MY abiding memory of this show, was Bruford tinkering around on the top of the kit. Maybe I was used to White's rock drumming, but Bill never seemed to give it some welly. I recall getting more and more annoyed, and almost screamed 'Kick It!'
Good gig though, and as we waited for the tube home, some guy who had been at the gig, had recorded it, and was playing some of it back.
Thursday, April 4, 2013 7:28 AM
After a last-minute decision to see the previous night’s concert, which I viewed somewhat forensically from an acute angle to the stage in the balcony, tonight I could sink into the ABWH experience in a different way. Accompanied by my then partner (by no means a Yes fan, but not at all unappreciative), I found myself at the front of the rear stalls in a central position.
The mix was far better than the one I had experienced on 28th October, I knew the set list by now, and I’d already satiated my curiosity about the kind of arrangements and instrumentation the band would use. The technicalities aside, this was a chance simply to sit back and let the music envelop me. It worked a treat. From the moment the mesmerising finale to Benjamin Britten’s showpiece ‘A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’ started up, I found myself entranced and absorbed.
The sound world created by ABWH is certainly very different to the Yes sound of the late ’70s. It is bright, crisp and full-spectrum resonant – the outcome of a powerful combination of Bruford’s electronic drums, Levin’s liquid bass, the sheen of Wakeman’s keyboards (he also had a minimoog on stage, but didn’t use it) Howe’s filigree guitar lines and Anderson’s high, mellifluous voice, together with additional texture provided by McDonald and Colbeck.
The ’70s Yes spirit was very much alive this evening, but in a new aural context. The different line-up and approach, combined with new material and a fresh take on the ’70s classics meant that we were in musical territory that did not simply owe its impact to nostalgia – even if the demographic and response of the audience strongly suggested that it was ‘the old numbers’ most had come to hear… the Achilles’ heel of some ‘progressive’ rock aficionados.
Bill Bruford subsequently lamented that, following their eponymous first album, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe could have taken their musical agenda forward more imaginatively, but missed the glimpse of opportunity and were never able to recover it, due to that “power play machine / cutting our musical solidarity” about which Anderson had ironically penned his verse on ‘Themes’. Given the nature of the industry ABWH were enmeshed in, it was never going to be, sadly.
I was in town from Australia, with Yes only having visited once in the early 70's. Thought I'd go along and see if the "old boys" were still any good. Purchased tickets 10 rows from the front the day before the concert. Well, I have never been so astounded at a concert, before or since. These guys were just totally brilliant professional musicians. There was a fair bit of grey hair in the audience and they were completely entertained with older Yes classics and new stuff from the ABWH album. Wakeman on the keyboards was a sight to behold and Steve Howe played so many stringed instruments with such precision that it took my breath away. One of life's truly great experiences.
A Friend and I flew over from Philly to see this show. It was an incredible experience seeing them at Wembly! I just can't believe how long ago it was. We did get a backstage pass and got to meet the guys after the show. We also got to see Jon again as he was leaving in his Limo with his wife. People we reaching in with items to sign and I said 'great show'. He looked suprised, I guess because of my accent (to him).