Thursday, July 9, 2009
13 years, 8 months and 17 days ago
A great show. My experience with the band live goes back to 1977's Going for the One tour and naturally, the band has evolved many times since then (and the other shows I have caught over the decades--I'm OLD!) but this was a fine concert. Asia did a solid set and it was enjoyable to see the guys. Many memories of ELP concerts and UK shows came to mind. Carl was so enthusiastic and his cymbal work was particularly nice (shrugging off a dropped stick didn't dampen his or our enthusiasm). Wetton sounded pretty good, Steve was fine of course, and Geoff was a hoot (9 keyboards!). But the evening belonged to Yes!
Because we were so close the sound was a bit unbalanced (kind of thew hole in the middle thing plus the very high speakers). The mix improved through the first few songs...the apparently usual low levels of Benoit and Oliver slowly got better. (In some songs Oliver was too low and on others too high...hmmmm.) At this point in their lives and this tour I think most of you have a feel for the basics of the set list and how they cover the songs so I'll focus on the subtle aspects such as how they moved me and how each person's vibe seemed. Steve is the master. Period. If you have kept up with even 1/3 of his solo work you know the man has never stopped growing and learning. I cannot fault his technique. Anything he plays or doesn't play is because he WANTS it that way. The man has an inexhaustible tool kit and he can bring out anything from his bag of tricks whenever he wants to. His spirit is strong, he clearly loves playing, and I sense he'll be around into his 90's!
Alan has always been the anchor and this was no exception. The look on his face (I studied these guys with the binoculars) was fascinating...he just concentrates and holds down that machine-like technique. Sound? yeah, a bit less focused and loud than the past. I think the sound system wasn't great. Cannot fault Alan at all...tasty solo too. Oliver was fun to watch. Workmanlike and focused but he clearly enjoys the gig and his wry smiles were nice to see. Very nice work through the evening. Oh, and he did wielded an excellent mellotron sound but I couldn't see what board it was.
Benoit is excellent. Naturally, NO ONE can replace Jon but he does a fine job filling in. He is confident now and clearly enjoys the gig. He brings a youthful spunkiness into the band. His vocals were stirring and full of emotion. I think he understands the material now. His acoustic guitar work was very good...not that it is dazzling technique but his TIMING is spot on...his arpeggiated chords on Machine Messiah were essential. The guy is perfect for the band now. If we could only get Jon on stage with this band...i'd love to hear him and Jon tear a place apart! And now, the best is for last...Chris.
My! Does anyone have more special juice than Squire? The man is complex and full of music. It just flows from the guy. It was so thrilling to see him so close and to be shaken by his playing. The bass sounded good and his bass pedals shook the place (the low end sound was the best part of the sound system). When I watch him I feel that special Squire-ness that pervades everything he has ever played. This man is such a part of the Yes experience. He has a soul that overwhelmes. He is truly larger than life in many ways! It was so cool when he thanked the two hospitals that saved his baby and his own life...there was a contigent from the local hospital that took care of his preemie and they loved the attention. Sweet! My ability with words cannot describe what this man does for me. The zillions of times I have heard Fish Out of Water resonated in my mind as I watched him last night. As I said, it was the LOOK in their faces that captured my attention. The things that most reviewers focus on are important...but, at this point in all of our lives they don't need to prove anything to me or do the best show of the tour for me...it was just being with these guys and seeing that th
When the February 25th show was cancelled, I was upset as I had really looked forward to seeing Yes, since the last time I saw them was in Las Vegas in 2004 on the 35th Anniversary Tour. My spirits were lifted when I found out they would be returning to Phoenix for last night's show.
I've been a Yes fan since I first heard "The Yes Album" as a teen in 1976 at my cousins' summer vacation home. After reading some of the previous reviews here, I wondered if I had made a mistake in spending what I did for tickets.
I'm here to tell you that it was money well spent and don't believe the naysayers! First of all, Asia rocked! As a child of the 80's, I remember their MTV videos like it was yesterday and it was awesome to fnally see the band live after nearly 30 years. I've listened to ELP and King Crimson over the years, but was never a "fan" in the sense that I am with Yes. To see Carl Palmer in action after only hearing of his drumming prowess was a real treat. It was also a treat to see Jeff Downes back in action on keyboards. John Wetton was still able to carry his notes well did equally well with his fingers. As for Steve Howe pulling double duty, he truly proved himself once again as a phenomenal guitarist. Having been very satisfied with Asia's performance, I knew that I got at least a 50% return on my investment.
