Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Amphitheatre at Station Square
13 years, 8 months and 5 days ago
AS A MEET AND GREET PARTICIPANT, I COULD NOT HAVE HAD A BETTER EVENING. STEVE HOWE HAS BEEN MY GHOST MENTOR FOR 3 DECADES. I TRUELY FEEL THAT HE SHOULD BE KNIGHTED BY THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND FOR HIS CONTRIBUTION TO EXCELLENT MUSIC AS A GUITARIST AND LYRICIST AMALGAMATING CLASSICAL, ROCK, JAZZ GENRAS AND OVERALL SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE INVOLVING MULTIPLE STRINGED INSTRUMENTS. CHRIS (BEST TO YOU), ALLEN (ONE OF THE TOP 5 BEST PERCUSSIONISTS IN THE WORLD), BENOIT (YOU KEEP IT UP)AND OLIVER (DAD'S GOT TO BE PROUD), YOU PLAYED YOUR HEARTS OUT; ALL GREAT MUSICIANS IN YOUR OWN RIGHT. CONGRATULATIONS GUYS,SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE. YOU'RE NUMBER ONE IN MY BOOK. KEEP ROCKING ON THE DEVON FARM. I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED MEETING ALL OF YOU AFTER THE SHOW. BLESS YOU ALL.
Asia was at their best when they weren't playing Asia. Asia in the 80's was simply a way for 4 prog-rock veterans, superb musicians all, to make oodles of money playing cheesey, formulaic arena rock songs. They played one song off the new album, and it sounded just like the 80's. Not unlistenable, just not exciting, and highly disappointing considering the wasted talent. Great musicians slumming it for the money, that's what the 80's were about. Consider Genesis, Kansas, Styx, and the Moody Blues, and for that matter, Yes of the 9012-Jive/Big $ Generator era. Having said that, Fanfare for the Common Man was one of the highlights of the whole show, not just Asia's set. Court of the Crimson King was a treat as well, although Steve's guitar wasn't loud enough, and the keyboards sounded a bit tinny and strident.
Now on to Yes. All the people bashing Benoit for his on-stage energy and Oliver for his lack of it can take a flying leap. Those guys delivered their parts accurately, and that's all I ask of them. Besides which, correct me if I'm wrong, but would they have ever done Machine Messiah or Tempest Fugit with Jon? Machine Messiah was THE highlight for me, hands down. Astral Traveller was a lot of fun as well, although Allen's solo paled after Palmer's in Fanfare. I never get tired of hearing And You and I or Heart of the Sunrise, but I'd happily trade Roundabout, Your Move, Siberian Khatru, and Starship Trooper for Gates of Delirium and Close to the Edge, or anything from Topographic. I missed the Masterworks tour. Maybe someday they'll do another one. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, but would prefer more Yes and less Asia if I had my druthers.
I have seen YES many times in the distant past....perhaps a dozen times, all prior to 1984.
Recently, I saw them in Hershey, Pa with "In the Present (some pix from that show are on this site....the photographer was standing next to me).
Also...I am a HUGE Jon Anderson fan.
This performance was absolutely excellent! Benoit David is definitly NOT Jon Anderson. He lacks the charisma and stage presence. His voice, however sounds like Jon of 1975. Strong and clear, he faithfully reproduced Jon's vocals- which is exactly what he hired for, and asked to do. He was superb in that capacity- and helps keep the music alive. Oliver Wakeman was also superb. I am no musician, but know the music very well. He did not miss a note, which also allows YES to continue to perform live. Chris Squire was really "on", as was Steve Howe and Alan White. They seemed to be genuinely enjoying the performance, and the crowd fed on it. They are not 25 anymore- but still present the music fantastically well. I have seen some reviews that faulted them for not being more animated- these guys are over 60, still playing incredibly complex music better than almost any other musician in the world. We simply can't ask for more!
Asia was also very good. A perfect blend with YES. Pittsburgh loved them, and even though they were there to see YES- wanted more music. I have not seen Carl Palmer since 1976, and he is still an unbelievable talent. Well worth the price of admission. I hope YES will tour again with Jon Anderson. They owe it to us, the fans, and to each other. Please though, that does NOT dismiss Benoit David or Oliver Wakeman- both were and are incredible talents.
