Yes brought their 3-Album Tour back to New England last weekend, and this time around, they played outdoors at Mountain Park in Holyoke. In order, they performed the entire albums of Close to the Edge, Going for the One and The Yes Album, wrapping up the concert with “Roundabout” as the encore.
Being in a park setting, the start of each new album seemed to start off a bit slowly, but the band – which featured current members Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White, Geoff Downes and vocalist Jon Davison, who joined the band last year – improves as the albums progressed. My highlights from the show were “And You and I,” “Turn of the Century” and “Awaken.”
The full-album presentation meant that there were no surprises as to what song was coming up next, but it did offer some of Yes’ finest ’70s works. I admit I am partial to Yes, as they provide great power in both their concert presentation and their music.
The weather was great, which was a good thing, as everyone would have gotten wet otherwise. There is no cover at this venue. But the sound and the crowd were fine…
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 8:39 PM
"Yes dazzles Mountain Park with trio of albums"
Review by: Chris Dondoros
HOLYOKE – It was anything but your typical "greatest hits" package when Yes appeared at Holyoke's Mountain Park on Saturday night.
The concept was deceptively simple: three albums, each performed in their entirety. Leave it to a band known for their grandiose arrangements, musical prowess, and yes – concept albums – to draw up such an idea.
Fittingly, the band began their three-album concert with what’s widely considered to be one of progressive rock’s defining albums, 1972’s “Close to the Edge.”
With an intro featuring dense chord changes and frenzied improvised instrumentation reminiscent of the “free jazz” movement of the day, the band launched into the 18-minute title track with the ferocity of a band who has never lost interest in pushing their musical boundaries.
Armed with a small, rectangular video screen displaying psychedelic imagery, the band appeared to not missed a beat since the album's 1972 release. In fact, lead singer Jon Davison perfectly channeled original singer Jon Anderson's melodies with alarming accuracy.
Featuring no song under eight minutes, album showcased the band’s ability to shift between genres, from the gentle folk-psychedelia and appropriately Pink Floyd-esque interlude of “And You and I” to guitarist Steve Howe’s deliciously warped, frantic electric guitar riffs and solos scattered throughout the album’s closer, “Siberian Khatru.”
One of the standout moments of the night proved to be the grand finale to “Khatru,” featuring a dramatic ending highlighted by Howe’s formidable, jazz-inspired guitar licks and bassist Chris Squire’s ability to counter them on his own instrument.
Stopping briefly between albums to acknowledge the crowd, Yes offered few words to the audience.
"They say where words fail, music wins," said Howe before jumping right into the title track of 1977's "Going for the One."
Lacking the prog-rock royalty status of “Close to the Edge” and the commercial success of “The Yes Album,” a performance of the album as a whole served to be an intriguing choice.
Thanks to more straightforward instrumentation and shorter songs (well, by Yes standards) clocking in a roughly five minutes apiece, the more subdued nature of the album seemed slightly out of place outside of the up-tempo "Parallels," featuring extensive improvisation from Howe.
Then again, this could have been by design. When a band is known for writing songs with specific “movements,” perhaps it was their intent to treat the show, as a whole, as one giant movement.
The band saved the seminal "Yes Album" for last. After a brief intermission, the band charged through the album the way only a group of musicians playing together for over 40 years could: with a mix of ferocity and tact.
Containing some of the band's best known material, songs like "Yours Is No Disgrace" and "I've Seen All Good People" sounded as precise as they ever have - an impressive feat given the complexity of the music.
In fact, the former of the two proved to be another of the night's standouts, thanks to Howe's guitar work that could only be described as one part Jimi Hendrix, one part Pat Metheny.
Another of the night's best was "Starship Trooper," thanks in part to a funky guitar riff set against a thunderous bass riff that (literally) shook the ground, an impressive feat at an outdoor venue typically conservative with its volume levels.
During the album's last song, "Perpetual Change," the band released confetti into the crowd, reaching from stage to the medium-size crowd watching from the lawn.
The band returned to the stage for one encore after their two and a half hour-plus set, performing “Roundabout,” off 1974’s “Fragile.”