think they fixed that right away though, because he did some righteous solos on that one later. Man, his hands move fast and accurate and with feeling for each song. I was in the balcony so I got a great view of that.
Alan White, also was enjoying himself. He is hard to watch too long because the other guys are so awesome that I had to concentrate on them. But when I did, it was a real treat. He is constantly subtly adding so much to the sound, so many off-count hits to the snare or high-hat, while keeping a beat that energizes the music and the audience; and during the softer moments, of which there are many, heís integral to creation of the magic.
Jack, their new sixth member sang (hey, there wasnít anybody within six rows of me, and they were off to the side) with such emotion and danced his ass off from the back row of the balcony (not too many witnesses). Hooting between songs, never during. Almost didnít make it, story below. As taken from the post at www.yestalk.org .
Well, I did it. I took off from work around 3pm yesterday afternoon journeyed across Ohio to enjoy the show. Thatís it in a nutshell.
Warning long post...
At work things were going fairly slow I was caught up until about noon, when three things fell in to my to do list. So I started to tell my mind that it just might not happen. No big deal, the weather for travel wasnít supposed to be very good, the four hour (if traffic behaves well) one way trip to see a show I just saw in Columbus less than two weeks ago, no big deal.... *bleep*. So 1pm, 2pm goes by and thereís still a chance, but tying up the loose ends was running into snags, but I REALLY wanted to go, so I did
This concert was exceptional!!!! Excecpt from latter portion posted. The Venue is of extreme ellegance of one of 5 theatres of "theme" in the US. The accoustics were exceptional!!!! The performance exceptional!!!! A sold out crowd of many dedicated "YES" fans!! I was at the Blossom music concert in the summer and this concert was far better. The band seemed more energetic and the performance as a whole was 100% better. Of the classic "Yes" material this was premo.
We were seated in the Loge ( upper portion) right beside the the guy in charge of the lighting. He did a good job. I asked him for his set list at the concerts end. He was very polite and told me that he gave his to another person. He told me to go to the sound tech post and inquire there. I hurried downstairs to get there. There I was given a set list of (computer generated) and was told very sarcastically " I'm sure you will get a good price on ebayfor this item and threw another set list at me that was different without the intermission. Frankly I was put off by this comment. I know there are a lot of people out there that will sell stuff like this. But.............
Being pretty close in age as the band members and have being a loyal fan of many years, needless to say I was a little ticked. I can't count how many times I have paid to see the band in my life time or how many programs and tee shirs I have bought. and ect. YEs is my all time favorite band of all time and probably always be but don't treat my like some flake PLease. Do I have to tell you that I would never sell these items as they are important to me!!!
Maybe next year I won't go to 3 concerts in my state to see the band I love. Wake up people like another famous band said " all you touch all all you see, will all your life will ever be". Think about it and be more fan friendly. We are the ones keeping you going (financially anyway).
On the brighter side YES has alway been very uplifting to listen to ALWAYS. I respect the band and thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. I will remain a dedicated YES fan hw could I not be!?!? Thanks for the great show and PLEASE remember us your loyal and dedicated fans.
Yes still in harmony
Members give Akron performances befitting their status as prog-rock
By Malcolm X Abram
The nearly full house that came to the Akron Civic Theatre on Friday night saw two star attractions.
The first was what they had paid to see, the English progressive rock band Yes, which performed a 2 Ĺ hour set of its intricate music encompassing nearly all of its 34-year history.
The second attraction was the recently reopened building itself, which almost served as an opening act as audience members walked around gawking at the renovations and reminiscing about past concert experiences before the band took the stage. Later in the evening, even singer Jon Anderson felt compelled to comment, ``This place is such a dump, it's so dirty,'' he said jokingly.
When the five-piece band did step on stage, to the recorded strains of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, the crowd was quickly snapped out of their nostalgic reverie with the opening chords of Siberian Khatru from Close To The Edge.
To nonfans,prog-rock's trademarks -- exhaustingly lengthy songs with complex chord changes, jumpy time signatures and often obtuse lyrics -- are much too cerebral to be considered good, old-fashioned rock 'n' roll. But what has made Yes more commercially successful than many of their '70s peers such as King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer is their ability to drop in some catchy hooks, soaring melodies and basic rock riffs among all the technical fireworks.
In their three-plus decades, there have been many permutations of the band, but the current lineup of guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, drummer Alan White and singer Jon Anderson is the most beloved by fans.
The group delivered by faithfully recreating many fan favorites with just enough flourishes to make the performances unique.
Throughout the show, Anderson, Squire and Howe's harmonies were as tight as they were on the records. And, although he celebrated his 58th birthday last month, Anderson -- known for his high, ethereal vocals -- can still hit the high notes as he proved early on during In The Presence Of... from their most recent studio release Magnification.
The set list concentrated on the band's 1970s heyday, completely ignoring its '80s flirtation with pop that produced their biggest hit Owner Of A Lonely Heart. Instead, the band performed several of its multipart songs, including a sonically perfect version of the nearly 20-minute Close To The Edge. Yes also played most of its 1972 breakthrough release Fragile, including the classic rock staples Roundabout and Long Distance Runaround.
Befitting their status as prog-rock deities, each of the band members took solo spotlights with Howe (whose receding hairline, horn-rimmed glasses and stern face made him look like an Oxford professor moonlighting in a rock band), performing a few songs on acoustic nylon string guitar.
Anderson sang a lovely song accompanying himself on guitar. Wakeman used his many stacks of keyboards to mash out a pieces of his The Six Wives of Henry VIII and a finger cramping solo that sounded like a fugue Bach might have written had he spent a few nights in New Orleans. Squire, the most animated of the group, did his Whitefish medley with help from White and jumped around the stage posing dramatically -- all to the delight of the crowd.
Just saw the Akron Ohio show last night. I had sort of given up on live rock in large venues after years of proving to myself that the sound quality gets destroyed by bouncing around the room. Last night was sort of the same. Though the place wasn't that big, it was probably designed for unamplified, or quiet music. All the complexity of the music was lost in a low rumble. There was no soft clear highs either.
That aside, I think they really played well. Anderson seemed have excellent intonation. I didn't see any evidence of Steve blowing the fast parts, though some of the songs ran slightly slower in tempo. Steve's guitar was the best sounding instrument in the room. He also seemed really into it and moved around a lot. Chris' bass got lost a lot in the hall. The bass drum was mixed way too hot, though after the intermission the mix seemed a bit better. (I actually told the mix guy about the bass drum) The music sounded MUCH better during less busy, quieter parts. With the natural reverb created by the room, a solo instrument, or maybe two was all that could be performed cleanly. So the highlights for me was Howe solo, some piece Jon played with him on guitar and a little keyboard, Wakeman solo, In the Presence of. They finished with Starship Trooper. The crowd went nuts and really seemed to have a good time throughout.
I'd love to hear the recording from the mixing board of that show. I bet it sounded great. Instead I heard really good equipment bouncing off too many walls. We went to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame today on the way home. They saw my 8 year old kids new Yes cap and told him that Wakeman and White where at the Hall of Fame yesterday.
I had fun anyway. The place was just renovated and looked really nice. Almost a full house.