Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Las Vegas, Nevada
Mandalay Bay Events Center
18 years, 10 months and 27 days ago
My wife and I drove from Montana to see the show in Las Vegas. Even after driving all the way down to go to a wedding only two weeks before. We enjoyed meeting friends from Minnesota who had come in from the shows in CA and went to the concert with them. I have nothing to add to the reviews other than saying I felt the show started off as one way to me and ended another. I felt it was a bit flat at the beginning and ended up on an exceptionally good vibe and in it's finality was one of the best Yesshows I've seen. I'm glad we were there because one can never tell when a Yes tour might be the last . . .
On a side note, I took the actual picture of the poster (flyer) Paul Rogers sent in. Great show, great people. Yes and Yesfans are the best.
Right up there with the best shows I've ever attended. Quite possibly the best, although I have seen Close to the Edge live before, so it's hard to rank a show without it above a show with it. But the band sounded fantastic, and I really enjoyed the interesting new set choices. Damn near the entire first set was comprised of music I'd never heard live before, so it was a real treat. People can complain till they're blue in the face about the lack of Rabin-era music this band plays, but much like that band didn't do a lot of music from the 70's (or at least didn't do it the way it should have been done), this band has their specific musical style, and I for one am much happier with this group NOT playing the 80's corporate rock. I too was dissappointed in Squire's decision not to sing many of his harmonies, but I picked up the slack for him, so anybody sitting near me still got to hear his parts sung by me about 90% in key. I didn't have a monitor, after all. ;-)
MY SECOND YESSHOW (first one was the night before at Anaheim, CA)
This would be the first time in my life that I attend 2 shows in the same tour.
Obviously no show is as impressing as the first one. However I still got very impressed with this second show.
I thought they couldn't top the previous one, but they did.
The following songs where better than Anaheim (IMO):
And You and I
South Side Of The Sky
Turn Of The Century
Visually, Anaheim,CA was better. The stage worked 100%, while in Vegas maybe a 90%. In Anaheim the band members looked much more exited (Steve specially. BUT sound-wise they played better in Vegas
and the crowd was also better than Anaheim.
Friday, April 23, 2004
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
Yes show needs no forgiveness
Aging rockers still deliver something new
By MIKE WEATHERFORD
As a die-hard Yes fan, I was willing to accept I might be delusional in separating the cosmic British rockers from other '70s acts that have become the new nostalgia staples on the casino circuit.
While the likes of REO Speedwagon and Styx recycle their hits to fill seats in repeated casino bookings, the past few Yes visits have shown the group hustling to sustain, sometimes a bit desperately, some type of forward motion.
In 1999, they filmed a House of Blues show for a concert video tied to their new album "The Ladder." In 2001, they played Sunset Station with an orchestra to advance another new release, "Magnification."
So you'd think Wednesday's arena concert at Mandalay Bay, billed as a 35th anniversary tour, would be a forgivable excuse for these visibly aging prog-rockers to coast with their most enduring lineup: singer Jon Anderson, guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and drummer Alan White.
That longevity, plus the contagious affection for performing they've maintained even in lean times, could have been declared good enough.
But it wasn't good enough for Yes, or the independent spirit that has always showed progressive rock was about more than long, twisting songs or virtuoso musicianship we almost take for granted.
Even without something new to play, Yes found something new to play. They dug up a couple of pieces -- one long, one short: "Mind Drive" and "Foot Prints" respectively -- that the current lineup recorded in 1997, but never got a chance to play live.
They took this 35-year benchmark seriously, too, resurrecting "Sweet Dreams" from 1970, before they really became Yes as we know them, and "Every Little Thing," the Beatles cover from their first 1969 album.
Saving the latter for the encore was arguably anticlimactic, as the usual crowd pleasers, "I've Seen All Good People" and "Roundabout," already had been doled out.
Sure, they could have used their biggest hit, "Owner of a Lonely Heart" for that encore instead of ignoring it. And there's an argument for doing such things that might help fill a few more seats.
But a degree of stubbornness and independence always helps separate the originals from the hacks. For Yes, that includes closing with a 20-minute-plus album side from "Tales From Topographic Oceans," an album once reviled (even by Wakeman) for its excess that now commands respect, albeit limited.
And while the crowd wasn't much more than could have fit into the House of Blues, it was great seeing Yes on an arena stage again.
It was the first tour in ages to have a set decorated by trippy inflatables designed by Roger Dean, the artist of their classic album covers. It was even fun to laugh at some Spinal Tap-like moments, such as White's drum extensions whirling like an amusement-park ride, or an inflated tentacle bumping Squire in the face ("I think it likes you," Anderson quipped).
It's all about sticking to your guns whether it's fashionable or not. That's punk rock, er, prog rock for you.
Hey Paul,enjoyed reading your story and review.I think your right,by the time the boys hit their adopted hometown of Philly,they should be a well-oiled machine.I can't wait.
Long time Yeshead here. I haven't missed a tour since Relayer, and this show was my 30th something over the last 29 years...
