Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Upper Darby, Pennsylvania
13 years, 7 months and 20 days ago
In my opinion, if YES plans to keep working for the next few years, then this new line-up is the key to that plan. I could see a new energy in the playing of Steve,Chris and Alan by having Oliver and Benoit in the band. And I am looking foward to hearing new music from this line-up. Would I have liked to have seen Jon back? Yeah, but not at the expense of hearing the same songs over and over. The fact that Jon would not perform anything from Drama and some other material was getting pathetic. As for the Tower Theater show..5th row from the stage..great show. Machine Messiah was great...thanks to the band for doing the Drama songs. Looking foward to a long future for YES
Some concerts are simply *worth* the distance and expense required of their fans. ASIA... Live in Philadelphia, at the Tower Theater... *was* destined to be that legendary show. Now, I live in South Florida - but I realized I just *couldn't* miss this inspired line-up of TWO great progressive collectives on the same stage : YES with very special guest ASIA.
Hearing a NEW song..."An Extraordinary Life"... was this ASIA fan's dream come true. SO many highlights this night... Carl Palmer looked so fresh: His "Fanfare..." drum solo was a BLAST!! John Wetton's BASS improv in "Fanfare" was pure MUSCLE: HE was the Master Bassman tonight! Geoff Downes continues to play with infectious relish - esp."HEAT OF THE MOMENT"! And of course, "The Maestro": Mr. STEVE HOWE... Howe's LOVE of playing the guitar for his fans - and his talent - is jawdropping. I love this music SO much - and the combination of these 4 musicians, led with Wetton's deep, moving choir voice is "The Best" thing I've ever witnessed in over 20 years of (and 150) live shows.
(OH! Did I mention Ian McDonald joined the band onstage, flute in hand, for a FULL rendition of "Court of the Crimson King"?? An Asia FIRST:Live in Philly!)
I've been blessed to see "The Original" ASIA 5 times... Cleveland (2006), Hallandale, FL (2007), Ft. Pierce, FL (2007), Toronto, ON (2007), and now Philadelphia, PA (2009). Go see ASIA in 2010... wherever you have to!!
I was reluctant to get tickets for this show but I'm glad that I did. This was about the 20th time I've seen Yes. This was the first time without Jon. The new kid did a nice job even though his stage presence was not quite the same trip . The classics were right on the money and I really liked the version of Machine Messiah they did from the Trevor Horn Era. Wakeman Jr. did a great job without the same improvisation that Sr. puts into a show. Asia was a great opener but I thought the sound ans lights were tuned down too low for me. A hot night and a hot show ! Looking forward to Jon's return
I was lucky enough th sit in the front row right in front of Steve Howe. We Yes fans are lucky enought to enjoy the mastery of one of the best guitarist of all time. Note perfect on every lick, control of multiple pieces of equipment, and just outstanding in every artistic way that we all admire about Yes. (Loved the Martin Guitar solo!)
Thanks, Steve for a job well done! Come back soon.
Chris rumbled the bedrock wonderfully, Alan still had the snap in the drums, and Benoit captured the spirit of the songs beautifully (And you and I,...best version I have ever heard.) Oliver stood in well, let's hear him jam a little more.
But I confess to being a Philly music snob. Yes MUST be perfect in this town. This line up, well, masters and rookies. I miss Jon and Rick. I would have liked to hear Tales and Relayer materials. I don't care for "Don't kill the owner of a lonely whale". I miss the keyboard flashes and duels Rick and Steve have done. Jon up front had broader talent and greater stage presence. And the Tower Theater is a pit in the least desirable corner of town. Someday, I hope to see the "A" team once again, maybe in the new Kimmel Center.
But I can't really complain. Asia was excellent, Yes was even better, and I had a great time with my favorite bands from the front row.
30+ years a Yes and Asia Fan, what a great show this was!
Carl Palmer clearly stole the limelight with as much energy as I've ever seen him have. He must be among the top 3 best rock drummers of all time! Asia played many of their best but another great surprise was their playing songs from each individuals past bands (Video Killed the Radio Star, JD; Court of the Krimson King, JW; and Fanfare for the Common Man, CP)...initials are the players names if you 're keeping track or not old enough to know and I'll let you find the bands's names if you're not sure.
