(I am really sorry, but my english is just not good enough to write a complete review in english. So it's in french...)
Samedi 28 juin 2003, Palais des Congrès, à Paris, 19h30. Je vais enfin assister à mon premier concert de Yes avec Rick Wakeman aux claviers. J'en salive d'avance... La salle, très belle, ressemble plus à un immense cinéma qu'à une salle de concert. Mais au moins, là, les sièges sont larges et confortables. Je suis bien en face de la scène, mais assez loin. En dessous, à quelques mètres de moi, la table de mixage et des armoires bourrées de racks d'effets ressemblent à un centre d'opération de la NASA avec les 9 écrans d'ordinateur qui sont disposés autour. Le public est très calme. Vraiment, on n'aurait aucunement l'impression que Yes va venir jouer dans cette salle dans moins d'une heure. De temps à autre, un roadie vient faire sonner quelques secondes une guitare ou une basse, mais personne ne semble rien remarquer. Histoire de tuer le temps, je vais voir un caméraman qui s'affaire à régler un zoom impressionnant. Et hop ! Je sais déjà quelque chose d'important : ce concert sera filmé, ainsi que tous ceux de l'actuelle tournée de Yes, "The Full Circle Tour", en vue de la réalisation d'un DVD. Peu à peu, la salle se remplit. La tension monte. A côté de moi, on révise le nom et la fonction de chaque membre du groupe : Jon Anderson - Chant, guitares, harpe, percussions. Steve Howe - Guitares. Chris Squire - Basses. Rick Wakeman - Claviers. Alan White - Batterie. Ok, on peut y aller...
20h35. L'habituel "Oiseau de Feu" qui ouvre tous les concerts de Yes déploie ses ailes. Une immense clameur l'encourage dans son vol. Le groupe débute par un "Siberian Khatru" plein d'ardeur et idéal pour entrer tout de suite dans le vif du sujet. Le groupe est solide, le son est solide, tout aussi solide que l'ovation que leur offre un public déjà en train d'applaudir debout. Puis vient un "Magnification" magnifique et puissant enchaîné à un "Don't kill the Whale" très rock sur lequel un Rick Wakeman décontracté et rieur envoie dans les airs son premier solo de synthé. Le programme se poursuit par un majestueux "In the Presence of" tout droit sorti, comme le morceau précédent, du dernier album en date de Yes. Maintenant, retour dans le passé lointain et mythique du "Grand Yes Classique" avec un "We have Heaven" bien arrimé au ciel continué d'un éblouissant "South Side of the Sky" où un Rick Wakeman impérial joue de son piano et son Minimoog comme on danserait avec l'Harmonie des Sphères. A présent, attention, chef-d'oeuvre... Voici le sublime "And You and I"... Le public est en transe... Moi je suis en extase... Avant un entracte amplement mérité en compagnie des autres membres de son groupe, Steve Howe, concentré et l'oreille collée contre son instrument, nous offrira deux de ses solos de guitare toujours aussi étourdissants et enchanteurs à la fois, "To be Over" et "Clap". Il est 21h46. Je n'ai pas vu le temps passer.
Pendant la pause, de vieux fans de Yes échangent des tonnes de vieux souvenirs. Moi, j'en profite pour m'asseoir sur un siège apparemment encore libre et bien plus près de la scène.
22h03. La salle s'éteint à nouveau au son d'un jingle de cartoon. Devant un Yes au grand complet, Jon Anderson se lance dans un "Happy Birthday" dont je n'ai pas bien saisi à qui il était destiné. Mais c'est un bon moment quand même. Puis notre chanteur donne toute sa voix dans un "Show Me" aussi beau que bouleversant, accompagné par un Rick Wakeman très discret mais joliment efficace. Et justement, voici le moment pour ce dernier de montrer tout son talent et sa dextérité aux claviers. Ses mains volent littéralement au-dessus de ses synthétiseurs, les longs cheveux blonds tourbillonnent dans les airs. Minimoog, orgue, clavinet, accords de violons synthétiques, toute la panoplie de ses claviers est utilisée. Et au final, l'extr
A good show although I regret that they don't make "spectacular" stagings anymore. I mean, not like Roger Dean's sets which I think might be very expensive, but the "Going for the One" tour was visually beautiful with less sets elements. On this tour, the only "effect" was this poor mirror ball behind the stage reflecting on the curtain above thousands of little lights at the end of "Awaken" (which I personally think that was not played very well). Although I was happy to hear "South Side", the Magnification tracks or "Don't kill the whale", I regret that they play always the same tracks : "And you and I", "Yours is no disgrace", "Heart of the sunrise", "Roundabout"... For God sake, they have so much excellent tracks never been played anymore : "Shoot High Aim Low", "The Ancient", "The Remembering", not to mention albums never played : "Drama", "Open your eyes", "The Keys"... Suprise us, please ! We are your Biggest fans !!!
