blormps montclair high 2009 [7-29-2009] steve howe -gtrs ...me 32bit stereo 10th row-lets talk...
I've seen Asia once before and I have to say they are the best that pop/progressive has to offer. Carl Palmer is in a class all by himself when it comes to entertainment value in conjunction with talent. Steve Howe loses just a little luster when playing with Asia but I have to say overall, they are still a melodic and intricate band. Yes on the other hand, is the best assemblance of talent, chemistry, sound, mood, and songwriting in the history of modern music. My contention though in this particular tour is they didn't quite have the right mix of songs. Yes, it was a great pleasure to hear Machine Messaiah but they need to play one or two of their masterworks per concert as well as one or so Magnification songs which are wonderful additions to their songwriting. I've seen Yes fifty times and will hopefully enjoy more in the future.
Good performance, 2nd time seeing them this tour first time being in asbury park. anyway i liked how they changed the set from last time including machine messiah and "and you and i". Liked how they didnt close with roundabout and played heart of the sunrise and starship trooper, more kids my age should listen to this, been a fan for a while and hope they come back to NJ
Much too loud for the Wellmont. Saw Winwood there and the sound was good. Yes has to adjust sound to the size of the venue.
Having said that, great show. In the Court of the Crimson King blew me away - what a surprise with Ian McDonald. Hadn't seen Carl Palmer since 1997. Great to hear Drama songs. Never heard Astral Traveler in concert. Don't know the song Steve played on acoustic, but it was great. Big surprise was to hear Steve and Chris speak! Thought Benoit did a great job. Oliver not featured, but he probably should have been.
All in all, it was a great blast from the past.
It's tough to add to the astute reviews here . . . Carl Palmer, amazing, Steve Howe, a quiet genius, Asia, surprisingly energetic. But I must reinforce two other things. We were sitting next to the loudest of the loudmouths in the audience, and it almost ruined the experience for us. Why can't people like him understand that we all came to hear the same thing, and it's not him. We were also sitting directly in front of the audio board. Three times I turned around to the mixer and made keyboard motions and begged him to turn it up. He ignored me. Anyone who mixes a show of this magnitude should go back to earlier shows or listen to albums to understand history . . . the keyboard parts are so important to Yes music. And they couldn't be heard at all last night.
The ASIA and YES shows were fantasitic due to the set lists by both bands and their showmanship, particularly Carl Palmer for ASIA and Steven for both ASIA and Yes. All of the other band members were excellent, but those two gentlemen stood out. Sound at the Wellmont was poor at best. Another reveiw was spot on, too much bass, too little keyboard and too much distortion due to echo in the building. The size and decor of the venue is great, sound quality is lacking. First saw YES at the Capital Theatre in Passiac NJ in 1972 on the Fragile tour, this was only the second time being able to see them. What a difference. Last saw Carl with ELP on the Works Vol. 1 Tour as MSG in NYC. Great to see all these greats one more time.
This is both my second Asia and Yes (my favorite band of all time) show (I'm not old enough to have seen them as many times and some of the other reviewers, but I also saw Steve Howe play a solo show a few years ago in Rochester (which was the best show I've ever seen). Asia kicked it off playing Wildest Dreams, and went through some more of their tracks from their first two albums. They sounded really good, and the sounds were well balanced, and were way better than when I saw them a couple years ago. They played An Extraordinary Life, from Phoenix which also sounded great. The songs from each member's former bands were good as well. They played Aaron Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man with an amazing drum solo for Carl Palmer, and Video Killed the Radio Star for Geoff Downes. Next here came the surprise. For John Wetton, they played Court of the Crimson King, one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands. John Wetton sounded a lot like Greg Lake on the original, but IAN MCDONALD played flute and backing vocals!!! He was one of the original writers of the song, and played on King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King album. This was the best part of the Asia show for me. They played this song so well, it was absolutely incredible. Asia finished with Sole Survivor and Heat of the Moment. Now for the main part of the show (for me at least). Yes walked on stage and started with the Firebird Suite and then a stellar performance of Siberian Khatru, as they often do. The sound levels were still good by this part of the show, but as the Yes show went on, the sound got louder and more and more distorted. It also got harder to hear Steve Howe's runs over the loud drums and bass. Machine Messiah and Astral Traveler were the worst in terms of sound quality. Astral Traveler still had a decent drum solo, but Machine Messiah sounded terrible. It was simply too loud and distorted. And You and I sounded really good, and was played pretty well, but the audience would not shut up, which was really annoying, especially because I love this song so much. Owner of a Lonely Heart was played well, but I really don't like that song. Oh, and Steve Howe played Pyramidology and Cactus Boogie for his solo, both of which were amazing, but I've heard him play Cactus Boogie better. Yes ended with three of their best songs, with the volume levels a little more reasonable than they were with Astral Traveler and Machine Messiah. Roundabout sounded really great, and Heart of the Sunrise was even better, but last was the best part of the whole show. STARSHIP TROOPER sounded absolutely amazing, it was so good, especially the Wurm part. Overall a great show, it was Steve Howe's show and even though I've seen him play better, he still played well. The only issues were the loud distorted sounds on a couple sounds and the really annoying audience that was so noisy on the quieter parts of some of the songs. Please, just listen to the music, Heat of the Moment is for standing up and clapping and shouting if you like that kind of thing, but please be quieter in Steve Howe's solo or in And You And I. It was really a wonderful show though.
