"Over four decades into their career and age does nothing to slow down prog rock supergroup Yes, as they showed last night at Birmingham Symphony Hall"
Review by: Ian Harvey
Over four decades into their career and age does nothing to slow down prog rock supergroup Yes.
The band returned to Symphony Hall after a two-year break and finally with a new album under their belt - their first in a decade - with a performance both powerful and majestic.
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Other than ex-Buggle Geoff Downes returning to keyboard duties after replacing Oliver Wakeman, this was the same line-up that played here in November 2009, with singer Benoit David clearly having grown in confidence and stature after replacing Jon Anderson three years ago.
Yes hit the ground running with a storming Your Is No Disgrace and there followed an almost two-and-a-half hour set that took in much of the band's history, from the sublime Wonderous Stories to Tempus Fugit via masterpieces such as And You And I, I've Seen All Good People, Starship Trooper and Roundabout.
As ever, Chris Squire's huge, cavernous bass underpinned the whole Yes sound, with Steve Howe still astonishing with his guitar playing, a unique style mixing fluidity with staccato stabs.
In a sign of real confidence, most of the new album, Fly From Here, got an airing, including the 25-minute suite which makes up the first half of that recording, and was received very well by the sell-out crowd.
The comparatively youthful David was an energetic presence on the stage and while on first hearing him two years ago he sounded like an Anderson clone, now he injects much of his own personality into the songs, although in truth he did seem troubled by some of the higher notes on the otherwise outstanding Heart Of The Sunrise.
Still, judging by the audience reaction, this was a triumphant return.