For the members of "Nous sommes du soleil", the French Yes fan club, the event started actually on Friday 6/27, the day before the gig. That day we had organized a lunch with Yes and a drum clinic with Alan White and Pierre Moerlen (ex-Gong, Magma and Mike Oldifield among others) in the late afternoon.
The lunch started at 13:30 with Alan White, Chris Squire and Rick Wakeman attending. Alina Bencini accompanied Rick, which was a pleasant surprise, and of course tour manager Paul Silveira was there too. Due to their schedule constraints, the Yes members, Alina and Paul could stay only until 15:30 but these two hours were a wonderful moment for all of us, and the party went on until about 17:00 when it was time to leave for the drum clinic. Alan was the usual gentleman and answered all sorts of questions. Chris was in a cheerful mood too, even when a little 8-year old girl (daughter of one of our members) spilled a whole glass of red wine on his t-shirt, which he then cleaned with Perrier water. Rick displayed his usual sense of humour and looked happier than he has ever been. I must say I think Rick and Alina share a lot of things and have brought a lot to each other's life. She had a camera and took a lot of pictures of the event, which Rick promised she would share with us.
The drum clinic lasted from 18:00 to 20:00. There were a few technical glitches at the start with the equipment of the venue, and we had some time chatting with Alan and Pierre at the end, so the actual performance lasted for about only an hour. And it was brilliant. Alan and Pierre were both in great shape and interacted beautifully. Both of them had solo spots explaining and demonstrating his technique and the ended with a very powerful improvised duet. We recorded the whole event for our own needs, both audio and video. A crew from Classic Pictures was also present, as they are currently making a documentary about Yes for the 35th anniversary of the band. They filmed both the lunch and the drum clinic. Ironically, technical limitations of the clinic's venue did not allow them to record their own sound, so they will use our recording instead if shots of the clinic make it to the final cut of the documentary.
A fuller report with photo galleries will soon be online on our site at [Link] news gathered along the day : there is a possibility of further touring after the currently official dates, and then they will take time off for solo projects. Steve's and Jon's have already been widely publicized. Alan may record a second solo album some time in a near future. Rick wants to tour North America and Continental Europe with the English Rock Ensemble as soon as the Yes schedule allows. So the most likely slot for the recording of the next Yes album is now the second half of 2004. Rick also shared that he will never ever again work with Damian Wilson, even if he was paid to do it. He described Damian's behavior at the time of the "Out there" tour as highly unprofessional and said he felt Damian had let down a lot of people then.
On to the gig itself :
The gig was excellent. A few rough moments in the first half of "Siberian khatru" but then it all fell perfectly in place. Three or four minor mistakes, not even real glitches, and I'm sure they went unnoticed by 99% of the audience. The only noticeable glitch was when Jon mixed up the lyrics in the middle of "Show me", of all places. He then told a few words about the Parc du Luxembourg and how he was thinking of it while singing and so forgot his lines, and then started again. There were also a few sound problems at the beginning as they obviously hadn't done a soundcheck before. At the beginning, Steve and Alan were too loud, Chris too low and Rick's keyboards a strange mix with some way too loud and some barely audible. Things really got in hand after "Don't kill the whale".
Otherwise it was a great performance, much better than
Response to P: Maybe "a few bits were missing" in Yours is No Disgrace and And You and I because Bill Bruford was the drummer on those songs!!
I was in Paris yesterday for my very first Yes concert (I'm 19).
The show was really good, the band is stil great. The setlist was th same as the other concerts, but Starship trooper was missing and Yours is not disgace was played instead of it.
2 negative things :
-i've been very disapointed not to hear starship trooper, indeed, the show is (a bit) short, so yours is not disgrace AND starshp trooper should have beend played.
-Alan White is no longer the drummer he used to be : he's still good but not enough to play with Yes : squire, anderson and howe are still very good wereas White has lost a bit of his talent...a few drum things are missing in the pieces, for example on Yours is Not disgrace o and You And I