Steve Wilkinson Record Collector #397 December 27, 2011
Sceptics in the last couple of years have argued that the good ship Yes cannot continue without helmsman Jon Anderson, but judging by the audience reaction to singer Benoit David, and the new material from the superb, Trevor Horn-produced Fly From Here, these misgivings have been put aside. The return of keyboardist Geoff Downes has also added a richness to their sound, which was sadly lacking of late. Old favourite Yours Is No Disgrace opened the set, followed by And You And I, along with Tempus Fugit from the ‘Buggles era’, and the new Life On A Film Set. There was a remarkably tight version of I’ve Seen All Good People, with David’s voice more than doing justice to Anderson’s original vocal, and after disappearing for a break, a solo Steve Howe wowed us with some fine acoustic guitar. The band then performed the ambitious Fly From Here, which sounded as polished as its studio counterpart and went down a storm. There followed a slightly understated Wondrous Stories, before Starship Trooper, with Chris Squire’s bass work as good as it’s ever been. An encore of Roundabout got the audience on their feet, singing along.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 2:43 PM
To Manchester overnight, on my way down to London – and back to the iconic Apollo, where I have enjoyed a number of Yes shows in recent years. The one change to the set list tonight was that Steve Howe dropped ‘Clap’ and instead gave us his abbreviated solo guitar rendition of ‘To Be Over’ from Relayer. You could tell the stalwarts in the audience, as they cheered very loudly indeed. This is a song many would love to see the full band do again. Another hint from Steve, perhaps? Also, the more I hear ‘Solitaire’, with its unusual collage of stylings, the more I appreciate it.
Location-wise I was on Chris Squire’s side of the hall, midway back in the stalls, tonight. Those bass pedals are always moving, both physically and emotionally, particularly at the end of the glorious ‘And You And I’. It was especially pleasing that the 25-minute ‘Fly From Here’ suite was received with such a rousing ovation. A Yes audience is there to pay homage to the classics, obviously; but many also appreciate new material, it seems. That’s pleasing at this late stage in the band’s career.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 9:51 AM
Review by: Liam Barnes
"One of the giants of progressive rock returned to Manchester with a swagger as a new-look Yes line-up lifted the roof at the Apollo"
Featuring the return of Stockport-born keyboardist Geoff Downes for the first time since 1980, alongside recently acquired vocalist Benoit David and the age-old nucleus of Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White, more than 40 years of music was condensed into a little over two hours of high-quality musicianship.
The big talking point in the setlist was not which of the many classic Yes songs – such as ‘Going for the One’, ‘Long Distance Runaround’ and ‘South Side of the Sky’ – were omitted, but the brave decision to base the show around ‘Fly From Here’, the seven-part, 26-minute title track from the new album.
Such a decision paid off with a standing ovation, and with Howe and Squire particularly on sparkling form, the veteran proggers were at times absolutely sensational.
Opening on one of their signature songs’ 1971’s magnificent ‘Yours is No Disgrace’, could also be seen as a bit of a risk, but the superb rendition – especially the extended guitar solo from Howe – laid down a momentous marker.
Benoit David, who replaced long-time lead vocalist Jon Anderson in 2008, will always have a struggle to match up to his iconic predecessor, but his technique cannot be faulted, and he performed manfully during old classics such as ‘I’ve Seen All Good People’ and ‘Heart of the Sunrise’.
Downes – whose previous appearance on a Yes album, 1980’s Drama, was noted with a performance of ‘Tempus Fugit’ – also dealt well with the considerable legacy of those who went before him, and both came more into their own during new numbers like ‘Life on A Film Set’ and ‘Into the Storm’.