After a half hour break, the house lights dimmed and those hauntingly familiar notes of "Firebird Suite" filled the air. At this point, I didn't know what to expect from Yes, but was soon clapping, singing, and smiling with many other fans. I had never even heard of Benoit David until I logged on this site yesterday to check the reviews! He is not and will never be Jon Anderson, but he has made his mark and did a wonderful job with his vocals and acoustic guitar. On the same note, Oliver Wakeman isn't Rick Wakeman, but considering his lineage and fan expectations, I think he did a great job. Alan White was spot on as I've seen him in the past, and did a rousting performance on "Astral Traveller." I already mentioned about Steve Howe pulling double duty and it was wonderful to hear "The Clap" as well as his steel guitar in "And You and I." To round things out, a very enthusiastic and engergetic Chris Squire played with all of his heart and added his harmonies to the vocals.
Yes has always been about change as the lineups have continued to evolve over the years. This current lineup is yet another transformation in an ever-evolving phenomenon that will tug at your emotions and bring a smile to your face. I hope you enjoy the show as much as I did.
All I can say is --WOW!!--what an incredible night! First, a big ‘Thank You’ to David and Oliver for filling the shoes of ‘the unfillable’. It has to be a daunting task and you guy’s both pulled it off in expert fashion. Chris and Steve and Alan OMG! What can I say? From the first note of Chris’s Ferocious Bass Guitar (it really is ferocious, there’s no other way I can describe that sound!) to the magical perfection of Steve Howe’s guitars, to the rich sounding drumming of Alan White, I was just floored. Oliver plays the keyboards in a way that is uniquely his, completely in tune with YES but also turns it on at the right moments. David sings in a style that is also his own, but true to the spirit of YES. He hit the high notes and respectfully let the words speak for themselves. Jon and Rick were surely missed and I hope they can return to YES as soon as possible. Until then, this is one show I shall never forget.
I think I took it for granted how good YES really is and how smoothly their shows alway's go. I realized tonight that it is their experience and heart that is what makes it so great…they played so well and effortlessly together that I didn’t think about it…I could just enjoy the music…the music of Yes. Their playlist was classic Yes…but with some songs that I thought I’d never get to hear live. They connected on stage so well and played with an excitement that made you feel like they were playing it for the very first time…experience and heart. Chris and Steve were great with the audience as always, Alan is a master, David sung his heart out, and Oliver at the keyboard was a treat. Thanks guy’s for a job well done!
Did I mention Asia? Icing on the cake. Icing on the cake folks. They were great also…I mean G.R.E.A.T. I haven’t listened to their music much over the years but I’m sure gonna now! Nuff said…Don‘t miss this Yes/Asia combo!
I'm sure many will dismiss what I might say here because I am a bit young to be a Yes fan (born in 1970), but I was so moved by tonight's concert I felt inspired to post my reactions here for all to see. This will be the fifth YES concert I've attendned during my life (first was ABWH in 89)
First off, Asia was dynamic and energetic. Everyone else here has already said it, but I've obligated to say it too... Carl Palmer is the MAN! Wetton and Downes were on target tonight. But the biggest praise of course is for Steve Howe, who played with passion I've never seen. A few technical gaffs of note (acts of God or fate - not the musicians' fault). Howe's guitar connection died during the first third of "Video Kill the Radio Star", of all the songs they did that night that was probably good fortune to pick that song to get jinxed up. During "Heat of the Moment" one of the strings on Wetton's bass broke, but the road crew ran out with a replacement bass within the minute (to the cheerful applause of the crowd. Crowd Favorite that night, IMHO: "In the Court of the Crimson King". I paid a lot of money for the seats we sat in, and I was ready to go home after Asia's set, fully satisfied.
I was dumbstruck on how Yes could follow Asia's outstanding set, even with the same guitarist. But they did! The first song, "Siberian Khatru" was a bit muddled and I've heard better performances from previous concerts, but every song that followed was performed solidly. Squire, who is now a resident of Arizona I am proud to say, gave special thanks to the hospital staffs (two different hospitals) who treated his newborn daughter and his own medical emergency this past year.
Having finally witnessed both of the new members, I fail to understand the grievances that a few have made about their performances. Benoit's singing was almost flawless, and yes - while he almost but not quite matches Jon's sound, I think Squire and company pulled a rabbit out of the hat in this instance to fill in for the ailing Jon (get better soon!). Oliver Wakeman's skills were superb, I was extraordinarily impressed with his performance of Machine Messiah. If he seemed unanimated it was only because he was focusing on his playing. One negative opinion that's been stated I regretfully have to agree with was Alan did seem a bit sluggish. I can't put a finger exactly what the problem was or where he was off, perhaps he just had a tough act to follow in Carl Palmer.
Overall, all eight men in both groups were playing as if they were in the prime of their life. Those of you who are in future tour stops are in for a big treat. I urge you to keep your minds open to change and enjoy a night of great music.
There seem to be many people put off by the lack of Jon Anderson on this tour. So, I went into this show at the Dodge Theater without really knowing what to expect. What I saw proves one thing:
The music transcends the musicians.