I grew up in Philly where our old friend Ed Sciaky introduced Yes to the world, so I'm from Yes' U.S. home base and proud of
it! So now I live in Colorado Springs, and Yes isn't coming into Denver this leg, so what do we do? We go see them in Vegas
Not being familiar with LV, we arrive early at Mandalay Bay, 5PM, thinking we'll walk around, take in a little of the strip,
grab a bite and hit the show... we park and ask the attendant how to get into the Event center. He tells us we have a long
way to go as we have to walk through the entire casino, BUT he says, the front doors are right over there, you can try that
first. So we walk over to the front doors, no one in sight, all doors are locked, EXCEPT, there is a stack of napkins keeping
one door slightly cracked. So what do we do? Walk in of course!
The place is dead, no one in sight, we draw the curtain to the arena and Jon & Steve are on stage with some of the techies
noodling around. Alan is also noodling. We walk down to the floor and blend in, no one knows were not with the crew, so we
settle into the 2nd row and watch & listen to Jon & Steve talk about the setup. They start rehearsing Sweet Dreams, Jon's got
a problem with some of the previous shows, so they're working it out. Steve pulls out a portable CD player, they hook it up
to the sound system, and they're playing along with the studio version. Chris walks on stage looking like he just woke up,
jumps into the convo and they work the segment out together. Really wonderful to see how these guys communicate & work
They start playing Going For The One, and are seriously working out a portion of the song that hasn't gone well in night's
past. It's a thrill to watch & listen as they discuss the problems. Steve says "if you guys would do it this way...", they
laugh & try some things, Steve's yelling "it's 2 bars there, not 2, try this"... the whole nine yards... Rick walks on stage,
apologizes for being late, they all huddle up, talk about the kinks, what they need to do, take their positions, jam it to
death a few times over screaming each other directions. All are happy with the outcome. The sound is great. None of the band
even notices us, probably thinking we're with the event staff or something... we're loving this big time!
We walk around, talk to the engineers, asking them if they can score us a backstage pass, nobody knows anything, but they're
all super friendly and just leave us be... we continue to blend in... One of the guys says the production manager can hook us
up, we go backstage into the office, guy says hello, we ask for an after show pass, he says "who are you guys?", we tell him
were just fans here for the sound check, he can't help us, "you got to be on the list", we split before we get booted,
security is starting to come in...
Back out to the arena to watch & listen to the guys some more... No one but Alan & I in the entire arena. They do a full
version of Sweet Dreams, sounds great. We wander some more... Wander backstage and see Rick. We say hello and shake his hand.
Rick is very gracious. We tell him we're huge long time fans. I tell him I'm from Philly. He likes that! My good friend Alan
who I am with is also a serious Yesfreak, he's got a few years on me and saw The Yes Album tour in Houston in 71. Rick thanks
us and walks away... Serious score...
As we walk back out to the floor, Alan is coming off stage. We say hello to Alan, shake his hand and tell him we're huge long
time fans. Alan is also very gracious, smiles and says thanks. We're very psyched. Now we need to meet Chris, Jon & Steve,
Must have been a hot date for Mako...Close to the Edge was not played.
Set list was the same as Anaheim.
Excellent show, as always. They opened with Close to the Edge, and carried on through many of their old standards and some of their newer material, but with some interesting twists.
I don't have a set list - having a date for the show (yay! :) made being a set list wonk impossible. If anyone has one, please post it here.
The 2nd half of the show was particularly cool, with the band moving to the front of the stage with a pseudo acoustic setup - much more modest instrumentation ( Alan behind a small drum kit, Rick with an electric piano (Clavichord or similar?) Chris with an acoustic body bass guitar, Steve with a couple of acoustic body guitars, including one he plays as a slide guitar (very cool!) and Jon with a 6 string.
The stage set with the Roger Dean inspired "bird" props proved to be a bit of a pain at the beginning of the "acoustic" set - the roadies lowered the "bird" too much, causing Steve to have to move to the left to keep from having it bump him in the head and Chris to have fun poking at it. Not a note was missed however, the guys took it all in stride. Eventually the roadies got the proper pulled up and out of the way and all was back on track once again.
I greatly enjoyed the "acoustic" re-arraignments, particularly the boogie woogie-ized version of Starship Troopers(!), that was great good fun for the band to play and the audience had a fun romp with it too.
Jon ended up parading through the floor seating area later in the 2nd set while singing with a wireless mic, much to the delight of the crowd. He was having a blast too judging by the smile on his face as he was doing high fives with the fans and generally having a great time zooming around through the crowd.
The sound mix was good, though I would have preferred more of Chris' bass at times - that might have been due to my off to stage left and up higher seating though. I really had a good "line" to Steve's voice PA, which was very cool, as his vocals were "above" the mix a bit - it's nice to hear the individual voice parts in the harmony parts.
The massive 3 part drum piece with Alan, Chris and John hammering the hides off of everything all at once was a *Blast* to watch. The mechanized/synchronized drums hanging off Alan's big kit are just cool as hell too. I wish he was able to use them more during the show, but alas, this one 5 minute piece was about the extent of them.
The light show was very modest, a few varilights and some projection lights and that's about it. The fog machines weren't cooperating very much, but I didn't miss them really.
All in all a darn fine show by the lads with some novel arraignments of old standards and a nice sprinkling fresh tunes made for an excellent night.
Don't miss this tour if you can help it, the "acoustic" set alone is well worth the price.
allenw at caspeed com
Hey Folks !!!!
We´re coming all the way from Brazil to behold
the best band of the world !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Looking forward to seeing all good people from USA.
All the best,
Eduardo Paulo and Omar Fares
Long Life YES Music.