If you are wondering if you should plunk down a little cash to see this YES line-up, do it. Do it now!!! But Jon isn't with them. Simply hold your hand up to block David's impish body and you will not be able to tell that Mr. Anderson is not present. Enjoy watching the son of the MASTER perform on keyboards. He didn't miss a note.
I've seen countless Yesshows in my 33 years of fandom. This one ranked with any of them. (Except my first, the "Welcome Back Rick Show" @ the Civic Arena. Going For the One tour. Center stage third row seating. The fog during "Close to the Edge" pouring over me like a "river running right over my head".
I have seen the original Asia lineup twice in the last two years so the setlist and the performance was no surprise to me. The band was good and Carl was awesome. The sound was very clear.
I have also seen Yes in this version so there was no surprise there either. The difference between last year and now is that Benoit is more confident and much better. Oliver is VERY shy but sounded better. Chris was good, Steve was terrific, Alan was.....there.
The venue? An ebarrassment! I drove in from Cleveland as the show didn't come to Cleveland this year. I believe Wetton said this is the first time playing is Pittsburgh. The Amphitheater used to have a tent but not now. Thank God for a nice night. The stage was okay and there were no Roger Dean props up there and the sound was very clear for an outdoor venue. The Pittsburgh skyline is terrific and this place was directly across from the Point and there was a good view.
Having trains going by is a distraction.
The chairs themselves were so cheap that many broke. The sections had cheap paper signs and no one knew where they began and ended. None of the rows were marked. I have seen Yes over 40 times but nowhere as bad as this.
An excellent show at a horrible venue. Pittsburgh, yinz can do better than this.
Well... I wanted to bring my two young boys to see what real music is about and how timeless and inspirational it can be. I wasn't sure how this would go, my wife and sons have never been to a live performance. Well, despite some of the other comments about venue, and trains, and whatever... this performance by YES and by ASIA, was... something that my sons will truely remember attending with me long after I am gone. We were moved, we were unified, and it couldn't have been better. Listening to, watching, and experiencing what was put forth by these fine artists is hard to describe... My compliments can't do justice to what we got from this show. Thank you so much !!
I have already perused a few reviews and will add this:
The venue was almost a castrophe; terrible signeage to find the fricken place, long lines, long will call lines, terrible cheap plastic seats, terribly wrongly marked seats, terrible security (only one guy actually made the effort to seat the mob of people around section 101 that were still standing after five songs into Asia and lasted into Yes, after the break!) After a few drinks, it didn't matter that the british blokes behind me talked louder than Yes singing. Hey, singing along, even out of key like me, is fun. But, to talk louder than the band that close to the front is just rude. Thankfully, they shut up about half way through the show.
On to the Show: First of all, i am not a musician nor played one on TV nor stayed at a holiday inn expresss. I do enjoy this type of music and have seen Yes for about 30 years in all their pieces parts and still love them, sans Chris' black stretch pants.
Asia, i have not seen and i thought they stole the show. Carl Palmer's energy was fantastic. John Wetton's quips about the sun were funny and the music they played was really cool. They were tight and sounded like a rock band that were around when i was in college, the first time around. Fanfare rocked and the ole Buggles song was a throw back that just worked as the sun was slowly setting. Meanwhile, Steve is the hardest working guitar player in the universe.
Yes, great show, really liked Machine Messiah with the Fog and Benoit and even Steve taking their guitars and pointing them across the stage. The fog was great, even with Chris' fan blowing his small section the wrong way. (Chris still has hair, so i shouldn't complain that much:)
Heart of the Sunrise and Starship Trooper with Chris' booming base was great and Steve's licks on Owner made it sound really fresh after all these years.
As usual, Wade made the meet and greet fantastic, Thx, Wade. The boys are always receptive to crazy old time fans. Always makes me wonder what it was like for them when they had 80,000 fans and were on top. They lined up for their picture taking event and it looked like the Usual Suspects line-up. I said it outloud, but no one laughed. Oh well, not British humor i guess:)
Another show that is totally worth seeing. Great music and great musicians.
