Tuesday, June 24, 2003
19 years, 9 months ago
The afternoon before the gig I was on an errand when I bumped into Jon Anderson and Jane at the central shopping area in Rotterdam. After being a fan for over 30 years and seeing Yes more than half a dozen times, this was like a dream come true. The few words we exchanged I still consider an inspiring experience and certainly more worth while than the show itself later that evening! Better luck next time, Gents.
It was too hot and they were too tired,not a good show.
I’m going to be very honest about how the evening was for me and there obviously will be other people, for who it was different.
I have very mixed feelings about the whole evening. Jon, Chris, Steve, Rick and Alan all played superb, you could really tell they were enjoying themselves and they really proved their still belong to the group of finest musicians that have ever walked the earth. Jon’s voice was ever so clear, Steve was on top of his game, I don’t think I ever heard Rick play so fast during his solo, Chris was pounding away the whole evening and Alan, as always, worked his but off. That was all nothing less than greatness.
However what was very much to my dislike was the sound. First of all the overall sound was way to soft, especially to fill a hall, like the Ahoy hall. The two last times I saw Yes (Ladder tour, OYE tour) they played at Vredenburg in Utrecht and maybe that place is just more suiting to the Yes music in general, but I’m also sure that the overall sound was much louder there. My personal opinion is that when I attend a concert I want to be overwhelmed by the music, it’s got to surround me fully. Now I could here the conversation, the people four chairs away from me were having now and then. Also Rick and especially Alan were way to far back in the mix. For whole periods of time you could hardly hear Alan’s snare drum (and we all now, that he is not exactly the most subtle drummer around) and some off Rick’s stuff got lost in the mix to.
During the first few songs you could really tell, that the guys as well as the audience had to loosen up a bit. “Siberian Kathru”, great opener, but the sound was really way to soft here, the sound engineers turned up the volume a bit with “Magnification”. I like this version with Rick a lot, he has made great key arrangements to it. “Don’t Kill the Whale”, was very nice to hear, although Rick’s solo’s, ever so important to this song, got a bit lost in the mix. “In the Presence of” sounded a bit weak to me, especially during the first part of the song, I have to say, I like the album version and the Symphonic dvd version better. “We Have Haven/South Side of the Sky” was, for me, one of the highlights of the evening. Superbly played and loved the duelling from Rick and Steve at the end of the song. “And You And I” still one the great classics, was also very, very good. Steve’s solo was for some Dutch fans the sign to start talking, walking and getting drinks: shame on them!! What a guitar player this man is, love him! After the intermission we got Jon’s “Show Me”, a nice song, but I think it can be improved by the whole band playing on it with a few solo’s here and there. Rick’s solo, although heard before, was excellent. I don’t think I ever saw him play this fast, he is still on top of his game. “Heart of the Sunrise”, gotta love this song, especially loved Chris’s bass play during this song. “Fish/Whitefish”, my personal opinion is that this solo can even be far wackier and no soft passages in the middle, keep the beat going!! Alan’s sound was way to soft on this to, by the way. “Long Distance Runaround” was very well played, I’ve heard some versions in the past, that were a bit messy, but this time it was great. “Awaken”, the Yes masterpiece, as far as I’m concerned. Beautiful, beautiful and again beautiful, apart then from that large group of fans who still don’t seem to know, how long this epic is and started applauding twice in the song, before it ended. The first encore we got was “I’ve seen all Good People”, witch was the first time they played it on this tour(apart from the opening night). Although I love this song, I would have preferred the much lesser live played “Yours is No Disgrace”, but hey you can’t have ‘em all, can you? Last encore was the abridged version of “Roundabout”. People were clapping and screaming so long after that, that I thought the audience deserved it to have the band playing one more song, but they didn’t and he
I'm afraid this will not be a very positive review of the concert. Apart from the fact that the sound wasn't that good (the famous Ahoy-hall......), there were severe timing problems between the band members. Mr. Howe is one of my great guitar heroes, but his playing was totally out of sync with the rest of the band, from start to finish. His solo-spot was great, but the rest of the evening his playing was highly uninspired.
