Concert Review: YES Live at The Ford Theatre Los Angeles, CA 6/19/18
Pat Francis Pop Culture Beast June 20, 2018
On June 19th in Los Angeles, CA progrock legends YES celebrated their 50th anniversary with a sold out show at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre.
The band took the stage at 7:00 PM and rocked the capacity crowd with a setlist full of deep album cuts that spanned their vast 50 year discography.
Longtime member Steve Howe did most of the talking during the evenings 2 set extravaganza while lead singer Jon Davison let his spectacular singing speak for him. Howe’s guitar playing was stellar and watching his nimble fingers move effortless across the neck of any guitar is worth the price of admission. Davison, who has been with the band since 2012, is absolutely perfect at capturing the essence of original vocalist Jon Anderson. He sings the classic catalogue perfectly note for note without trying to be an Anderson imitator.
Rounding out the current touring line-up are Geoff Downes on keyboards, Billy Sherwood on bass and Jay Schellen filling in for Alan White who is recuperating from some back trouble. Fear not Alan fans because he does make an appearance for the last 4 songs and as an added surprise founding member Tony Kaye joins in for the encore.
After an evening of deep album cuts the encore ends with three classics “Yours Is No Disgrace,” “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper.” The perfect end to a perfect evening of YES playing as good in 2018 as they did in 1968… actually maybe even better.
**Set #1** Close To The Edge Nine Voices (Longwalker) Parallels Mood For A Day Leaves Of Green Fly From Here Pt. 1 Sweet Dreams Heart Of The Sunrise
**Set #2** Perpetual Change Does It Really Happen? Soon Awaken (with Alan White)
**Encore** Yours Is No Disgrace (with Alan White and Tony Kaye) Roundabout (with Alan White and Tony Kaye) Starship Trooper (with Alan White and Tony Kaye)
The opulence of the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre with the captivating majesty of the YES experience was the absolute winning combination on a warm and gorgeous Tuesday night in the Hollywood hills. As the sun was beginning to set, the legendary YES made their way to the stage, ready to celebrate their 50 Year Anniversary with the concert of a lifetime. Out onto the stage arrived a collection of the most respected musicians on the planet – Steve Howe (guitar), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Jon Davison (vocals), Billy Sherwood (bass), and Jay Schellen (drums) – and what a dazzling set of YES songs they all had in store for the audience! Opening with the colossal Close To The Edge from 1972, YES certainly set the night in motion with one of their most epic selections.
One noticed right away the soaring vocals of Jon Davison, weaving a vibrant sense of magic and intrigue throughout the vast YES catalog of tunes. And then there was the one and only Steve Howe, whose world renowned guitar work was wondrous to behold! Geoff Downes remains a revelation of keyboards, his atmospheric touches coloring in the songs with imagination and flair. Billy Sherwood supplies a commanding low end on bass while drummer Alan White delivers the textured beats with style and grace. Within Act One of the show, YES unveiled an hour of glorious perfection, featuring selections for their vast catalog such as Nine Voices, Fly From Here, Sweet Dreams, and Heart Of The Sunrise.
Act Two of YES 50 was even more spectacular, featuring four masterworks that sent the John Anson Ford into a rapturous state of splendor. The sun had now set, and the luminous stage lights and staggering tunes were sheer excellence being witnessed within the amphitheater setting. Perpetual Change from The Yes Album would kick off the second portion of the evening, followed by the sweeping refrains of Does It Really Happen? from their critically acclaimed Drama magnum opus. Soon from Relayer was then presented upon the YES audience. And then it was time for a special guest – or two. Original drummer Alan White took over drum duties with Jay Schellen moving to percussion, and the YES membership closed out Act Two with a dazzling presentation of Awaken from Going For The One – 15-plus minutes of sonic bliss to be sure!
For the very much deserved encore, YES invited original member Tony Kaye onstage, who adding his own vibrant keyboard interludes to the final three songs of the night. With both Tony Kaye and Alan White aboard with the current YES membership, the grand finale was nothing short of mesmerizing. Yours Is No Disguise was up first, followed by a powerhouse rendition of the worldwide radio hit single Roundabout. And to conclude the fabulous night of music was the heroic progressive rock reveries of Starship Trooper, enveloping the massive wilderness surroundings of the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. YES at 50 presents each and every member at the height of their creative energies, unleashing timeless compositions that will remain within our consciousness for an eternity. Do not miss YES 50 when they arrive to captivate your town with their thrilling auditory tapestries!
YES SETLIST Set 1 1. Close to the Edge 2. Nine Voices (Long Walker) 3. Parallels 4. Mood for a Day 5. Leaves of Green 6. Fly from Here part 1 7. Sweet Dreams 8. Heart of the Sunrise
Set 2 9. Perpetual Change 10. Does It Really Happen 11. Soon 12. Awaken (With Alan White)
Encore 13. Yours Is No Disgrace (With Tony Kaye and Alan White) 14. Roundabout (With Tony Kaye and Alan White) 15. Starship Trooper (With Tony Kaye and Alan White)
LIVE REVIEW: YES AT THE JOHN ANSON FORD AMPHITHEATRE IN LOS ANGELES, CA
Alex Kluft Music Connection June 22, 2018
In celebration of YES’s 50th anniversary, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes, bassist Billy Sherwood, singer Jon Davison, drummer Jay Schellen, and as a special guest original keyboardist Tony Kaye are on tour playing songs of their five decades in music. Yes’s Cruise to the Edge earlier this year was the first time since 1994 Kaye has performed with the band. Last night, YES stopped at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, CA. The show was divided into two sets with an intermission in between. YES Is the type of band that always puts on an unforgettable show and takes the audience on a journey through decades of great music. This was the perfect venue to see YES at.
YES opened the show with one of their biggest hits “Close to the Edge,” and ended set one with another major hit “Heart of the Sunrise. This was the first YES show I have seen where White didn’t play the full show, the majority of the show was Schellen on drums. After intermission set two started with “Perpetual Change,” and was only a four song set excluding the encore however YES has some very lengthy songs. For the final song of set 2 “Awaken,” White took over on drumming duties and Schellen switched to tambourine. For the encore Kaye joined in on a single keyboard which looked very minimal compared to Downes 9 keyboards. All members played on the three song encore which also included “Roundabout,” and “Starship Trooper.” For being someone who has seen YES with co-founder Squire, It is easy to say Sherwood is the closest you’ll get on both bass and high vocals. As for Davison, he is definitely the closest sounding vocalist and performer you’ll get to Jon Anderson. Schellen has also performed with YES previously and is a great fit with the band.
Last year YES was inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson (Rush).
Close to the Edge Nine Voices (Long Walker) Parallels0 Mood for a Day Leaves of Green Fly from Here part 1 Sweet Dreams Heart of the Sunrise
Perpetual Change Does It Really Happen Soon Awaken (With Alan White)
Yours Is No Disgrace (With Tony Kaye and Alan White) Roundabout (With Tony Kaye and Alan White) Starship Trooper (With Tony Kaye and Alan White)