You know you did good when your child who grew up listening to Yes, Says hey mom, bought tickets to go see Yes... again! Both, never ever disappointed. What better venue then Humphrey's! Beautiful San Diego evening. Welcome back to San Diego, Hope you had a great time. Glad to see everyone enjoying themselves....fans and musicians. We never grow old of the feelings we get from listening. Moves us,moves our souls. Thanks again for letting us be swept away. Mic and Nicole
The last time I saw YES was in Balboa Stadium (30 plus years) when they were in their prime, although Rick wasn't there. I became bitter over the endless strife and change. Although I had enough after the release of underachieving Tormato,but I was very impressed with Drama. This should've been my cue to not write off Yes which was done nevertheless. My mistake,my regrets- all those missed concerts and music.Thanks to the computer, my Yes affection has been rekindled. OK, enough of the confession. Prior to the concert my excitement was reserved. After all, Oliver and Benoit are stepping in for Rick and Jon. For Chris, Steve and Alan, the cruel reality of "Geezerdom" is getting closer- no offense intended. It wouldn't be fair to expect the ultra high energy epitomized by concerts in years gone past which get revisited almost daily in my car.I didn't know what to expect and told my wife that I was keeping an open mind. I wasn't dissappointed. After a shakey start, YES did lock it down although the same can't be said for Mr Soundman whose gaffs continued through the concert to the point that the audience started yelling directions. SIBERIAN KHATRU was good and had it's swagger. The annunciation on I'VE SEEN ALL PEOPLE wasn't crisp but instrumentally it was good. Could have this been due to monitor problems? AND YOU AND I, HEART OF THE SUNRISE, MACHINE MESSIAH and TEMPUS FUGIT were awesome. ASTRAL TRAVELER was a treat. OWNER OF A LONELY HEART was excellent and I especially liked Steve's guitar solo and lics.STARSHIP TROOPER was it's ussual fantastic and an appropriate encore. Steve and Chris were on fire. Benoit was better than I had hoped.Some people have written that they found his movement about on stage weird. I didn't think so, but I wasn't looking for Jon Anderson and he does need to do something more than stand there. Oliver- from what I could hear was outstanding. MR SOUNDMAN seemed to forget he was there much of the evening. Oliver could become a little animated and interact some with the audience but this might not be his personality. Alan was excellent although he had the unenviable task of following a red-hot Carl Palmer who even now can make most drummers seem ordinary. YES delivered and I left only wanting more and wondering how much better it could've been with a good soundman. ASIA preceded YES and they were terrific! I enjoyed Wetton's vocals and bass, Geoff Downes and Steve Howe were great and Carl Palmer was scorching hot! Palmer is still arguably the best drummer on the planet and what a showman! I found the acoustic versions of the songs refreshing. I would've liked to hear some more material off their latest album Phoenix but what do you cut in an abbreviated set? I would count this concert among the best concerts I've ever attended and wouldn't hesitate attending if they played again tommorow in San Diego!
Interesting night, to be sure. As it turned out, my wife & I were the only 2 to purchase the Asia "VIP" meet 'n greet packages for the San Diego show. Ended up being money very well spent, in our opinions. We showed up at the venue about 4:30pm as instructed & were kind of milling about since we didn't know *exactly* where we were supposed to wait. We could hear Howe messing about with an acoustic somewhere inside. Couple of minutes after that Geoff Downes showed up carrying a bit of luggage & we chatted briefly with him. About 5 minutes after that we were escorted into the venue itself, a beautiful, though smallish modern facility right on the bay. We were standing at the back watching Howe testing & playing bits on multiple guitars, he was laughing & bantering with the crew & sound guy, seemingly in a great mood. After a while, a portly old guy wearing a tan "seniors" type hat & tan golf shirt & shorts ambled by, who I recognized immediately as Alan White lol. He was in a friendly, amiable mood so we chatted for a bit & he ambled off towards the stage. I heard a voice call out to someone directly behind & above us, we turned & saw John Wetton, standing on the (I guess) balcony of his hotel room. I said hello, introduced my wife (who he chats with on his site occasionally, so he knew who she was) & a couple of minutes later he came out & directly to us & we had a few minutes of interesting talk with him, he looked good, signed a few Icon CD's for my wife. Oliver Wakeman walked past, then Wetton went off to talk to him someplace. A minute after that Carl Palmer went by towing a suitcase on wheels, seemingly in a big hurry. At about that point Asia's (I guess) road manager called us to the side of the stage, where we went backstage & watched the Asia guys finishing up what passes for their "soundcheck"--no actual songs played, just a bit of individual noodling. Geoff Downes & Carl Palmer then came over to us, joined by John Wetton and Benoit David, & we all chatted for what seemed like ages, about all sorts of things, gigs, bands, albums, soccer, you name it, they signed stuff, posed for as many pics as we wanted to take, (& we took a LOT) & were all, without exception, genuinely friendly & accomodating, I spent a while talking to Benoit (he seemed happy to be talking to a fellow Canadian, so far from home--plus he thought my wife was gorgeous so he scored points there lol) about his experiences with Yes & how he feels about everything. After that we said our goodbyes, thanked them & wished them a good show, & left. The whole operation was absolutely first class, we paid $99 each for the VIP & like I said, it was worth every penny.
