Great concert....Set list was amazing, a little problem with the audio tough...Knowing that Mind Drive was in the set list was the reason I came to my 14th Yes Show....Steve was his usual awesome self and he and Rick went off numerous times....Ritual, Turn Of The Century, and South Side Of The Sky were the highlights along with, of course Mind Drive
Yes as Nature Intended!
The show was absolutely phenomenal. Even my good friend who came with me (a Yes novice) was impressed. Sure there were a few cock-ups in sound (it literally took the first three songs to get it right)and miscommunications within the band, but no matter. The band soldiered on in great spirits, and the crowd loved every minute. And a large crowd it was for a Tuesday night in the Old North State. However, my only complaints were with SOME of those in the crowd. The usual folks who shout while Jon or Chris is talking or Steve or Rick is soloing. Folks either shut up or pass out. I didn't pay good money to here your drunken, "witty" comments, I paid money to watch and hear the masters. Now let's accentuate the positive.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Mind Drive" live is really great! Don't listen to the detractors! The guys have done a number on this one. Rick's keyboard stabs rock the foundations. Steve's 175 slashes and burns. Chris and Alan really PUNCHED out the riff. My friend really loved it, too. "South Side of the Sky" was perhaps one of the best concert moments I've ever had (and I saw Pink Floyd in '94, folks). Rick and Steve's synth/guitar duel nearly lifted me off my feet. I still feel unable to get my mind around it. The guys were locked in there for sure. "Yours is No Disgrace" was a real monster! Despite the fact that Chris had some trouble getting his Rickenbacker tuned up at the beginning. He was still struggling with it when the vocal harmonies started, and I thought he was going to miss the cue, but he hit it like a real pro and got it all sorted out. Way to go, Fish! I had my doubts about the acoustic set as it seems that acoustic sets are as cliched as drum solos, but I was wrong! "The Meeting" was lovely; "Long Distance Runaround" was a lot of fun with Steve and Rick really enjoying themselves; "Wonderous Stories" was, well, wonderous; the crowd really dug the bluesy "Roundabout," and surprisingly so did I. I gave Steve a really big applause as he had to endure a few "down-home" Southern hecklers during his solo. Great job as usual, Mr. Howe! Jon actually passed three rows in front of me during "Rhythm of Love." I only got to see the top of his head as he is one short fella. My friend even said so and he's REALLY short! "And You and I" like "South Side" was so great it was almost overwhelming. Though during the "Apocalypse" section Steve kept pointing to his stack and indicating to his roadie that something was going to need to be plugged in. Now the Steve Howe I've been told about would have yelled at his poor roadie, but the Steve Howe that was here tonight was laughing it off as if it was no big deal. And, of course, it wasn't. The piece was transcendant anyway! "Ritual" was in the "South Side"/"And You and I" class as almost too great for words. Chris' bass solo was excellent (even better than Masterworks 2000), and when he ambled over and exchanged a few licks with Rick, well, it rarely gets better than that! Both encores were great, especially "Soon" with Rick.
THE BAND: Jon's voice was on shaky ground early on, but he somehow got through it. He's still just as cosmic and bubbly as ever (bless his heart)! WOO! Chris was more animated than I was expecting from previous reviews, and, aside from the tuning hiccup during "Your is No Disgrace," he seemed to be in good spirits (not to mention a few pounds lighter since YESSPEAK). Steve was on fire and loving it, he even walked up and patted Alan and Rick on the back during the final bow. He's obviously in his comfort zone with the band as it is now. Alan was indeed Action Man! He had played great when I saw Yes in 2000, but he outdid himself tonight. And, finally, Rick. I have just three words: Never Leave Again! The band soared tonight in a way it did not in 2000. Rick is the key (no pun intended)! I am priveleged to have seen him in action. Now I am a fulfilled Yesfan!
THE PRODUCTION: I do not understand what all the controversy is over the stage set. I think it's perfectly adequate and most impressive. The lights really make it come alive. Admit it, many of you veteran Yesfolks would probably have thought the original stage sets looked hokey had it not been for the liberal use of the ganja, mon! For me, the stage resembled an otherworldly, aquatic Big Top (a "Circus of Heaven," truly).
In conclusion, all hail Yes! Come back to North Carolina soon(er), gentlemen!