Let me tell you, in Feb. 2012, when YES announced new lead singer, Jon Davison, as a new part of the group, I was very skeptical. The band's touring from 2008-2011 has been very shaky, and another lineup change (that didn't involve Jon Anderson at least) was one of the last things I wanted to hear. I thought, "Here we go again."
I actually swore never to go to another YES show again unless Jon Anderson was there. In 2011, I went to three shows during the Fly From Here tour, and hated it. Geoff Downes was under-rehearsed, Benoit's singing was nails on a chalkboard. YES was at a career low.
Then, Mr. Jon Davison was given a shot. The 2012 YouTube videos were actually very good, and I began to rethink my whole YES show 'ban' that I put on myself. I still decided not to go in 2012. Now here in 2013, I finally decided to give it a shot, since the band is actually playing my three favorite albums from them, in their entirety.
On my way there, I felt it really wouldn't feel like YES very much since Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman were going to be absent. I really feel like those to capitalize on the name, "YES." However, as soon as the Firebird Suite drew to a close, and suddenly the birds and chimes at the beginning of CTTE faded in, I felt like I was going to be in for quite a show!
And right I was! Jon Davison sounds so much better live, than on YouTube, which actually is very good to begin with! Geoff Downes suddenly seems rehearsed and ready to go, Steve Howe is playing songs at their original tempos, along with Alan White. Last but not least, the king of the bass, Chris Squire was on top of his game more than ever before. His bass pedals go right through you, and mix that with Davison's beautiful voice, and Steve's gentle playing, and Alan's beat, and Geoff's background expertise, and it was certainly a magical show.
The energy and vibe was excellent! It was loud, yet every noise that went into my ear was for the good. I came home humming the tunes from the show in my head. My wife, who is a huge Jon Anderson fan, leaned over to me several times throughout the show and said, "Wow, this guy is amazing!" at least ten different times.
This is one of the very few YES shows I have been to, where I was paying attention very attentively during the whole performance. Usually, there is one, two, sometimes three songs where I zone out, or take a bathroom break, or go get another beer! Not at this show. In the now 23 YES shows I have been to in my life, this ranks in the top five, no questions asked.
If you were like me and didn't know what to think of a YES lineup that doesn't include Jon Anderson (and/or Rick Wakeman), then go to a show on this tour! My wife is the biggest Jon Anderon fan on the world, has all of his solo works, YES material, etc., goes to Jon A solo shows all the time... her favorite musician is Jon Anderson! She was sad the day I told her he was no longer with YES. Even she, at this show, loved Jon Davison, and what he had to offer. He, unlike Benoit, is his own singer, and is not trying to be a JA copycat. Davison remains respectful to Anderson's original work on the albums, yet adds his own flavor to it, which was amazing.
Let me tell you, this lineup: Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Jon Davison, Geoff Downes playing these three albums, is magical and I want to take this moment now to say that this is probably the best YES show (From a performance point of view) since..... I'd say the Union Tour. GO SEE YES! They knocked my socks off, and chances are, they'll knock yours off too!