Yes, the Paramount Theater and Peekskill rock a short summer road trip
John W. Barry Poughkeepsie Journal July 25, 2018
You may not think the drive from Poughkeepsie to Peekskill could generate much of a summer road trip.
But the chance to head south on a Tuesday night in the middle of July offered plenty, if only for a few hours.
I had two reasons for venturing into Westchester County with an old friend recently — seeing a concert by the band Yes and returning after many years to the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, a gem of a venue in a gem of a city.
Both, in my humble opinion, celebrate the Hudson Valley’s rich history. But more importantly, they both show how the past — your past, my past, our past — can be preserved and honored even as it adapts to contemporary times and the need to look ahead more than we look back.
The same could be said, I suppose, for the band Yes, whose stop in the Hudson Valley came on its 50th anniversary tour.
The lineup of the band that played Peekskill did not include all of the same personnel that shaped my personal memories of Yes. But I was not disappointed by the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.
The entire evening for me revolved around Steve Howe, guitarist for Yes since 1970. And the entire band over hours delivered sights and sounds that consumed the theater with tone and texture while nudging us into lyrical leaps down rabbit holes.
Listening to Yes perform in Peekskill was like examining blueprints for a 120-floor skyscraper and following every edge, corner and curve through an endless loop in an architect’s imagination. Then, you could sit back and watch as the paint was applied, wiring installed and the light switch thrown to illuminate the night sky.
Yes was sweeping and spectacular. And the Paramount provided the perfect backdrop.
Originally built as a movie theater by a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures, the Paramount opened in 1930, according to www.paramounthudsonvalley.com. Now a Westchester County Landmark, the theater is listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places.
The history of the theater fits in nicely with the history of Peekskill. According to www.cityofpeekskill.com, Peekskill dates back to the 1600s and was, for a time, home to the Hudson Valley command for the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
All of this lit a fuse beneath the evening.
Taking it all into orbit was Yes, a band that, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, fused, “the cinematic soundscapes of King Crimson with the hard rock edge of The Who and the soaring harmonies and melodies of Simon and Garfunkel” and “took progressive rock from a small audience of aficionados to radio airwaves and football stadiums all over America.”
Did I enjoy this concert? Yes! Did I enjoy visiting Peekskill and soaking in sound at the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater? Yes! Will I be back for both? You bet.
Yes Celebrates 50 Years At Paramount Hudson Valley
By Steve Malinski August 7, 2018
Fifty years after they began, Yes celebrated their half-century anniversary with a sold out show at Paramount Hudson Valley on July 17.
Some band politics within Yes had led to two touring bands (and two bands currently touring to mark the legacy’s 50th anniversary): There’s Yes, and then there’s Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman. The Yes which we saw at the Paramount was charioted by the virtuosity of original guitarist Steve Howe, long time drummer Alan White, and Chris Squire’s heir, nominated by the late bassist himself before losing a battle with cancer in 2015.
The younger of the bunch, Jon Davison, has taken on the role of lead vocals alongside Howe and sang in a strikingly similar fashion to that of Jon Anderson (original singer), which could be explained by his time in a now disbanded Yes tribute band, Roundabout. Toward the end of the first set and for the encore, Yes’ original drummer Alan White and original keyboard player Tony Kaye made an appearance.
Despite being a 50th anniversary concert, Yes mostly chose to not sample their entire career but rather focus on their earlier work from 1969 through 1980, with one song from the mid-80s and one from 2004. The longer multi-movement songs such as “Close to the Edge” and “Starship Trooper” were the best treats of the night, each bringing out an ebb and flow of mood and style.
Set 1: Close to the Edge, Nine Voices (Longwalker), Parallels, Mood for a Day, Leaves of Green, Fly From Here (Part I: We Can Fly), Sweet Dreams, Heart of the Sunrise
Set 2: Perpetual Change, Does It Really Happen?, Soon, Awaken (with Alan White)
Encore: Yours Is No Disgrace Roundabout, Starship Trooper (encore with Tony Kaye and Alan White)