23 years, 6 months and 22 days ago
Saturday, November 6, 1999
San Francisco, California
Almost ten years later, I still recall this show with fondness. Finally, after all the debacle and dissent, Yes were touring a solid album and I wanted to hear that material developed. "Nine Voices" could have been an alternate for "All Good People" (with Steve strumming the vachalia) but instead we got both, which is probably why NV was soon retired. "The Messenger" seemed less convincing live than on record, but the rest were fine, especially "The Ladder". The three-way duels on "Owner" and "Rhythm" were exciting highlights even for Yes, better realizing OYE's aborted attempt to fuse the 70s and 80s versions into one band. So I didn't mind the lack of CTTE which, in retrospect, would be readily available on the tour to follow :-)
"Awaken" would have to be done pretty badly to disappoint these ears, and this was the one time I was up front to watch exactly how Mr Squire used his triple-necked bass through that song; I wasn't so mindful of the overall performance. With Yes, there's always something to engage the senses, and the Warfield sure was a fine venue to see them.
First of all the scene at the Warfield is, I think, unique among any theatre in the world. Ninety percent of the ushers are volunteers who are fans just like you and I. This leads to a particularly relaxed and enjoyable security scene. Anything goes. Except for cigarette smoking which is not tolerated. Other smoking is tolerated without reservations (this is a place that Jerry Garcia played in over 150 times and was, in fact, a part-owner). Nuff said.
Second of all, the MUSIC!!! The show was stellar. Every bit as good as the 1997 OYE tour. The sound was crisp perfection (from what I've read of reviews of this tour, this is a pleasant exception). Mer and I were about 60 feet back right in the center at a table that a very kind couple shared with us. Servers actually wait on you for food and libations! We had a great spot and the light and sound was top-notch.
For me, AYAI and YIND were the obvious highlights. Awaken was rare indeed, but we thought it was a pretty dull performance. Expecially when compared to the infectious enthusiasm by which the band played "The Ladder" material. I was impressed! The crowds reaction to the new songs was appreciative and loud! In the best way. Even OOALH sparkled. The band played a times with a reckless abandon that bordered on psychotic. Again, in the best way.
ONLY one drawback for me. With the conveninence of this database (thanks Pete!), I knew that they had played CTTE at a few shows. 'Twas not to be here though. And not since as of this posting date almost two wekks later. A small complaint, but....
Thirdly and lastly, it amazes me that these guys can still play with so much fire. Truly one of the great all-time bands in all the music vernacular. Looking forward to Toronto (tee-hee).
This is/was my seventh show including ABHW. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. They performed stronger then ever. The animation behind them was mind blowing. The Warfield was truly a magical place this night. I have one problem, Why do they ensist on playing Roundabout, I've Seen All Good People, and Owner Of A Lonely Heart. Why do they tease me with excerpts of Tales and Time And A Word? Why????
I now accept the reason I was there and it was to witness the stellar performance of Awaken!!
It's the morning after the first Yes show at the Warfield in San Francisco, and , you know what?..."It Will Be A Good Day"....because, I have tickets for tonight, also. If you saw me there, I was the zealot with the sign stating:"The Ladder is Wonderful". It truly is; and the live versions from that CD were a big hit with the crowd. Yes played before a packed house of very enthusiastic fans last night. They were very "on" musically; the sound mix was excellent....all in all, a great night! I really think that the big story is their new CD...."Homeworld" was performed with intensity and energy....Jon singing powerfully."Lightening Strikes" and "Face to Face" had the crowd dancing in the isles. "The Messenger", "It Will Be A Good Day", and "Nine Voices" also played very solidly, getting a strong positive response from the assembly. This is probably a very good sign for the future of the band. Jon looked and sounded excellent all night. Chris Squire- where did he get those white peddle pushers with the white rolled down socks?....geesh-Chris!!!! Igor sounded great on the keyboards...His sound was strong in the mix. Steve Howe was gracefully distant, but played beautifully. Another memorable moment was "Awaken".....So cosmic, ritually elegant.
Well, to make a long story short: Yes lives, and thrives, playing artfully and energetically into the new Millenium. Don't miss this tour if you have access to it... And you will fall in love with their new CD if you have an open mind to their current "ProgPop" style, which, in my opinion is structurally tight, yet still musically intricit, filled with positive energy and philosophy.......
Tonight's setlist was the same as the LA shows (see below), leaning heavily on the new album. We shall see if they decide to throw us a curve tomorrow night though I doubt it. Based on the setlist and the recent Yesworld "Call your radio station!" drive, I wonder if there is a deliberate attempt going on to get The Ladder some serious attention while there's still time.
As far as the show goes, here's my overall impressions:
?I am continually amazed that Jon's voice has held up as well as it has. He *nailed* his parts.
?Chris is honestly contributing much more of the backing vocals than I've seen in many years. There were several moments when I'd be watching Jon and Steve, turn my head expecting to see Billy covering the harmony vocal and have it be Chris instead.