We got to hear some Yes songs that I don't recall hearing live too often in the past ie: Heart of the Sunrise, And you and I, Siberian Kathru....so well done!! Benoit could not have been any better. His voice is not quite as rich as Jon's but couldn't be any closer! The music was excellent by all counts.
As a musician, I had only one critique...the sound man could have toned down the BASS a bit and brought the keyboards up more as they were lost in the mix quite often. Of course I'm a keyboard player so I was listening for that more so.
Great job by Oliver Wakeman filling in some Big shoes!
The Carl Palmer solo alone was worth the price of admission!
30 years since Tormoto at the Spectrum first turned me onto the band and at least as many shows that I've seen on each tour since and every lineup. YES is my band and I've taken the good with the bad over the years. I thought last nights performance was as good musically as I've seen albeit without Jon. I saw this tour at Ramshead Live in Balt. last fall so I knew what to expect. Agree Owner should be out of the set without Trevor or Jon it just doesn't work. They did perform Close to the Edge in Balt. and it was superb. For a band that has evolved and endured the years,,at this time this is as good as it gets. With the imense repetoir the band has ammassed and considering the best choices for a lineup as they have at the time being.....it's just where they are!! As Bill Bruford said in an interview..he's not obliged necessarily to play music people may like today..but music that maybe liked 15-20 years from now...and for YES the music is timeless. Thanks for the great show...and many more to come :)
Having not seen Yes live in *gulp* well over 20 years, I came to the show with only modest expectations that were blown away. Awesome show! Would loved to have heard Close To The Edge and Long Distance Runaround, but hey, you can't play everything. Howe was amazing, Squier was incredible, Benoit was a more-than-capable Anderson replacement, and the group collectively were tight and sharp. "And You and I" was spectacular, "Heart of the Sunrise" was epic, and "I've Seen All Good People" and "Roundabout" were terrific.
Asia was truly exceptional. Palmer's drum solo was simply as good as it gets.
The venue was less spectacular than the bands. Way too hot; by the end of the night it smelled like a locker room in there. (Note to the drunk girl who puked in the row behind us and then passed out: thanks for sharing). WAY too crowded in the lobby area between acts, and they are lucky that people weren't trampled/injured while going outside to the insanely small fenced-in "approved" smoking/breathing area. Thought the sound was spotty all night; the bass actually made my pocketed cell phone vibrate so hard that I thought I was getting calls/texts all night. And the mix wasn't ideal either; Oliver's keyboards were getting drowned out all night.
All in all, two big thumbs up! Seasons will NOT pass me by... before I get up... and see Yes again...
Patrick and Mallon
This show marked my sixth time seeing YES, and it was my wife's third time. We were both amazed; we somehow scored seats four rows from the stage, and the TOWER had an intimate feeling with good sound. I happen to also love ASIA, ELP, and KING CRIMSON, so it was a real treat to have ASIA open. My wife called Carl Palmer "The Drum God", and he was outstanding (I haven't seen him since ELP opened for Tull approx. 15 years ago). And what about Steve Howe?! As Chris Squire noted, Steve was the new "hardest working man in show business". Also, the new additions to the band played well.
These were big surprises: "Video Killed the Radio Star", "Fanfare...", "The Court of the C.K.", "Tempest...", "Machine...", and "Astral..".
While I have been a Yes fan for decades, somehow I did not go see them live till this show. I thought both bands were great. Here are my comments:
(1) Asia. A nice set; it felt a bit hurried. Especially good was Carl Palmer's energetic drumming. Fanfare of the Common Man was a highpoint as was In The Court of the Crimson King. I wish I had tuned into the fact that Ian McDonald was playing flute beforehand. Did they announce it? He was quite excellent.
(2) Yes. Highpoints for me were "And You and I", "Heart of the Sunrise" and "Starship Trooper". It was the best live rendition of And You and I that I have ever heard (others from recordings). I loved the I thought Steve and Chris were both quite excellent. Benoit was better than I expected and I like his positive energy. I thought Oliver was technically good, but did not perceive him to be at all into the music. Perhaps I am mistaken, but that is how it felt to me.
