I can't understand why no-one has posted a review of this excellent show: it was first class from start to finish and deserves to be recognized. After attending the last couple of shows by Yes in this part of Florida I was afraid my all time favourite band were in danger of turning into a high quality tribute band; fine individual performances -of course- but there was a noticeable drop-off in energy and the tangible sense of occasion one gets with a Yes concert. Benoit was O.K. and should be thanked for allowing this remarkable group to tour, and last time out Jon D. was passable but nervous and still finding his way into the music and discovering his place on stage.
Which brings us to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Tuesday, April 2 2013. Almost a sellout apart from the last five or so rows at the back of the hall. But that still means almost 2,000 people played their part in three hours of some of the freshest and most energetic music making in years. The crowd was into it from the start and the band picked up on the energy and blew their way through the setlist which others have reported. I have to say that Jon was outstanding for me. I didn't expect such authority and leadership since the last show and was delighted how he's claimed the spotlight. Howe and Squires appreciate it, too, and you could see they were all enjoying each others company.
The concept of a three album show was a stroke of genius. It meant they had to cut out all the frills and noodlings that accompany a "normal" show. These often slow down the pace of a setlist but here we had nothing but the best. I loved the original ending of "Good People" and the novelty of "A Venture". I must have heard "Perpetual Change" and "Starship Trooper" a hundred times but it was good to hear our old friends in their original stripped down format.
The lights and sound were the usual average late version Yes quality. Passable but could be much better. I suppose anything more dramatic would have cost additional $$$ but the sound could be so much better - which you need when three lead instruments are battling for attention alongside a voice.
Individually, Alan White is a beast. Even with a break he still batters his kit for nearly three hours with some of the most demanding music and frontmen in the business. He deserves every praise for holding it all together and was "man of the match" for me. Geoff Downes is quite comfortable in the keyboards revolving door (eh?) but deserves to be higher up in the mix. Howe and Squire are magnificent. They have seen it all and done it all and yet still manage to deliver surprises and moments of magic every night.
Which says it all, really. Thanks, Yes, for reigniting my intense passion for everything you have created since I saw you first back in Devon in 1972. I look forward to the next time.