In 1980 YES released the album Drama with two new members. With this new line-up, the band went on tour and broke Led Zeppelin's record for Sold Outs in a row – different years of course – at New York's legendary Madison Square Garden, reaching six nights, same as they were completed between September 4 and 6 of that same year. Concerts that for the first time in history had radio coverage throughout the entire nation.
On those nights, songs from this great LP were played for the first and last time, and it would take almost three decades for that... Gates of Delirium
Yes returned to Mexico after almost 5 years of absence and this time he returned in a different way, more different than ever. Without Jon Anderson. Because although they had come without Wakeman, never since the 1996 meeting had the voice of YES been absent. Hence, the controversy reigned from the first moment it was learned that the historic vocalist had been left out of the tour for 40 years and would be replaced by a fan with a cloned voice and an official tribute to YES.
For the distant key square, the theme was well drawn when looking through the heraldic shield of the Wakeman, being one of the sons, Oliver, the chosen one.
With this scenario and aware that YES was performing songs from the favorite plastic, we went to the Metropolitan on Thursday, February 5.
At 9 o'clock at night, Igor Stravinski's Firebird Suite put us in front of the progressive group. The musicians appeared on stage, which was adorned by synthetic figures in the form of caves, clouds, atmospheres that invariably direct the public to the legendary covers of their records.
Classic pieces start the night, Siberian Khatru and I've seen all good People, show us that the old YES is always there even when more than half of those who recorded them are not in front of us. But there are Chris Squire and Steve Howe, and with them the sound is guaranteed.
In addition Alan White is behind the drums and with him the music of the quintet expands towards the rock that was forged after Fragile or Close to The Edge.
Without him we would never have tried a Relayer or a Going for the One.-we would never have understood how we understand Lennon's Imagine-author's note. And gentlemen, he is the drummer!
With the three of them, the legacy is well protected. That is why Close to the Edge sounded like what it is, the magnum opus of YES, with the moods that it transmits through the passages that complete the work; the heavenly And you and I close the sentence. The complete CttE album and live!
Precise like clockwork without losing improvisation, the guitar and rhythmic machinery attacked Tempus Fugit and Machine Messiah head-on.
Finally a couple of pieces of the iceberg of Drama were interpreted. Spectacular, the highest point of melodic rock that YES reached in its history, and particularly in the case of the second piece, one of the best live performances that we have heard throughout 20 years of hanging around rock'n'roll stages.
We can affirm it, Drama if it was something special Save Downes and Horn.
The climax of the concert that had left the last chord of Machine Messiah did not prevent us from being enveloped at different times by great passages of the classic and extraordinary work. Starship Trooper that sounds more up-to-date than ever with the rhythm that White imprints on it –far from Bill Bruford's syncopation-, achieving a dynamic theme created almost 40 years ago.
One of the jewels of Fragile, Long Distance Runaround / The Fish, which gives rise to the intervention of Chris Squire, Alan White and Steve Howe, 100% YES.
Two sonic additions never before performed in Mexico, Onward by the endearing Tormato and Astral Traveler from the second album Time and a Word. The latter is a portent of rhythms and breaks, the incipient sound YES, final destination: the progressive.
YES would close the night with the most successful song of his career Owner of a Lonely Heart, not the best of 90125, but the emblematic one, and the one that surely kept YES in the catalogs of record companies.
In any case, Roundabout, its first foray into radio in 1972, would remind us of closing that the commercial is not necessarily opposed to quality and high-level execution, although they certainly rarely coexist.
To be Over
Without a doubt it was a great concert. YES keeps its fame up to par. Steve Howe the super guitarist, his quality, his energy, his handling of the instrument place him without a doubt in the Olympus of rock; Like Chris Squire and Alan White, he is one of the most spectacular rhythm bases of all time.
Oliver Wakeman excellent, in his name he leads the magic in this his journey to the center of the earth together with YES.
The presence of Benoit David as vocalist keeps the mission afloat, the young man adapts and looks for him; let's remember that he is not (was) a professional and is rubbing shoulders with three of the most important musicians in the genre, there is no need to discuss anything else. Also with Anderson we would still expect some drama to be performed. Bravo David!
The concert met all expectations and closed another chapter in the rock life of many of us. The band is still fantastic and transmits a special vibe, sensations, moods, come on! We were in front of a cult band. And most importantly, a live band full of energy. While others do not decide to meet (LZ) or unfortunately have lost members (PF); we had YES on Calle Independencia in Mexico City less than a week ago.
