Friday, September 3, 2004
18 years, 6 months and 19 days ago
This was an exceptional evening for me. A few weeks prior to the show I sent an e-mail message to Rick Wakeman stating that I was selling my collection of analog synths, and would he be interested in any. As it turns out, he offered to purchase (at a fair price) a Minimoog, Taurus II pedals, a Prophet 5 (Rev 3.3), and a Remote Prophet. Rick put me on the list to park with the tour vehicles behind the stage. When I arrived at the venue, the transfer of gear was handled by Stuart Sawney.
Rick was running a bit behind schedule because of a radio interview before the show, so he just waved "hello" and asked me to meet him afterwards. Stuart's assistant gave me a free ticket for a great seat up front. Between the Dream Theater and Yes sets I realized that the ticket was from the prior evening. I ended up watching Yes from the far reaches of the venue, but still enjoyed the show. It was, in fact, one of the best I've seen. I'm thrilled to see that audio and video is available for this show.
Afterwards, I met with Rick under the stage in the Tour Accountant's room where money was exchanged (Thanks, Rick). We then spoke for 20 minutes about his upcoming project, a CD with only vintage gear. He was thrilled about a Polymoog Synthesizer that he had recently come across. I tried to tempt him to look at an ARP 2600 that I had brought along, but he claimed that he had to plead "on bended knee" with his personal accountant for the OK to purchase my other four synths. We also spoke about Rick's suggestions to Dave Smith about the eventual layout of the Prophet 5 front panel.
Rick agreed to take good care of my synths. I suggested that gear-freaks like myself would love to see the keyboards used for each song listed in the liner notes. I even gave him a Moog Cookbook CD from my car as an example of great liner notes. About 18 months later Retro came out. I don't know if it was any of my synths that made it onto that great CD, or the Retro 2 sequel, but I do know that they're in good hands.
So, as I said, it was an exceptional evening.
I had been to many of the Yes concerts in Philly during the 70s and this was just as good as the shows at the Spectrum and outside at JFK stadium. It was really cool to see my favorite band in my hometown. I also had the pleasure to attend this concert with my most favorite person in the world. I was a little disappointed that they didn't perform Close to the Edge but everthing else was great. It had to be the shortest concert I had ever attended and it was pretty neat to see Pat Reiley, the coach of the Miami Heat at this concert.
I agree this was the BEST YES concert that I have ever been to. Great seats (Dead center in the grandstand about 5 rows back from the sound board)
Dream Theater to me was a BAD Dream (My Personal opinion). As a matter of fact I felt that if you recorded it, you could play it back as torture to the detainees in CUBA... OK, there were SOME good moments, but I got a headache from them. (Funny thing was after the concert, I looked through the station's music library and actually found some good stuff by them that I put in the station's music rotation, like Die another day... It's too bad they didn't play more stuff like that).
YES was F A N T A S T I C ! ! ! !
(Can you tell I enjoyed the concert?)
The only thing that annoyed me was that the video guys running the two large screens on the sides of the stage seemed to not be familiar with the songs, and who they should be focusing on. During a Guitar feature, they would have the cameras on Rick (not playing anything at the time), and just as Steve was finishing his feature, they would figure out that they should have a camera on him. By then it was Rick's turn and on and on it went. UGH......... It looked like they had NO rehersal with the band, and just flew by the seat of their pants...
I've been a YES fan since the 1970's when I was in High School, and this was the BEST EVER...
I only regret that a very dear friend of mine was not alive to see this one(see my review of the New York City 2001 Tour).
After 12 Yes shows, the Allentown show was probably the best one I've seen. Even though, it was probably one of the shortest.
