A tad under-rehearsed, a few missed cues and a few technical problems: Pretty much par for the course for only the second night of the European leg of the tour. It was great to see that Magnification and In The Presence Of are still in the set, but I wasn’t impressed with Rick’s keyboard arrangements for either song - Magnification, in particular, suffered from a very limp arrangement. However, by the final third of the show everything had fallen into place and the chaps were flying (quite literally in the case of Mr. Squire who took an amusing but harmless tumble during his solo spot. He blamed the lights - don’t mention the brandy with red wine mixer). However, the real problems with this show were twofold: Firstly, the woeful lack of promotion meant Yes performed to a very small crowd. How do promoters continue to get away with this sort of performance? I can only assume they all have “old rope” concessions operating as a sideline. But secondly, and most damagingly for this gig, the CIA is a terrible sounding venue with all the acoustic properties of an aircraft hanger. I’m sure the sound crew did their best but, at times, tonight’s performance sounded horrible.
In summary... a good but difficult start to the UK leg of Yes' European tour. No setlist surprises, though for people in Britain three premiers: DKtW, We Have Heaven and South Side... the latter was a rousing performance. Anderson forgot the lyrics after the piano interlude, but the quality of vocal hamonisation and the Howe/Wakeman duetting more than compensated.
The difficulty was with the sound -- shorts, damps and monitor failures plagued the first half of the show. Things improved considerably after the interval - hot performances of Sunrise, LDR and Awaken.
Squire's Fish solo was barnstorming -- in fact he fell over onec (and nearly twice, by the drum riser at the end), going on to blame the lighting. Don't mention the vodka. I do find it sad that he's playing the same (albeit rewoirked) solo after 32 years... but I credit him with making it sound fresh last night.
A few flubs and missed cues, but pretty reasonable for the second show of the European series. The encore featured ST and a shortened Roundabout. The two Mag offerings were limply received. It would be good if CTTE or another epic could go back into the set (as for some shows in the US), but maybe this is asking too much of the aged.
Visually the band are, to all but the impartial observer, risible ... like ancient time travellers caught in some Carnaby Street nightmare. The lighting was poor, and the 'set' consisted of some tacky, shiny silvery drape attached artlessly to the cabling at the front of the stage, the mic stands and the risers. It looked like a cast-off from a seedy boy scout show hut. Don't know whether it was more or less embrassing than Jon's profoundly sub-mediocre and twee 'Show Me' solo.
All that said, Yes lit the touchpaper in the last third of the concert and this tour will be a good one. Would be nice to have greater variety in setlists, but leopards don't change spots, and as has been pointed out, UK audiences will appreciate material they haven't heard in a while (or ever)... I'm one of the lucky few who catches them in the US too.
Looking forward to Nottingham tonight... and, goodness, the Glastonbury set is on the world music and jazzish stage; hell, they might even become less than laughable if they play a blinder on best material and get a wardobe adviser under 50 ;-)
Why don't bands play the St David's Centre or some other 'theatre type' venue? The acoustics at the CIA aircraft hanger were bloody awful. Beautiful music was at times reduced to mush - the venue's fault, not the band.
Rick makes such a difference. Possibly because he's well up in the mix as opposed to Koroschev who was technically as good, but there's a magic that you can't quite put your finger on. I felt that Jon looked a bit frail - possibly the back injury playing him up, but the voice was superb. Rest of the band (as usual) was excellent. Chris's tumbletoss across the stage had to be seen to be believed. Didn't miss a note though!
Some strange choices in the set which would please die hard Yes-heads but probably left others a bit bemused, but the truth is they're never going to please everybody with song choices.
All in all, great to see the same line up as at Wembley in '78 - a bit spooky that I was 18 then, and my son who came along to the show is 14 (he thought Steve Howe was 72!)