You had to feel for the guy in the back waiting patiently for Owner Of A Lonely Heart — but not really.
Performing three 70s prog-rock classics, Close To The Edge, Going For The One and The Yes Album, each in its entirety, there would be no time for ‘80s pop hits last night at the fabulous Southern Jubilee Auditorium.
The band line-up has changed dramatically over the past 45 years, but for original bassist Chris Squire, keyboardist Geoff Downes, drummer Alan White, guitarist extraordinaire Steve Howe and singer Jon Davison, the early music of Yes endures.
The current Three Album World Tour is an anti-greatest hits romp which recalls the day of extended basement vinyl listening sessions – front to back. And the sound in the Jube was as pristine as the best pair of vintage speakers you’ve ever heard!
Following the opening loop of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, the full force of the dazzling, otherworldly and precise veteran musicianship assembled on the clean well-lit stage thrust immediately into the title track and side-one 19-minute opener of ‘72s Close To The Edge.
A smallish overhead video screen of psychedelic imagery provided the subtle eye candy for the audio histrionics as the group’s free-form arrangements and musical prowess catapulted And You And I, followed by Howe’s absolute tour de force of the evening during Siberian Khatru.
In what can only be described as an intense, challenging and thoroughly enjoyable listening session, the assembled throng of 1,900 punters was attentive rather than boisterous, preferring to take it all in rather than twist and shout - or stand.
The segue from Close to The Edge into ‘77s Going For The One offered shorter bursts that were no less interesting or exciting. The title track followed by Turn of The Century, Parallels, Wonderous Stories and Awaken kept the attentive crowd of aging rockers (many with teenage offspring in tow), curious (and ultimately gobsmacked) musicians and assorted hippies on seat’s edge while each individual band member shone - but none more brightly than the collective.
Following a brief intermission, the critical and commercial success of ‘71s The Yes Album seemed like the right pacing to lead the show to a climax.
Yours Is No Disgrace, Clap, the epic Starship Trooper, I’ve Seen All Good People, A Venture and Perpetual Change left no doubt where the early influence of groups such as Genesis, Rush and later, Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree were bore.
And with that an evening of sprawling musicianship and a progressive rock musical history lesson came to a close. For knowledgeable and loyal Yes fanatics, the format of the evening was a unique means of taking in glories of what may have seemed like a bygone era.
This show was for them, and the band delivered on all accounts.
After the staggering 150-minute listening session, the group returned for a one-song encore consisting of Roundabout from ‘71s Fragile album. And the guy in the back waiting for the big hit . . . finally got it.