Asia /Yes a must see show and how can you go wrong with all that talent.Asia was awesome!John can surely sing and Carl is such a showman and great drummer.I could have heard more!
Yes was wonderful and Machine Messiah was I thought the best song of the night!Let's be honest David did a good job but Jon
is and always will be the voice of Yes.I thought Davids mike was low,I coudn't hear the words as well.Steve is the most underated guitarist I know,he was really having fun.O Wakeman,nice hair,thats all I will say.Venue was a parking lot overlooking the city.Sat what I thought was my seat,no ushers in the back,I think they got those chairs out of a garbage dumpster.Overall:Sound-Wonderful.Venue-Rubish.
Both bands performed well, and Yes had a particularly solid ending beginning with Machine Messiah and ending with Starship Trooper. I know Steve gets tired, but the crowd was giving them a standing "o". I think they should have played one more.
I hate Station Square Amphitheater. The seating was disorganized, they didn't open the doors til 6:30 and the crowd wasn't even seated before Asia started playing. I had pretty good seats, but I spent at least 5 songs staring at people's asses trying to figure out where their seats were. And really, do you have to eat french fries/perogies and beer while watching a progressive rock show? Was the pot that good? Those extra bathroom runs make And You and I even sweeter?
The sound was pretty muddy the beginning of both bands. At times some of the levels seemed off. As a whole I would simply say the sound was "ok".
Back to the bands.
Asia was very tight, their set seemed pretty abbreviated. I almost wish they had skipped the fanfare/radiostar/crimson stuff and frankly played more Asia! Having said that, Carl Palmer pretty much stole the Asia show,and possible stole the beginning of the Yes show. After all of his energy, Alan's slowed down Yes tempos seemed almost turgid at times.
Tempus Fugit in Cleveland last year was fantastic, here it seemed a bit slower. (They just didn't seem to have it together during this one).
Unfortunately Oliver Wakemen remains not Rick. Chris needs to get someone in there who has energy and fire. Sure Rick used to get bored sometimes, but I never felt he was "not there" as much as Oliver.
Chris is such a great performer, I think he simply needs to keep touring and playing. His custom black Rick is amazing looking.
Oh and that reminds me, Wetton played and sang pretty well. He's an underrated bass player and still has a good voice!
It's been nearly a 40 year love affair with YES and not often have I sat front row center between the two greatest guitarists in the world! Voted time and time again but not in the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame ? Shame Shame. What's wrong with that Picture ?
I get the feeling that there are positive vibes between Jon and his bandmates and I hope he stays healthy and returns to the line-up. David is a sensational fill in and he has to be pinching himself every night fronting his dream band! Having seen YES just about every time they play Pittsburgh and traveling to other cities shows, I can say they were on top of there game and looked to be having a great time. The YES sound crew has always been top notch back as far as I can remember with Clair Brothers back in the 70's. A highlight for me was "Machine Messiah", haven't heard that one since 1980's Drama YES in the round tour. Couldn't have been a better performance, my only complaint was there sticking to the set list and not coming back out for another song or more. They left me wanting more and I wouldn't hesitate to buy another ticket for this tour. Magical how the rain quit early in the day and the weather was terrific. Asia also sounded great. Carl still has that crazed look in his eyes, Wetton's voice is in great form, Downes was having a blast and it was a very memorable night. Would have loved to have heard those old antique synthesizers on "Court" but probably would take too much room up on the tour truck.
Yes and Asia delivered bigtime last night. I've read complaints about the mix in recent shows, but I must say I could hear every instrument and voice clearly, maybe the best mix I ever heard. Hats off to the sound guy!