Dream Theater was Dream Theater. Their sound was pretty bad. The guitar was much louder than the vocals and you pretty much couldn't hear the drums at all except for the basic rhythm. Pretty good set. If you could make it through the horrible mix, their performance was excellent as always. They played Machine Messiah very similair to the time Steve Howe joined them onstage at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club on 1/31/95 for the Yes Medley. The
setlist for DT was:
About To Crash
Learning To Live
Machine Messiah (instrumental version - first 4 minutes or so)
Trial Of Tears
Stream Of Consciousness
The Spirit Carries On
About To Crash (Reprise)
Losing Time/Grand Finale
The Yes set was unbelievable. After a long time in between sets, the lights finally came down and they started with the Firebird Suite. They had a black curtain in front of the stage and when they dropped it and it got stuck, so people were yanking on it to get it down, which it did after a few seconds....revealing the Dean inflatable stage. It was much cooler looking than I remember on the last tour and a lot bigger(maybe because the stage was smaller). Anyway, they opened with Going for the One. Steve was low in the mix during this tune. Nothing special about this one. It was slower than the studio version(as it has been lately), but otherwise standard. Next was Sweet Dreams. Played like the studio version, not the QPR version. Steve kind of went off during the guitar solo. I wonder if he was saying, "I ain't gonna let no punk John Petrucci upstage me tonight." During this tune I noticed that Steve seemed to be pretty fired up. Next was I've Seen All Good People. Nothing new here. This was followed by Jon talking about how nice it is to tour America and how he loved seeing Niagara Falls a week or so prior. They then broke into America. I thought this particular version was not the tightest (Steve being at fault, in particular). It was not a bad version of the song, by any means. But if there was a low portion of the evening performance-wise, this would be it. This was followed by the highlight of the night: Southside of the Sky. The crowd was very receptive to this one. Probably didn't realize that they broke this tune out of the closet a couple years ago. The song started out as it always does, but Steve was improvising all of his fills. As everyone knows, on the album every couple measures, Steve does a short fill on guitar...cool little riffs. I can't remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure he didn't play a single riff from the album. Every single one was improvised. It was great to hear him divert from the album version. Then of course came the duel....
I can honestly say that this was the greatest thing I've ever witnessed at a Yes concert that I've been to. It was absolutely amazing!!! I can't stress that enough. Steve and Rick were on fire! Going back and forth, playing off each other, call and repeat, etc. I've seen and heard many bootlegs of this over the past few years and I can honestly say that it was the best South Side I've ever heard. And it was much longer than other versions. Almost like they didn't want it to end. (None of us did either). Steve was so animated, hopping up and down, making faces, etc. (If you couldn't tell, I'm a huge Howe fan) and Wakeman was...well Wakeman. Of course, when the song ended, the place erupted. I could go on and on about this, but I'm going to stop here.
Next was Don't Kill the Whale. Nothing special about this one, except that it started with the roto-kicks(?). I think that's what they're called. Kind of tough to describe...weird ass drum things that are somehow triggered by Alan.
After that song, Jon said something like, "We wrote this song back in 1954. I remember it was April the 4th. We were having tea and biscuit
My wife Sharron and I had been to two other shows this tour (Philly 5/10) and (Atlantic City 8/20 my birthday) and we agreed that Allentown was the best show Yes played! We might have been 15 rows from the stage in Atlantic City and they mixed up the set, but, the Allentown show really rocked! There were also two screens on either side of the stage which made up for where we sat (Section 14, Row 14). This was the last show we are to see this tour, thank you Yes for 3 fun shows in 3 different cities this summer. Hope to see you soon maybe even for three more shows next tour! Love ya, George and Sharron
Yet another great Yesshow!. Every bit as good as the Masterworks tour in my opinion. Even though Gates of Delirium, Ritual or Close to the Edge weren't played. But we were treated to America, Sweet Dreams and Don't Kill the Whale instead. Setlist was the same as Syracuse-I think. Crowd was quite sedate for some unknown reason. Black curtains got stuck in the beginning but luckily one or two tugs halfway through Firebird Suite and they were released. They performed their soundcheck obviously during Going for the One and really didn't get it quite right until America was played. Jon commented on how beautiful Niagra Falls was and made some general comments about travelling across America. All in all another great Yes experience to be not forgotten. Have seen them many many times and will continue. LOVE
Awesome Show...Fresh Set...YES continues to amaze and prove that they are the premier musicians touring today !