(3) The venue. I liked the Tower Theater, but sometimes the mix wasn't quite right; overall, good though. I could never make out Steve speaking clearly. The AC was the pits, but I survived.
Thought show was sold out, took a ride to maybe find a ticket somehow. To my surprise when i got there box office was open, walked over, and got General Admission for 25 bucks , met alot of great people , that always happens, at yesshows.
Band was very tight , the singer sounded like Jon in the 70''s .
I thought highlights were machine messiah, heart of the sunrise , and astral traveler, crowd was very much into it , and Asia was enjoyable to hear.
Psycho security guard in balcony kept eveyone in line, and to the guys i met, from the sales rep from pittsburgh, and the chef from sweeneys pub, enjoyed your company .
And the original Asia reunion rolls on for its 4th year now. Steve Howe solved the problem of how to keep it going now that Yes is up and running again too. Both bands are touring in tandem this year, with Howe doing double duty by playing in both.
This show PACKED the Tower and I'm glad I'd headed down earlier this afternoon to make sure I could get tickets. I grabbed two for the balcony at $25 apiece.
Despite a shorter set this year, Asia is still blowing the crowd away with their high energy show. My friend Paul and I had seen them last year and he totally enjoyed it again this year. As for Yes, he didn't seem to be as enthused for them(despite the fact that he's seen them before and liked them), probably because of the fact that Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman weren't there.
I'll admit, Benoit David has a great voice and can hit Anderson's high notes, but does not have the same enigmatic stage presence as Anderson. He even seemed to be mixed down farther than he should be in the sound at times. Indeed, there were several instances where the sound guys seemed to be asleep at the switch, with Howe's guitar or Oliver Wakeman's keyboards not always as audible as they should've been. Overall though, for where we were in the balcony, the sound was mostly okay.
Oliver Wakeman was adequate though nothing special on keys. Certainly not the flamboyant musical centerpiece that his father is. But then, few are.
Some of the group's regular set staples, like I've Seen All Good People, Starship Trooper, And You & I, etc., I wouldn't mind if they were pulled out and retired for awhile to make way for some other things. Don't get me wrong, I love them, but they've been played at practically every Yes show most of us have attended for the last 30 plus years.
The stuff that came off best to me were the rarities. Astral Traveler, from their second album Time & a Word, sounded great, as did the Drama selections Tempus Fugit and Machine Messiah. Loved the smoky fog effect during the latter while Benoit strummed the acoustic guitar. COOL!
After playing one of his solo pieces, Sketches in the Sun, Steve Howe praised his acoustic guitar which was "made by Martin Guitars in Pennsylvania.."
And original King Crimson member Ian McDonald came out to play his flute parts on In the Court of the Crimson King when Asia played it. Since we were so far up, I wasn't sure it was him at first. The guys near me joked and thought it might be Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, or a local musician they pulled off a corner to come in and play.
Not sure what the future holds for Yes. Will Anderson return? Hopefully they're not done making new music. I would hate to see them just continue doing tours only and rehashing the old music, like too many of our classic rockers are doing today....
Right before Yes hit the stage, my friend Paul disappeared. Later on I saw him standing up near the back wall. When I rendezvoused with him at the show's end, he told me that security guards had blocked his way down for a while since they were going back & forth trying to catch two couples who kept lighting up joints. I did notice the weed smell myself and it was pretty RANCID! I thought a skunk had gotten into the theater for a minute. The overpowering stank odor kept him back near the exit where it wasn't as bad, he said. Other than that and some young kids behind me who would get bored and start chatting to one another periodically, the crowd was fairly well behaved. No screaming drunks or fights.
The Yes setlist appears above.
Here's Asia's setlist:
02. Wildest Dreams
03. Only Time Will Tell
04. An Extraordinary Life
05. Video Killed The Radio Star
06. In The Court Of The Crimson King
07. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
08. Don't Cry
09. Fanfare For The Common Man
10. Sole Survivor
11. Heat Of The Moment
ASIA was awsome as was YES .... however the sound people need to get their act together... TOO LOUD !!! I saw them in Phoeinx the other week and it was the same show but the sound people did a fantastic job !!!! There is no excuse for tonights sound and the ASIA sound was great.
I only hope that Sundays show does not use the same sound people !!