We are lucky.
Before the concert some of us agreed that it would probably be the last time we would see YES; at the end of the night the idea is not so clear.
YES will never die Do you agree Chris…? A hug p.s Thank you Fernando and thank you all for joining us on this trip.
I send a cordial greeting to the progressive community.
On February 5th I had the opportunity to witness the start of the second part of Yes' North American tour with its transformed line-up, in order to continue giving concerts despite Jon Anderson's illness.
The recital took place in the beautiful Metropolitan Theater, which has a capacity of just over 3,000 people and where they had played precisely the last time they came to Mexico. The place was packed to bursting.
In addition to common suspects Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White, they were
They were joined by Rick Wakeman's son Oliver and Montreal-born singer Benoit David, who was recruited through a YouTube video of him appearing with his Yes tribute band.
The reality is that the desire of the veterans to continue playing live is noticeable, since they did it in a phenomenal way. Age does not make a dent in them and the interpretations of their great classics were masterful.
Benoit David becomes a clone of Anderson, including in clothing and dances and gestures. His recordings are very similar and apart from a blunder he made by forgetting a verse of Close to the Edge, he played a very worthy role.
Oliver Wakeman covered his father with dignity, although in some interpretations
it was noted that the student still does not reach the teacher.
I also mentioned separately the choice of topics that normally would not have been played with Jon Anderson on stage, such as the two pieces of Drama, Onward and Astral Traveller. I felt very fortunate to be able to witness these gems live and in full color.
As scenery they had some hanging clouds designed by Roger Dean, which despite their simplicity, in combination with the light games gave a mind-blowing effect.
The band felt comfortable with the warm reception from the public and both White and Howe and Squire delighted us with their customary solos.
Next comes the setlist, which probably has some error in the order:
Siberian Khatru Your move/All good people Tempus fugit Onward Â Close to the edge And you and I Solo Steve Howe Long distance runaround/The fish Astral traveler Machine messiah Starship trooper Owner of a lonely Heart Roundabout
Please, pray tell what is up with Chris and/or his family. Paul
Arturo Orozco & Hector Martinez, from Mexico City
My thoughts and prayers are with Chris and his family. May he have a speedy recovery. Let's hope & pray for a speedy recovery for one of the all time legends. Get well Chris! from all YESFANS of Mexico City... LONG LIVE THE MUSIC OF YES...
adrian cedillo manzo
From México City best wishes for a speedy recovery health to Mr. Squire.
Steve Howe solo: Winter/ In The Course Of The Day Proof: [Link]
Strictly. The sound was not 100% perfect, the bass was over the top most of the time, the band lost coordination kind of 3 times (understable considering, this was the first show of the leg), Wakeman had few opportunities to shine, and David suffered a bit while trying to get the higher notes with his voice (CTTE was close to the collapse when he forgot the lines in the climax)
No matter this, it was some kind of excitment in the venue last night, and Yes offered a memorable performance, there is no doubt that Steve Howe is having a good time in this tour, I have never seen him like last night, jumping, moving, joking, talking to the audience, I think he had a refresh since touring with Asia. In fact the entire band seems refreshed and happy with the adition of Wakeman and David, who is doing a good job on the vocals, although the people misses Anderson, Benoit is really a good singer.
It was a pleasure to hear "Tempus Fugit", "Machine Messiah", "Astral Traveler" (wow) and "Onward", also the introducion to And You And I was a surprise.
I hope they release a record soon, this seems quite difficult, but the fans will be very pleased if we have new music for our beloved band. "Aliens" can be a teaser for a new recording?. I hope Yes.
In short, great show last night, the venue was completely sold out. Audience received very well this Yes incarnation, and went wild after most of the songs, sound was impeccable, and the band members seem to be quite happy and as virtuoso as ever. Howe said after CTTE something like "we have come a long way, but this is completely worth it". They played for around 2:20 hours, but it all went too fast.
No major changes in the setlist, to the best of my memory they played, after the Firebird suite (goose bumps again!!): Siberian Khatru I've Seen All Good People Tempus Fugit Onward Astral Traveller Close To The Edge Steve Solo And You And I Long Distance Runaround/The Fish Aliens (Are Only Us From The Future) Machine Messiah Starship Trooper
Encore: Owner Of A Lonely Heart Roundabout
Personal favorites were CTTE, AYAI, MM, ST, and Roundabout.
Hopefully, I will have a chance to see them once again in the future.