Bryan J. Venerus
To begin, Asia was truly fantastic and Mr. Palmer still is as outrageous as ever on the drums. I really enjoyed the fact that they played tunes from the members' previous bands - the Buggles, King Crimson and E.L.P. "Fanfare" brought the house down! I would have liked to hear some tunes from Wetton's U.K. The band (Yes) was as dynamic and the sound as crisp as the last time I saw them - on the "Drama" tour. I was quite impressed by the lead singer filling in more than ably for Mr. Anderson. It was very easy to forget Jon was not there. The three original members (White, Squire and Howe)sounded even better than expected and it was spellbinding watching Howe glide through his amazing guitar riffs. It sounded like "yes"terday all over again. Between Asia and Yes, the show was way beyond the ticket price. Bravo!!
A very good show, both Asia and Yes. Wetton was in good voice, Downes had the nice showy keyboard setup. After Steve got warmed up he gave some very good and interesting solos in both sets. And I must say, Carl Palmer gave the best drum solo I'd ever seen, in terms of showmanship and entertainment value (admittedly most drum solos are boring in whatever genre -- Carl seems to realize this and does some extra, over the top, and humorous visual stuff). Court of the Crimson King was the highlight -- powerful stuff especially with the flute solo by that guy (I didn't get his name because of all the people shouting). Yes' set was nice and loose with inventiveness from all and particularly tasty solos from Steve. Squire's and Benoit's voices blended very well. Squire still has a good voice and Benoit definitely showed off his chops. The bass was Very Loud and drowned out a bit of the guitar from where I was sitting -- but it was good -- it even shook my nostril hairs! Alan looked tired, but then again he always looks kind of tired... HotS was interesting and powerful as always -- the quintessential live Yes tune and a barometer for how the band is doing that night. Anyway, glad I was there and spent the $$$.
I was really quite surprised with Benoit David's performance, and his presence allowed for Chris, Alan, and Steve to revisit some Drama material, which was a welcome surprise. I had never seen Machine Messiah performed live, and Chris sounded fantastic on vocals. Also, I know there were plenty of Asia fans at the show (myself included), but Yes just absolutely blew Asia out of the water.
Both Asia and Yes can still put on an excellent show, even at their advanced age. The energy level of the crowd at the packed Wellmont Theatre was also quite impressive. It was not a disappointing evening. In The Court and Fanfare were excellent, and a great way to warm up for Yes.
I liked seeing the Yes Drama material live and Astral Traveler was a nice treat. It seems as if Machine Messiah was much tighter in Montclair than in other performances I've watched on You-Tube. Machine Messiah was probably the highlight of the show for Yes, in my opinion. They pulled it off well in Montclair. Astral Traveler was great to see live, and working the drum solo into the song was good, but they should have just started jamming when solo ended, instead of pausing to congratulate Alan White (that could have been done at the end of the song). The break disrupted the flow of the song.
The standards (All Good People, Roundabout, And You and I, etc.) were as good as ever in most cases, although some of the high notes and inspirational signing were not the same without Jon Anderson at the helm. The best standard was the encore Starship Trooper (don't leave before that). Steve Howe was a maniac on Starship Trooper at the end and we got to hear Oliver Wakeman a bit too. Besides Starship Trooper and Heart of the Sunrise, Oliver Wakeman was barely noticeable in the mix. Chris Squire was high up in the mix, which was fun to hear in most songs since so many Yes Songs have a strong bass line that is an important part of the songs, but the bass did drown out the others a bit.
All in all, you can't ask too much more from a band that started 41 years ago, and has replaced two key members. I hope they are back with or without Jon Anderson for a tour in 2010. It would be great to see Jon Anderson again, but without him, the band has the flexibility to play Drama material and change the mix and songs in a way that keep them interesting.
Steve Howe and Chris Squire are immortal Gods from olympus. case closed!! The show was very loud. Just the way I like it.
I think Geoff Downs of Asia is wayyyyyyy better than Oliver Wakeman. He has way more energy, and play better. They should have used him for the YES set. Oliver is ok, but Downs is more accomplished and seems more into the gig. Benoit was ok, Most of the time he sounded kind of like Jon, and sometimes i'm not sure who he sounded like. either way the music stand on it's own.
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.
Fanfare For the Common Man, done by Asia might have been the best thing all night!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mind Boggling.
Good show overall, but Squire's bass was definitely too loud thru most of the show. Howe's playing is better this tour than the last two IMHO, in that he seems loosened up a bit and altho he only smiled twice, he seems to be having more fun this time. The drums and keys were too low in the mix most of the time. David's vocal were spot on and Wakeman's leads, tho rare, were excellent, but they kept him in the dark too much. Even some low blue lights on him would be better than none. Not sure what the lighting strategy was there. The last two songs were two loud for the venue or I'm getting too old ;-).