But the main problem to me was the fact that this was a band simply tearing off another show. No intensity, no inspiration, no fire!
I have seen Yes in concert before, and I enjoyed those concerts very much, but this was a performance I'd like to wipe from my memory very quickly!
I started out in front of the audience taking photographs of the band during the first 3 songs.
So because of that I couldn’t really enjoy the music as I would normally have done.
It sounded good, but I just didn’t have the time to listen very well.
After putting away my gear and returning to the hall, I quickly moved to the stage to enjoy the rest of the show, leaving my brother and my wife and children behind because I would attend the after party later.
From the moment I reached the front rows, I felt the energy sparkling all around me and I had the greatest time of my life.
It was even better than the Symphonic show at the Heineken Music Hall on 11-22-01 which I thought was the best ever at that time.
Of course the acoustical qualities of the Ahoy Hall can never be compared to those of the HMH but the pure raw energy coming from the band easily made up for that.
The songs that followed were all played with great enthusiasm and were all top notch!
Show me by Jon almost brought tears to my eyes and when Rick very subtle joined in as well I was a goner. A very moving piece of music and so very typically Jon.
Awaken was the absolute highlight of the evening with the most beautiful part played by Rick as only he can play it.
I shall not go on too long about Rick’s solo piece. It is sufficed to say that is was absolutely brilliant! How he manages to let his fingers touch the keys so fast is and will ever be an absolute mystery to me….
During the meet and greet the night before, I had asked Chris if he was going to play The Fish upon which he answered ‘yeah of course’
I then asked him to play it like he had never played it before and he said’ Oh okay, I’ll play it very bad then….’
I immediately responded that that was not what I intended with my request and urged him to give it all he got the next evening.
So, when it was time to play The Fish, he kept his word and played it like never before…… he gave it all and did it outstanding and full of improvisations. Fantastic!
I know now that he’s the kind of guy that will always try to please the fans and get a kick out it himself as well!
Thanks very much Chris, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Steve did his solo piece as good as ever and looked very pleased on the stage. I also enjoyed the fantastic interaction between Steve and Rick during the entire show very much.
It was just as if I was back in 1974 during the Tales tour when they played in the Ahoy Hal as well. (That was exactly 29 years 2 months and a week ago)
And all this time the silent force behind the band was hitting the drums like a maniac, but at the same time keeping the pace and leading the show.
Alan is easily overlooked behind his drum kit even though he is making his presence undeniably clear. He truly is one of the bands most valuable assets.
There were however a few minor flaws as well. We missed out on Starship Trooper and there was a 15 minute intermission during the show which was a big surprise for a lot of us.
But this is easily forgotten if you look at the entire show. ;-)
It seems to me that there is a feeling of being ‘reborn’ amongst the members of the band and they all made it perfectly clear that they are very happy with the way things are going right now.
Both Rick and Alan told me that the band plays better than ever before and that they are doing it in a very relaxed way too.
Alan also said that it was good for Rick to play the songs that they are playing now, because it strengthens the feeling of unity within the band tremendously.
They certainly have got all things together at this moment and the answer I got regarding my question about when they will be coming with a new album was very pleasing: next year in the summer if all goes well.
So hopefully we will see the band on tour to promote their new album in 2005.
All in all I believe that a comparison between the great classic composers like Bee
Here's a 17-year old Yes-fan speaking (they do exist... :-) ). This was my first Yes show. I unfortunately missed the YesSymphonic gig last year, but luckily I got tickets this time with Wakeman in the band.
After the Firebird Suite, the band went into Siberian Khatru, which was a bit disappointing for me, since it lacked energy and was a tad too slow. Also Magnification, Whale and ItPo didn't really do it for me. From then on, things got a lot better.
We Have Heaven and South Side of the Sky turned the band on fire, and also made a clear statement that Wakeman was back with Moog and all.
And You and I was brilliant as always, but the presence of Wakeman gave it just a little extra power. He also added a flute-like melody to the end of the song, and it actually made the song even better.