That being said, the playing was phenomenal, very few mistakes, which is especially notable with the intricacies of the songs played. Benoit David ay jump around alot, but I think he brings an energy to the band that has been lacking for years. His vocals were powerful yet subtle when needed. Howe seemed a little tired, can't blame him, Squire played the best I've seen him play and sing in years, and Alan was solid as ever. Not fair to compare him with Palmer, who is simply the best(sorry Neal Peart fans!). Wetton was in great voice and Geoff Downes was very entertaining, making eye contact many times while playing with the fans. He is a first class ham, Geoffrey Buggle!
And You And I was the highlight for me, and of course I took a peebroch during Owner of a Lonely Heart. I hope Howe is getting paid more for double duty, he certainly earns it! Oliver's Moog Lil Phatty solos on Heart of the sunrise were the best I ever heard.
Don't miss this show if you get a chance to go, who knows how many tours these guys have left in them.
Best surprise of the night...we got our tickets at the gate at 5:30, and they were 7 rows back center, talk about luck!
All in all, another great Yesshow! Long Live the Relayers!
Fantastic Concert! I love both groups; Asia and Yes. I was completely taken away during the entire evening. Both groups were fantastic. The best concert I ever saw, was when YES performed at Station Square 11 years ago. Well, this was the second best concert I ever saw, and I rate it as high as the last YES concert. I enjoyed YES so much, I feel like I need to see the concert again! I wish I could. They played 2 songs from the "Drama" album. Drama is my favorite album, but when they played Tempus Fugit and Machine Messiah, they elevated these songs to such a higher and unbelievable plain, that I cant describe the experience, other than it blew me away! The same goes with Roundabout and Starship Trooper, both songs were played at a level that I never could believe. You have to see the concert for yourself. Fantastic performance. I am sooo very impressed with Benoit David. Jon Anderson is my favorite performer, yet listening to Benoit last nite, he was an exact match of Anderson. He sounded completely like him. I was very impressed. The entire evening was worth every minute! Go see the concert. Both groups still have it! I hope they do this again next year. I would go in a heart beat.
Well I have to say I went in a doubter and came out a believer.
I actually lucked out on a near perfect last minute seat up
The combination of Asia and Yes was brilliant.
Asia opened with a very diverse set from Buggles hit
Video Killed the Radio Star to Court of the Crimson King,
ELP's Fanfare for the Common Man, and all Asia hits
in between. Astounding give that alot of this music was
from diffent eras which used to be very divisive in the
prog vs. aor hit sort of camps but with the distance of
years was fun to watch these greats of English prog go
though the catalog. Jophn Wetton was excellent, seemd to
enjoy returning to the spotlight, Carl Palmer played
with genuine enthusiasm, and Geoof Downes was very good.
Steve Howe entered with Asia, and played with brillinace
and grace . All in all a very very satisfing warm up band and
play thourgh of a whole range of hits from various eras all played with aplomb and enthusiasm.
When YES entered , from the opening of Stavinskys Firebird
Suite , into Siberian Khatru, the band was on fire!
I have seen YEs though many incarnations, some more energetic
than others, and some where they seemd on auto pilot, but this
night in Pittsburgh they seemd genuinely smokin hot!
Again I would say it was Steve Howes night to shine,
transitioning form Asia, he carried the band through
Siberian Khatru, And you And I ( in pitsburghese this would
be an yins an at), Machine Messiah,Ive Seen All Good People,
Tempis Fugit, Roundabout, HEart of the Sunrise, and other
I really felt of all he shone most brillaintly, not to
imply less of Chris Squire who was in fine form as well, and
ALan White did a beautiful solo on "Astral traveller" a relative
rarity from "Time and a word" which showcase nicely just
how experimental yet melodic and rythmic this band was form
the earliest days. Always srtiking the right note of complexity,
yet return themematically to grooves that keep it grounded and
rocking. OK...Now to benoit David, obviously needing to fill
some big shoes int eh abscence of Jon Anderson, and definely
the element I would have guessed as the weakest, yet I have to
admit he carried it off well, with genuine enthusiasm and
spirit of the music. By the time they got to
"Heart of the Sunrise" the band had everyone along with them
on their feet. and the encore "Starship trooper " was excellent.
Again, a great great night of music played with alot
of spirit and energy escpecailyl Stve Howes astounding
turn at both bands...
