This was my second Yes show, the first one being the Las Vegas 2009, when they toured with Asia. It was so surreal seeing them again and knowing that Steve Howe is the only constant between these two lineups I have seen. Another interesting thing is that I met my good friend Cristian Molina from high school within the months following that show, and we were going to this new show together. We thought about taking Lyft, but ultimately decided that it would be best to just drive there. #LyftMeUp was not meant to be. On the way there, we listened to "Awaken" and "Endless Dream," which I purposely chose since I knew that they would not be in the setlist. When we arrived in the parking lot, we heard "New Language," which someone was listening to enthusiastically in their car. It was great seeing the variety of Yes fans. On wore an ELP shirt, and another wore a Rush shirt.
When they let us in, I bought a tour programme, which had an timeline of studio albums that was mostly accurate. Khoroshev is not listed under Open Your Eyes. I understand that he may not have yet been an official member, but he did perform on a few tracks. And Oliver Wakeman does not appear ANYWHERE in the timeline. Sure he only performed on a couple of tracks of Fly From Here, but was he not still an official member even though Downes replaced him shortly afterward? KeyStudio is also listed as being released in 2001, with an asterisk saying when and where the tracks were originally released. The names of the members who are in the "current lineup" are highlighted. It is clear that this was published before Jay Schellen came in to sub for White. As a side note, Jay did a great job subbing for Alan, and I wish that there could have been a few photos of him in the programme. Of course, it is my understanding that Alan intends to come back. The programme is full of a lot of nice high quality photos of the Davison, Downes, Howe, Sherwood, and White. I do wish that there had been some sort of essay (Yessay?) included within the programme.
The people running the venue were pretty strict about their no photography and no recording policy. People would take out their phones and then the people working there would shine a flashlight over the sign stating their policy. Bob from The Bob and Coe Show came out on the stage and said that some audio from the concert would be played on 101.5 KGB on Tuesday. A few minutes later, we heard "Young Person's Guide to Orchestra," and then the band came out.
Throughout the show, I could hear someone in a row behind me singing along to the setlist, and I was singing along to every single song as well. They started out strong with "Machine Messiah." For some reason, Jon pointed outward whenever he sung "eye." "White Car" was good, but part of me wished that they had done the "Man in a White Car Suite" from the Drama tour. "Does it Really Happen" was pretty solid. "Into the Lens" made me think of the original music video for it, which I suppose shows that they are really on point with playing these old songs. Then came "Run Through the Light," and apparently it has never been performed live prior to this tour. So it was a treat hearing it here. The temp for "Tempus Fugit" seemed a little bit slower than what I prefer, but that is kind of expected with certain songs in this era. I still enjoyed it though. It was also odd hearing Jon stretch out the lyric "unspoken" at the end, and it seems like this is a thing he likes to do with certain songs. I could do without the stretching out, but at the same time it is impressive what he is able to do. With Drama complete, they played "I've Seen All Good People." Definitely an overplayed song, actually experiencing it in a concert created this energy that made me forget that I had heard recordings of this song to death. The last song before intermission was "Siberian Khatru," a bit odd since I am used to that song being an opening number. If I recall correctly, Jon stretched out the lyric "glider" near the end longer than I was used to.
After the intermission, they performed "And You And I," emotional as ever. I wondered whether or not they would play the intro to "The Revealing Science of God" that had been cut from Tales from Topographic Oceans and then put back in during the era of the Rhino remasters. But they just dove into the opening chant. Though I prefer to hear that song with the calm instrumental intro, I was still ecstatic to be here seeing "The Revealing Science of God" played live. Then came "Leaves of Green," and as awesome as Howe is on the guitar, I was worried that it would just be him and that there would be no vocals. Then Jon Davison returned to the stage and sung the lyrics, and I could breathe. I sung along but then lowered my volume when a woman in the row in front of me turned around to shush me. It would be great for "The Remembering" and all of "The Ancient" to be played now, but I understand that there are time constraints, casual audiences to take into account, and more comfort with certain songs on the band's part. Luckily, "Ritual" was still bombastic, climaxing with the multiple drumming and smoke being emitted on the stage and around Jay's drum set.
When the song was over, they bowed together and left the stage but then returned for the encore. Steve thanked all of the behind the scenes people who had been helping them out. Then they got into the encore that had everyone standing up. Like "I've Seen All Good People," I had heard "Roundabout" to death but felt the energy that made me enthusiastic to hear it. Surprisingly, there was no space between that song and "Starship Trooper." They just dove right in! I recall yelling "Hell yeah!" when I heard the first few notes of "Starship Trooper." Overall, it was amazing basking in the light and the music of the show.
Since Cris and I had after show passes, we waited around for a bit until we were allowed to go in. Someone there repeatedly told the guests, "No touching Mr. Howe," and even said "No taking selfies with Mr. Howe." I found this amusing. When we were finally allowed in, we felt a little nervous and kept reminding ourselves that they are people, causing me to say "I've Seen All Good People." When we entered the room, a smiling Steve appeared to be on his way out. But he was nice enough to ask if I wanted my items signed. I said yeah and got him to sign the programme and my CD sleeve for TFTO. I told him that I was almost 22 and had been a Yes fan since I was a little kid watching the YesYears rockumentary, and he thought that that was great! After he left, I got Geoff to sign the programme and my Drama CD booklet. As he did so, I told him about my first show when I saw both Yes and Asia. He said, "Oh yeah. That was back in...'09?" I confirmed then asked him if the song that he and Jon had worked on that did not end up on Heaven & Earth could still resurface. He replied, "It's still on the radar. It should be good."
Next, I got Jon Davison to sign the programme and my CD booklet for Heaven & Earth. I told him that "Believe Again" and "To Ascend were my favorite tracks on the album and that I once sang "To Ascend" when I went to a little karaoke gathering at some friends' place. He seemed touched by my comments and said "Thank you!" Clearly, he is down to earth, and maybe up to heaven (pun intended). I saw that Jay was engaged in a conversation with someone, so I went up to Billy next. He signed my programme and my CD booklet for OYE. I told him about hearing "New Language" in the parking lot and how I loved The Ladder. When I told him that my dad says that "Fortune Seller" is one of the best produced songs he has ever heard, he said that Chris did some really cool stuff on the song. He kindly agreed to take a picture with me and a picture with my friend Cris, who talked with him a bit about bass since my friend is a bassist. I thanked him and he said "Say hi to your dad for me." When I looked around the room, I saw that Jay was gone, but I was not hung up about it. I was still having a great time. I got a picture with Jon, and it was heartwarming seeing young fans talking to him about the concert. I am not sure whether they were friends or family, but whatever the case it was heartwarming to see more young Yes fans, perhaps even younger than me! As we left the venue, Cris thanked the tech people for helping put the show together. On the way home, Cris said "Memories" in reference to the show, and then I said "How they fade so fast!"
This whole experience was a reminder that Yes is still going strong. I am left speculating what other albums the band may dig up for this album series. Relayer and Tormato would be great, but who knows? I am not sure how long they will be doing this album series. While I do love all of the songs and hearing these complete albums, I still wonder whether or not they should try to diversify the setlist a bit more. I'd like for them to throw in some tunes from any of the post-1980s Yes songs. Yes, ANY of them. Well, maybe they could leave Talk and possibly Yes West tunes from Union for Anderson Rabin Wakeman. It'd be nice if these two groups could coordinate to avoid overlap in their setlist choices. ARW is still a month away from touring, so their setlist, while some songs have been revealed, is still somewhat of a mystery. Regardless, I am satisfied with all of the stuff that is going on.