It was definitely Classical Gas that Steve played. At the time of the show, although I recognized the tune, I wouldn't have known its name except for the computer monitor at the sound board showing the title of the song being played. I've since listened to the song online and confirmed it.
Telluride Rob - nice meeting you at the show. Let’s hope we’ll be able to see them in the area again soon.
Telluride Rob and Colorado Joan
Hey Dan H - I was your audience neighbor who went to Asbury Park the night before. Good to see you out here.
Telluride Rob and Colorado Joan
Yes - Steve really played Classical Gas, not Mood for a Day. There is no mistaking it. Steve actually played Classical Gas live in the past, albeit in the early 1970's.
For the record
Did Steve really play "Classical Gas"? It hardly seems likely; two Youtube clips from the first Hamilton show are titled "Classical Gas", but in both Steve plays "Mood For a Day." Don't tell me seasoned Yes afficionados are confusing a 1968 pop instrumental hit featuring obtrusive horn parts with Howe's beautiful solo piece from the classic "Fragile" album.
Rams Head Live was by far the most intimate venue in which I have experienced a Yes show, dating back to 1984. We were just behind the sound board slightly elevated above the floor crowd – what turned out to be an excellent location both for audio as well as sight lines. I was apprehensive about what to expect without Jon & Rick, but it turned out to be an excellent show. Major props to Benoit!
The setlist was pretty much as expected after reading earlier reviews; they reintroduced Machine Messiah, but skipped South Side of the Sky. As stated earlier, it was a great show, and would strongly suggest to anyone that is on the fence about the current lineup to check them out. A few observations that stood out to me:
1. For as “keyboard-intense” a band as Yes is, Oliver failed to capture my attention except for when he had a solo. Maybe it was the lighting, maybe it was the small stage setup (he spent a good portion of the evening facing the wall, away from the crowd). Regardless, he covered the parts and the music sounded great. 2. I am a faithful Jon fan, and the thought of the band touring without him made me question why they would do this. However, after hearing Benoit sing and seeing him perform, he won me over. To me, one of the memorable moments of the show was during And You And I, at the crescendo just prior to Eclipse (“and you and I reached out for reasons to … call-all”) Benoit’s voice was so clear, loud and spot-on, it cut through the building keyboards & drums so well that the crowd gave him an ovation 3. The Roger Dean fabric set decorations were missing. Maybe the shallow stage didn’t provide adequate space. In any case, they were able to project cool light patterns onto the rear wall of the stage which was neat from a visual perspective. 4. Soon is one of my favorite Yes melodies; however to me Soon = Jon. Benoit covered it well, but out of respect, perhaps they could have left this one out. 5. Contrary to some earlier posts, the crowd around me was quite polite and cordial. I was able to use the bathroom, refill beverages, etc. and return to my standing room spot without any resistance from the people around me. Also talked with a fellow Yes fan that was fortunate enough to see them the previous night in Asbury Park.
All in all, it was an awesome show that leaves me hoping Yes will return to the area in the spring.
Howdy...Yeah I was there in the $10 rail section and I got a good recording of the show that will be on Dime very soon. Our new lead man from the north made it posible for Drama tunes to be performed and I must say he is a talented man. Oliver wasn't bad ...Rick he is not but I will pay money the see Wakeman DNA behind the keys anyday. The were highlight's for me...(the Drama tunes) and low points..(Starship Trooper was a muddle fest)..But no matter how rough some of the tunes were I have never seen a bad Yes show and this one was not bad at all....I am 53yo now and I have seen MANY Yes shows with many different band members. It was a hoot seeing Yes in a venue that hold what..1800 people max when at JFK in Philly back in 76 with Wright and Frampton they packed a stadium that can held 100,000. I seldom speak in Yes forums but after some of the comments I have heard about the way others feel about a Yes without Jon I feel that I need to give my two cents on the current lineup....If anyone thinks Yes will be touring in 2020 with the 1977 lineup keep dreaming....I love the fact that new blood is infusing itself into the group. I thought that is what the Rabin, Sherwood, and Igor moves were about....keeping new blood in the group so Yes music could be played live for decades and new music based on the early albums would surface. We are at the end of a great run for many core members..we should embrace the change..after all, it is called progressive music. Hell...look at the their entire body of work....new members float in and out of the group every few albums....and for what it is worth every member from every era of Yes has made contributions to their catalog that have enriched my life and keeps me and others coming back for more. I do have my favorite albums and songs, but I love the history of this group as a whole...not just it's pieces.
"Sunday night in Baltimore!"....Chris Squire said to welcome us to the show after the second song, I believe. This was probably around my 12th yes show, having seen them first in about 1979 I think. Seeing Yes in a standing only general admission venue was um...interesting. The band tho, was nothing short of amazing, once we had located to the "sweet spot" audio wise. My girlfriend and I started the show about 20 feet back from the stage, right in front of Chris. While we enjoyed the incredible view from being so close, the audio quality here was lacking. Benoit's voice and Oliver's keys were drowned in the mix for us here, as I guess we were experiencing mostly sound from the stage amps as opposed to the PA system, which was hanging directly above us. Beniot was very impressive visually, and seemed very excited, yet very at ease. There seemed to be an energy in the entire band that I don't remember from the past few tours, and it seemed clear that this is a re-birth of Yes. Reading that Alan has been sick with flu on posts of the past few days...if this was true, I couldn't tell from his performance.