The show itself? Steve Derbes pretty much summed it up in his review of the previous night, for me Asia were excellent but nowhere near loud enough, "Yes" were mixed horribly but still pulled off a pretty good show. Benoit did what he was supposed to do admirably, but there were many times when you could barely hear him. Considering how clear & strong Wettons voice was earlier I suspect BD's undermixing was no accident. White & Squire were tight as always. Squire's singing voice sounded quite strong last night, better than I've heard him in recent years. But gadz he's put on even more weight, he looks very unhealthy. :/ Wakeman plays the parts but the guy is completely lacking in stage presence, moreso than any professional musician I have ever seen. He's all but invisible up there. Odd. As for Howe, he played great for both bands, was fairly static for the Asia set but much more animated for the Yes set. He was also terribly *un*professional during HotS, he wasn't being lit up the way he felt he should, so he started making frantic pointing gestures towards the follow spot guy, then actually *stopped playing* at a key part to petulantly hold his hand over his eyes, as if to say "I'm in the dark", & only r
Was it just the fabulous outdoor sunset setting or was last night truly special for another reason I am missing? Both Asia and Yes just keep sounding better and better as this tour goes on (contrary to the one-and-out naysayers’ whining criticism) and last night was the best show yet. John Wetton for sure was jazzed by the gorgeous Shelter Island setting, the crowd and the boaters watching for free in the bay! I still wonder how those folks drinking beer in those tiny rafts TCB - but that's a whole other story.
Everyone just seemed on fire for this show - we sat 6th row left, in front of Steve, and I thought Oliver finally was higher in the mix from our seats, showcasing his skills properly. Kudos to Benoit for a new outfit after the costume change - you do get tired of seeing the team wear the same stuff every night.
Kudos also to the terrific SD fans - you guys have it lucky with that great weather, but to your credit, you rock out!
A Russian couple sat behind us, chatting away in Russian - so I turned and asked them if they spoke English - the one fellow said emphatically, "NO...WHY??" I told him his language was beautiful to listen to - and of course, he let his guard down, we chatted a bit about Igor, Asia in Moscow, even Stravinsky, and I could tell through the night that he loved the show.
How could you not??
I sat next to a young guy - 20's something – who was there with his dad, and he was texting all though Asia’s set - but he finally started to get it during Yes. Towards the end of the set, as Steve ripped through yet one more incredible solo, I turned to him and said, "You do know you're seeing the greatest guitar player you will ever see in your entire life, don't you?" He looked at me and said, "Yeah, I figured that out tonight".
I felt the same way back in 1976 when I first saw Yes, but fortunately for me, I have been lucky enough to have had that privilege over and over again so many times over the past 30+ years.
If you are anywhere near enough to travel, do not miss tonight's show in Phoenix. It's going to be a hottie!!
Gotta go - back on the road to see Yes and Asia!!
NOTICE (July 25): A substantial data corruption occurred some time between July 22 and 24, which wiped out almost all information for the second leg of the "In the Present" USA tour. Unfortunately there was no backup recent enough to regenerate the lost data (more frequent backups are now being instituted). The lost dates and setlists have been reconstituted manually, but the reviews cannot be regenerated except by fans re-submitting them, which we encourage. FY regrets the inconvenience.