Recently, Steve Howe has been going around saying that songs in concert should be as close as possible to the way they sound on the studio album, because the fans don't want to hear things played in a different way. It was fantastic to hear the band really deliver on this, more than ever before. I've heard Steve Howe play endless variations of Clap, but last night he proved that he can do it exactly the way he did at the Lyceum Theatre in 1970. And what a treat to hear them actually fade out the ending of All Good People. On the other hand, I was hoping some minor details which have usually been left out would be there, like the piano tremolos on the climax of Turn of the Century or the syncopated snare drum behind Steve's finger picking in Starship Trooper. I guess those things are not worth the difficulty or throw off the timing of the rest of the band since Rick Wakeman and Bill Bruford themselves didn't play those details live.
Because of that intention to play the songs the way we know and love them, this was one of the very best Yes concerts I have ever been to. The playing was superb all around. They played two and a half hours of classic music, and no mistakes that I could notice, and although they may not have been able to rehearse as much as they should have, I think by now they have it down. Whenever keyboards are important to the song, Geoff Downes delivers like the professional he is, however, he is heavily mixed down during many non-essential parts. For example, in the song Going for the One, I could not hear a single note he played.
Jon Davison sounds close enough to Jon Anderson for me. Davison sounds a little more falsetto than Anderson, but listening to some recent Anderson live performances I doubt Anderson himself is able to sing these songs with the energy and volume they require, and that is the real reason why he is not in the band. Thirty two years ago, I saw these exact same four musicians with Trevor Horn on vocals instead of Jon Davison and they did Parallels, And You and I, Roundabout, and maybe some other songs from the current tour. The way this band sounds today is far superior to that in every respect and now you can enjoy them in an intimate venue instead of an arena.