?I know many of you have said that Billy has more of a role this time out but I just don't see it. Yes, he has some crucial guitar parts on a couple of the new songs but he seems less than necessary on a majority of the pre-Trevor pieces. That said, the crowd gave him very enthusiastic ovation after Hearts.
?Steve seemed to be putting in little more than minimal effort. He never cracked anything resembling a smile and deliberately lacked enthusiasm during Hearts and Owner. He even went so far as to scratch his head during a brief drum lick on Owner that just oozed contempt. Is it management or band pressure for them to include the Rabin tunes cuz you can certainly tell it's not Steve's idea. A friend remarked after the show that Steve's style these days is similar in some respect to Robert Fripp's -- total control and economy of motion.
?Igor was Cheeky-boy, proving how easy those Wakeman solos were by playing them single-handed while making some flamboyant gesture with the other. High marks for the piano intro in Awaken. Both he and Chris were sporting (newly acquired in Chinatown?) Chinese-style tops.
?Alan was.... Alan-- Mr. Consistent and nicely rock-solid.
Yours Is No Disgrace (not too slow for me. Decent solo from Steve.)
Time And A Word excerpt (I don't know if anyone else has mentioned this, but this escerpt is *just* the last choruses.)
Homeworld (In a word-- Awesome. Fully realized live. Thankfully the crowd quieted down at the end.)
Perpetual Change (This *was* too slow. Almost lethargic. Plus I thought by now Steve would be ripping it up but he pretty much limped through it. Disappointing.)
Lightning Strikes (I'm usually un-enthused about singles but this was really fun. Jon and Chris put tons of spirit into it.)
The Messenger (Good, especially the end.)
Nous Sommes du Soleil excerpt (Had many wishing for more.)
And You And I (How many times?... Still manages to hold up, though.)
It Will Be A Good Day (This one I could do without but oh well.)
Face to Face (The beginning was fun, nearly techno. Steve's guitar work was nice.)
Hearts (Surprisingly very strong. Again, Billy's moment of glory.)
9 Voices (Good, though I was flashing back on Where Will You Be from Talk.)
Awaken (What can I say? Best song of the night.)
I've Seen All Good People (Same old same old. Steve seemed barely with it.)
Cinema (Way cool! I re-lived the early 80's! The closest to Drama we'll probably ever get.)
Owner of a Lonely Heart (As I looked around it seemed there were fewer people dancing around than I remembered from past shows. Losing its touch? Steve stood there holding the red Les Paul and padded around his little area until the end where he played his best solo of the whole night (though part of it seemed to be a demonstration of other pop songs based on the same chord changes). Go figure.)
Roundabout (Steve is hauling the Switchmaster all over the country for this?)
Tour song (Rolls right out of Roundabout; same chords though s
Beautiful meeting Jamison, B.S. & Karen, Terrence (sp?) and Grace, Frank, and several others. An almost tear or two in missing Roxi, Anne, the SYN gang, and others. Let's hope for another Yes meeting *Soon*.
*Jamison* - Edinburgh tapes made the ~trip~ down 101 pretty nice! Blessings.
The Show: good stuff. I was happy to hear a lot of Ladder material (no setlist surprises). The Ladder material didn't work quite as well as the classics - but mostly worked well. The exception that night was "It'll Be A Good Day" which had nowhere near the effectiveness of the studio version.
An observation about *Steve Leaving The Stage*. I recall a lot of soap opera and ~Drama~ being made out of this early in the tour. Well, I observed that Steve left the stage during "Awaken" also when he had nothing to play. Billy left the stage sometimes. So did Chris. Jon was offstage during "Cinema". IMO, reading band politics into it is an exercise in fan imagination. End of observation.
Encore started off with "Cinema". OK, Billy isn't Steve or Trevor or whoever, but it was nice to see the kid get a few minutes in the spotlight and do a good job.
We sat right behind the soundboard. It blocked a little bit of view, but not too much, and I suppose that it was slightly interesting. After the show, I asked one of the guys something like: "so where *do* those 'soundboard' boots come from?" The response was sort of a shake of the head and about 1/20th of a frown. Mary (Mrs. djp) asked him what the little white plastic reptiles on the mixer were for and got an answer that the were "decorations".
Quarter-hour to the 2nd San Francisco show. Jamison made a good effort at trying to talk me into going for it. I hope that they come back next year or in '01. We'll try to see them in OZ if they tour there in the next couple of years (OZ is cool.)
Looking forward to the DirectTv show and (I hope) the DVD. Keep going YES!
Well let me just say that the band was on fire tonite!!!! They were tight melodic and the audience interaction with the band made for a magical and simply wonderful evening. I was right in front of Chris and noticed that during Perpetual Change Chirs and Steve looked at each other as if they missed a cue or something but was apperently small because I didn't notice anything. So...................I have to say to my fellow Yes fans.........Every lineup of this band has been a good one and they always deliver a steller experience no matter what incarnation they are in. DON'T MISS THIS SHOW!!!!!! Love And Peace.