The gig started promptly at 7 with the sound of the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra rather than Firebird Suite and then it was straight into Machine Messiah. I was instantly struck by the energy from the band, which was a great sign. Of course they went through Drama in order on the album. Billy was outstanding on Does it really happen? which was is a real showcase for him - and in no time we had got to Tempus Fugit and the album was complete. I've been lucky enough to attend many Yes gigs down the years but this was the first time I had heard Drama live - and it was outstanding. They closed the first half of the show with I've Seen all good people followed by Siberian Khatru. Everything was excellent - the band were really into it and so was the audience with lots of energy in the hall. There was a real buzz as we all took a break and looked forward to the second half. .
After a 20 minute intermission the band came out with And You and I - that's a personal favourite of mine and, again, it was really well played with beautiful peddle steel guitar by Steve. And then we were into Tales from Topographic Oceans.
The last time I heard anything from Tales was 2004 and, frankly, I never thought I would hear any of Tales again live - but here it was and what a treat especially when Steve and Jon played Leaves of green between the Revealing Science of God and Ritual. The drumming section of Ritual was shorter than I remember and it wasn't quite the same without Chris beating on the tympanis but overall it was a fantastic 50 minutes of music.
The encore was the inevitable Roundabout but that went straight into Starship Trooper which left us breathless and on a great high.
As you can probably tell I loved the gig and I was struck by how they really seem to be a band and not just a bunch of individuals. Jon is really part of the band now and his voice was spot on on every song. I also get the feeling that Geoff is more comfortable now too - all his playing was great (but I'm glad he's dropped the keytar.). How did Jay Schellen learn all of this so quickly? He was outstanding and it was cool to see Billy interacting with him throughout and supporting his friend. As for Billy, Yes is clearly his passion and he seems to be loving every minute of this. His bass playing was outstanding throughout and Ritual was particularly awesome - it was great to see him take centre stage on many occasions. Finally what can you say about Steve? He was on fire, clearly in charge and having fun - his extended solo in Wurm was fantastic - and that was after 2 1/2 hours of playing.
In conclusion, everything we hear and read about this band not being Yes is wrong. Of course, I miss Chris and Alan like many of us do but make no mistake, this IS Yes - the greatest progressive rock band in the world.