There was no Jon Anderson, no Rick Wakeman. In nearly any other band, losing those two components would be a recipe for disaster. Not Yes. Yes found a way to make their music energetic, powerful, and most impressively; fun. Benoit grooved on-stage to the point where he looked like a satire of Jon's stage habits, but he backed up his goofiness with some impressive vocals. I won't say I didn't miss Jon, but Benoit did a fantastic job and deserves nothing less than our respect and praise as fans of the band.
There was a different Steve Howe on stage. This Steve was completely energized for this performance. Whether it was the shorter show time (unlikely, given that he's been pulling double duty with Asia), or the time off from Yes, Steve was into every song he played, including "Owner of a Lonely Heart", even giving a hearty intro for the song.
I'm sure other reviewers will go into more detail about the songs and the individual performances than I, but I took away one really important thing from this show. Yes has never been about the musicians: It's been about the music. I think that's what many of the detractors of this tour seem to miss. As the last notes of "Starship Trooper" faded into the Phoenix night, it was Yes, plain and simple. And it will always be Yes, no matter who sings the lyrics or plays the notes. If you haven't decided to go see this incarnation of the band we know and have loved all out lives, I have one piece of advice: Go. You will not be sorry.
Yes delivers greatest hits at Dodge
Concert pics Yes without angelic singer Jon Anderson seems almost sacrilegious. But the fans at the July 9 show at the Dodge Theatre didn't mind that the longtime singer, who had to take a break from touring after a serious lung illness in 2008, was absent. His replacement, Quebecoise singer Benoit David, ably filled in. In fact, David, who was chosen by the band after seeing a YouTube video of his Yes tribute band Close to the Edge, sounded better than Anderson has on recent tours.
The other new member of the band was keyboardist Oliver Wakeman, son of longtime Yes ivory tickler Rick Wakeman. The younger Wakeman was also a fine replacement, looking and playing like his father during his mid-'70s heyday, albeit without the ostentatious showmanship.
Opening the show was the '80s prog supergroup Asia. Featuring Yes guitarist Steve Howe, former King Crimson bassist John Wetton, drummer Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and keyboardist Geoff Downes, formerly of Yes and the Buggles, they played a tight hour of their biggest hits, including "Only Time Will Tell," "Don't Cry," which was performed "unplugged" with Howe on electric ukulele, and "Heat of the Moment," with Downes rocking out '80s style on the keytar. The biggest cheers were reserved for Asia's forays into the individual members' pasts, however. Wetton quipped that Downes' hands were the first thing seen on MTVbefore they performed the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star." Palmer brought the house down with an overblown drum solo during the ELP fave "Fanfare for the Common Man," while Wetton shone on the King Crimson classic "In the Court of the Crimson King." One minor quibble - Wetton never sang that tune with Crimson. He joined the band four years after that song was recorded with original singer Greg Lake(see Emerson, Lake & Palmer) - and there are plenty of Crimson classics he could have chosen, like "Starless" or "Book of Saturdays." Because he was performing with Yes later in the evening, Howe did not take a solo spot during Asia's set.
After a brief intermission to allow Howe to change his clothes, Yes took the stage to the familiar strains of Stravinsky's"Firebird Suite" before launching into "Siberian Khatru" from the 1972 album "Close to the Edge." They sounded a little out of sync instrumentally, but David quickly silenced any naysayers with his high tenor. His stage presence left something to be desired however. Dressed like an Elvis impersonator and dancing like an "American Idol" contestant, he sometimes looked silly onstage.
The set stuck close to Yes' biggest hits - "Roundabout," "I've Seen All Good People" and the '80s comeback hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart" were performed, although Howe seemed out of place on "Owner" - he had left the band when it scored that smash - and didn't know how to approach the guitar solo. They also served excellent versions of the longer album tracks "And You and I" and "Heart of the Sunrise." The highlights, however, were three tunes they haven't played in eons. "Astral Traveller," originally on 1969's"Time and a Word" album, featured some driving instrumental work and a frantic solo from drummer Alan White. And with Anderson sitting out this tour, they were able to perform "Tempus Fugit" and "Machine Messiah," two songs from 1980'sunderrated album "Drama" - an album that Anderson was not on and has subsequently refused to perform songs from. The only thing missing from the "Drama" tracks was Downes, who was Yes's keyboardist for the album, yet did not join the band for those tunes.
The show closed with the epic "Starship Trooper," from 1970's"The Yes Album," building to a series of climactic solos from Wakeman and Howe.
Whether Yes made the right decision to tour with a replacement singer rather than wait for Anderson's recovery is still questionable - in some ways it seems disrespectful, and the audience was scarce compared to Yes shows in 2002 and 2004. But David is certainly
Just as FYI, Steve played Pyramidology and Clap as his solo pieces. Great show too!
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.