I must admit that there was almost no moment during the show where I thought Steve Howe put much energy into his playing, but I enjoyed his solo spot very much. His version of To Be Over was one of the highlights of the show for me, and I enjoyed Clap very much.
After the 15-minute break Jon returned to the stage, accompinied by Looney Tunes music, and played a new song, called Show Me. It was a nice song, and Rick joined him during the second part.
Another highlight of the show came with Wakeman's solo. IIRC it included: Catherine of Aragon / Catherine Howard / Jane Seymour. Great to hear that Wakeman sounds so good and seems to enjoy playing with the band again (unlike SLO '96...)
Chris Squire treated us with brilliant bass-playing during Heart of the Sunrise, Long Distance Runaround and The Fish. Another highlight.
Awaken was perfect, and in my opinion there's no other song which can conclude the set so well as this one. Rick's organ-playing was beautiful...
When the band returned for the encore we were treated to I've Seen All Good People, for the first time on this tour. Roundabout was the last song.
I really thought we got ISAGP as an extra encore, and so I was awaiting another encore (Disgrace or Starship), but the lights went on, and the show was over :-(
Apart from the first four songs and the letdown during the encore, the show was brilliant, and it's a good sign that the band's performance is gettting better and better. As I'd expected Rick, Jon and Chris were at the top of their game. I always thought Alan was just a decent drummer and nothing more, but he seems to be more than decent (although no Bruford), and adds a lot of energy to the experience. Steve Howe did what he had to do, but I'd expected a lot more from him. But his solo section was absolutely brilliant, and To Be Over was the absolute highlight, along with Awaken, of the show for me. So I can forgive him ;-)
I advise everyone to see this show!
P.S. One row in front me, a guy almost fell on the floor during South Side of the Sky, cos he had fallen asleep... Strange...... :-S
So we had one more day of Yes Live. This time with my 9-year old son.
The day before the concert we had a meet and greet with all the band members and I spoke to Rick, telling him I brought my 9 -year old son for the first time to a concert. Great!! he said, You can't start young enough.
So there we were. Waiting....and then the familiar sounds of Stravinskys Firebird Suite starts and the crowd begings to roar.
The started with Siberian Khatru and played almost the complete Fragile Album. The only problem was the level of the soundvolume. It was too soft!! You should rock on your chair, feel it in your spine and in your guts, but it almost never raise above livingroom level.
This complaint was heard all around me from other Yesfans.
This aside, the show was perfect. No mistakes heard, good lightshow and an enthousiastic band. They dropped Yours is no Disgrace indeed but played I've Seen All Good People instead. This is not mentioned in the setlist and has to be corrected.
For my son it all became to much. Still being enthousiastic in the beginning, he became to crumble down at the end, being very tired of the combination of complex music and staying up late.
When I asked him if he liked it he said: It was OK, but the backstreet boys are just a little bit better. For me it was again wonderfull, magical, spiritual. May they be us for long, long times in the future.
Another wonderful YES night. This time in the Ahoy hall in Rotterdam. Soundwise not the best venue (Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam where the Symphonic DVD was show is FAR better!).
Great to see Rick back on the team! For the occasion he had grown his hair almost as long as he had in the seventies and he was wearing a long overcoat not unlike he could have worn thirty years ago :-)
The show was of course very good. Really nice to hear rare songs as ´We Have Heaven´ and ´South Side Of The Sky´. Actually, they could have called it the ´Fragile Tour´ since the larger part of that album was played.
Yes is also a wonderful band because all members have an opportunaty to do some solo work. Steve´s guitar, Rick´s keyboard, Jon´s ´Show me. Ofcourse Chris made the show (again) with his outstanding bass solo performance.
Highlight of the show is Awaken (I once saw that misspelled as ´Awakeman´:-) ). Great middle piece with Jon´s harp and Rick hypnotising keyboards.
First time I got to see this song live and it will be engraved in my memory as one of the few songs bringing tears in my eyes.
The crowd was very quite during the show but they screamed their heads of after ´Awaken´. After the last encore song (´roundabout´) the roof went off! Unfortunately, this did not temped the band to come back again for a second encore. And even as the house lights went on, the crowd still was cheering.