19 years and 30 days ago
Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Van Andel Arena
Nick Van Zanten
One other thing I forgot to mention in my previous review for this concert is that I talked to a man who was sitting behind me. His name was Randall Snyder. Randall and his wife came from Indiana. I started chatting with him and I told how big of a fan I was. He knows Jon Anderson very well. He had an extra backstage pass with him. During the intermission of the show, he started chit chatting with me, my dad, and my uncle. The 4 of us got along so well. Since Randall had an extra backstage pass with him, I went backstage with him and I got to meet the band for the first time. It was a dream come true for me. I've always wanted to meet Yes.
I thought the first 3/4 of the show was excellent! They started off with a bang with Going For The One which I was really happy to hear, although unfortunately they hadn't gotten the mix proper yet and as a result you could hardly hear Steve on his steel guitar. After that I thought it sounded pretty good. By the way, the intro music was Firebird Suite which was cool because that's what they opened with on the YesSongs album. From there they did a nice variety of hits and lesser known songs. I particularly enjoyed the Chicago Blues shuffle version of Roundabout and the whole accoustic set in general. But the highlight of the show for me was Rhythm Of Love. Which may be why the last 1/4 of the show was disappointing for me. Although I really like the early stuff, I am a bigger fan of the Trevor Rabin stuff. I understand that Ritual was probably a huge treat for some people but I thought it went on too long and that time could have been used for a couple off of 90125 or even Tempus Fugit. I had also hoped to hear Machine Messiah. But for a band to do a 2 1/2 hour show and not even touch their biggest selling album or even their biggest hit song Owner of a Lonely Heart is unforgivable. So, although most of the show was excellent, in the end it was a little disappointing.
I took my brother Dave to his first Yes concert tonight. Since it was his first time, I will post some of his impressions here. His favorite part was the acoustic version of Roundabout, and he laughed, in a good way, all the way through. The versions on Craig Kilborn and on the extra CD in the 35th Anniversary collection don't do it justice. The band reinvented a song that had been in the same place in the setlist for 30 years, and made it work, with crystal clear sound to boot. My brother was grinning like a jack-o-lantern. I was looking forward to the acoustic set and was not disappointed. Tight but loose.
We both agreed that there has got to be an easier way for those four dudes to get up on the scaffolding and work the lights. We could see their feet dangling all night. No stairs or ladder, they climb a rope to get up there.
The stage accoutrements were hysterical! The Invasion of the Undersea Condoms strikes again. The RoboKick drums were a treat to watch too. Dave had never seen it before, and he appreciated the humor involved. The 70s shows always had that combination of wizardry and gimmickry, and that's something that makes Yes SOOOO cool. If you take it absolutely seriously, you miss the fun. But the Topographic life rafts had a bloat to them like a fat fish. I know it's expensive to rent another truck to lug those heavy fiberglass seashells all over the place, and extra work to set 'em up and tear 'em down. Would canvas stretched over framework work and appear better?
Jon really is using a teleprompter. My brother couldn't believe it. It was only required once, during Turn Of The Century. I had to concentrate to hear Rick in the mix sometimes, but if I focused and cleared a space in my head, it could be done. Jon wandered down my aisle. I heard he went through the crowd from reading previous reviews, but when it happened I was still shocked. I ALMOST made contact, but I missed by about a foot. Caught me napping. That coy little devil.
They played music too. I wanted to hear the acoustic set the most, along with Sweet Dreams and Every Little Thing with Rick and Steve. Is Steve Howe the best acoustic guitar player ever? Better than Sharon Isbin, he is. My brother and I both agreed that if he ever comes near MI for a solo tour again, we're there. I'd go see Rick play piano as well. Baby grand is better than digital - naturally! It was wild hearing the set list in that unusual order. Even if you know what's coming because of this Internet thing, it was still a good surprise. As always, they get stronger as the night progresses, and I got the Best Ritual Yet at the end. It was ethereal and frenetic at all the right moments, "ever so much more so", and it got me out there. Wizardry and Gimmickry. It seemed to be the whole show in microcosm, and it was the highlight. It's taken them 30 years, but this time they got it exactly right.
I've seen them so many times. This was my nineteenth Yes gig, going back to Ypsilanti, MI in 1975. My brother's first time though, and when my cousin Greg heard we were going, he and his wife went too. First timers both, also. I will go to Yes shows as long as they will come out to play for us. I hope everyone felt as enlightened as I felt. I'm thrilled to think that they don't look like they're quitting anytime soon.
The Family Dog
To tell the truth I was a little disappointed in the mix. I have heard a copy of Yes' European tour and the sound last night was missing a lot of the lower fequencies. (You could'nt feel the bass notes)The best example was the ending of And You And I. Squire was playing bass pedals which should have shook the building, but because the mix was so thin you barely hear him at all. Aside from that, The ending of All Good People had a duel between Howe and Wakeman at the climax of the song which was amazing. Worth the price of admission. Another high point was during Rythmn of Love when Jon went into the audience singing the lyrics as he went. From my vantage point he looked like a little elf running around down there as the lighting guys tried to anticipate where he was going next. A two hour plus show with a lighting show that really helped bring the music to life. A shame that sound didn't allow the bottom end through.
Nick Van Zanten
I have to start out by saying that this was an awesome concert. My dad, my uncle and I were closer to the stage then last time. At first, we went out to eat at the cottage bar in Grand Rapids and then we headed straight for the arena. We went to the souvenir booth and I got another T-shirt and a program. My heart was pounding. This was my second time seeing the band. I was so excited. Steve really rocked. He even did a solo spot during the second half of the show after when the crew members were taking down the acoustic set. The solo was awesome. Jon was awesome. What was really funny was during the second half of the show, he was talking about Alan being in this band that would play at comedy clubs and then he mentioned something about the song "The Stripper" and then Alan and Rick started playing a little bit of it. Chris was having fun for sure. The way he played his bass was like out of this world. He really rocked especially during Ritual. What I thought was funny was when during the bass guitar section of Ritual, he goes up close to Rick and then he plays and Rick just plays away for a second on his keyboard. The sound of that was cool. The drum solo was so awesome. I really enjoyed the solo especially with the bass drums that were to the side of the Alan's set. It was so cool to see robotics controling the bass drum mallets. I really enjoyed Rick's playing. He was rocking away. During "Rhythm of Love", Jon came off the stage and he was walking around the main floor of the arena. I could tell that he was coming close to the section that I was seated in so I said, "He's coming this way." I got to the end of the section and he was giving five to all other fans including me. That was the coolest highlight of my life. The band was at it's best this night.
LONG LIVE YES!!!!!