My brother and I decided on a lark at the last minute to go down to the concert in Pittsburgh. I haven't been to see Yes since 1978 or 1979, 30 YEARS! Man, was I amazed! The sounded as good as they did 30 years ago. Steve Howe is still the best guitar player in the world in my mind. Chris Squires and Alan White complement each other perfectly. Amazingly Oliver sounds as good as his dad Rick Wakeman and the biggest surprise was Benoit David was a spot on ringer for Jon Anderson. My brother kept saying it was Jon Anderson, and if I hadn't have had read the lineup, I would have thought it was Jon. I feel 30 years younger after watching this concert. Thank you yes for a fantastic show!
Aside from the venue, which was awful, a wonderful evening was had by all. Great seats, fourth row, dead center. Attended with my best friend from high school. We saw Yes together for the first time at the Civic Arena in 79 (Tormato tour). This was the infamous Jon in the "bear hug" show! Still to this day one of the top three shows I've been to. Anyway, I digress...
Asia: Saw them at the old Stanley Theater (now the Benedum) in 1982 when my wife was preggers with our first daughter. While not a huge fan of the music, at the time if you wanted to hear anything close to prog rock, they were it. To my pleasant surprise I loved the 2009 version. John Wetton was in great voice, Geoff was having a blast and playing his ass off, and Steve, well, I don't want to be redundant but if there's a better guitarist on the planet I wish someone would point him or her out to me! Really enjoyed the throwback tunes although I wish John had picked a UK (In the Dead of Night) tune instead of Court. Which brings me to Carl Palmer. Man, the guy looks like he's 25. A walking advertisement for the benefits of yoga and martial arts. A great technician and showman BUT in terms of pure drum groove and feel, sorry, he's never impressed me. Has always had a tendency to rush fills and frankly many of his fills are not very creative. GREAT soloist but an average ensemble player. As a guy who's been playing for 38 years, these days I'm far more impressed by the great ensemble player. Back in 82 at the age of 20 I would have said the exact opposite. Now, it's all about the song.
Yes: I've read many other reviews stating how tired Alan White looks and plays. Sorry, didn't see it. He is what I'm talking about when I say a GREAT ensemble player, but average soloist. He and Chris were locked into each other like one musician all night. Especially on the Drama tunes which I've always felt was their best album as a purely balls out rock and roll rhythm section (GFTO was Alan's finest hour with Yes, IMHO. Subtle-TOTC, bombastic-Parallels, brilliant-Awaken) A thinking man's Bonham/Jones you might say. The only flaw I heard from these two all night was the ssslllloooowwww version of Siberian. And even on that they had it locked in the pocket.
Highlights besides the Drama tunes: Steve Howe all night long but especially on And You and I (did he play 4 different guitars in the course of that one or did I lose count?) and even though I would rather have not heard it he nailed a funky-cool solo on OOALH.
Roundabout: Again, could have done without it but this was actually the best I've ever heard it live. In the past it seemed like they were mailing this one in but maybe with the new blood in the band they've found the passion for it again.
HOTS: WOW! Amazing by all hands. Oliver was smoking on this one. While not the most demonstrative stage presence his musicianship was nothing short of astounding. Great Hammond work even if it was on a fake Hammond (Korg). And on HOTS especially, the new little Moog sounded awesome. Bob Moog was smiling down from heaven hearing that one. Again, Alan and Chris put on a rhythm section clinic.
Benoit David: Don't know what the future holds for him but he can come and sing with my band anytime! Is he Jon? Of course not, nor should he even want or try to be. He does what any great musician who has to replace a legend would do. He brings himself to the tunes. What I mean is, there are only so many ways these tunes can be sung at this point. Yes is not going to rearrange the tunes to fit what Benoit David can or cannot do. He has to be the one to adjust. I think he has done a magnificent job of walking the fine line between being true to the tunes and bringing his own uniqueness to the material. To those who bash him just remember. These are not 3-chord Sex Pistols songs we're talking about. These are some of the most challenging pieces of music written in the last fifty years regardless of genre. He w
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.