At intermission, I went to the sound booth and asked the sound man if he could turn Benoit and Oliver up so they would be clearer in the front...he explained that that location was a "tough spot" at this venue (I had already guessed this) and suggested we position ourselves either right in front of the sound booth, or directly above on the second level. We opted for a second level spot for the 2nd half of the show, against the balcony railing, and WOW, every performer and instrument came through with amazing clarity....what an incredible sound, and everything was a good bit louder. The peaks of the musical crescendos were absolutely amazing! From this point, it was clear that Benoit was simply nailing it! He would occasionally vary from Jon's melodies a bit, going higher on a few notes...very tasteful in my opinion. He's even played acoustic guitar on one song...don't remember which..nailed that too. There was a small goof on Starship Trooper, and no one cared...the whole band was obviously having so much fun on stage, they all just smiled and laughed....(except perhaps Steve...lol).
Hopefully, we will see Jon and Rick again, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Benoit with Yes again in years to come....this guy can really pull his weight, and Oliver did a great job too. Fans, if you can get to see this tour, DO IT! This version of Yes is just incredible in my opinion..as I was leaving, all I could say was...wow! And yes, I've had that reaction at most of the Yes shows I've been to....but not all.
Now the bad stuff...in a standing venue, you are closer to a greater amount of people vs. a sitting venue. And Baltimore is a very rough, gritty, city. So upstairs, the drunk guy to my left kept shouting Steve Howe, Steve Howe...about a hundred times...very disturbing..if you're reading buddy...we know his name...so does he. 3 words...12 step program. Then there was the woman to my right, her head positioned about 6 feet from my ear, loud mouth pointed right at my ear....my ear still hurts from her screaming in it...when I gave her a glare, she looked at me and said...."suck it". Good thing I don't hit women. Ahhh, Sunday night in Baltimore!
YES..AT RAMS HEAD LIVE IN BALTIMORE.....A PRETTY GOOD SHOW...HAVING SEEN THE BAND MANY TIMES ON NUMEROUS TOURS, I CAN SAY I DID MISS JON AND RICK, TWO NECESSARY COMPONENTS TO THE AWESOME POWER OF THE BAND...BENOIT WAS GOOD, ALTHOUGH, STANDING IN FRONT OF THE STAGE, HIS MIX WAS SOFT AND HARD TO HEAR SOMETIMES....PROBABLY SOUNDED BETTER BACK BEHIND THE HOUSE SOUND BOARD...OLIVER WAS PRETTY GOOD...HE DEFINITELY PICKED UP THE PACE IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE SHOW....THE HIGHLIGHT WAS THE AWESOME BASS THAT POWERED FROM THE STAGE...I WAS STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF CHRIS...THE BASS BLEW BACK MY HAIR.....CLASSICAL GAS FROM STEVE WAS A HIGHLIGHT TO ME, ESPECIALLY SINCE IT'S SUCH A DIFFICULT PIECE TO PLAY...ANYWAY, THANKS TO THE BAND, THANKS FOR TOURING AND THANKS FOR A REALLY GOOD SET LIST...JON, I HOPE YOU FEEL BETTER SOON...RICK, TAPE A BUNCH OF YOUR TALK SHOWS AND CLEAR YOUR TOURING SCHEDULE...LET'S HOPE FOR A 41ST ANNIVERSARY TOUR
Telluride Rob and Colorado Joan
My wife and I attended the YES show at the Rams Head Live! in Baltimore. It was a cozy little venue with a handful of balcony seats and a standing room only floor in front of the stage. There were a number of people standing around the railing of the balcony as well. We positioned ourselves just behind the soundboard elevated just above the rest of the crowd on the floor. We had a good time chatting it up with some people we had just met, discussing the obvious - YES! A great, positive and happy vibe was buzzing in the air.
After "The Firebird Suite", here's what was played. First set: Siberian Khatru All Good People Tempus Fugit Onward Astral Traveller Close to the Edge Second set: Parallels And You And I Classical Gas Second Initial Long Dx Runaround > The Fish Aliens are only us from the Future Machine Messiah Soon Starship Trooper encore: Owner of a Lonely Heart Roundabout
While we loved the whole setlist and show, the highlights for me were Tempus Fugit, Onward, Astral Traveller, Parallels, and finally Machine Messiah. We enjoyed the new Squire song Aliens. We were more than thrilled to see the entire Close to the Edge album performed live too, and all performed so wonderfully well - just incredible - any YES fan would be crazy not to be happy with that! Tempus Fugit rocked - awesome to finally see it live. Onward was gorgeous. Astral Traveller was a trip - a song I never ever thought I would see YES play live. Parallels was the powerful bass and organ driven song I always loved from GFTO. And then there was Machine Messiah... THAT really blew me away! Starship Trooper was fabulous, with Benoit David allowing the crowd to sing... Follooowwww.... just before the vocal harmony build up. Unfortunately, the band could not finish Starsip Trooper together and had a fairly clumsy ending (Steve Howe did an admirable job trying to get them all togther at the end of his guitar solo, but the rest of the band kept playing! oooops!).
All the guys seemed to be having fun, really playing well, barring a few flubs here and there, and the audience really took to Benoit David and Oliver Wakeman. We were so impressed with both of these new members of YES. They are not simply there to fill in for missing stars, but add their own musicallity and spirit to YES. Oliver was partricularly outstanding on Close to the Edge, And You and I, Parallels, Machine Messiah and Starship Trooper. Benoit, while not a copy of Jon, sings in the same range, and has a very clear sound to his voice.
While we miss Jon and Rick, we understand that neither can be on tour due to health concerns and risks. They may yet have their time again with the band, but for now, we will remember this great series of YESshows and look forward to what 2009 may bring!