14 years, 6 months and 13 days ago
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Albany, New York
Times Union Center
I must say that I was pleasantly blown away by most of this show. As someone who has seen at least one show on every tour starting with the Drama tour in 1980 I was somewhat shocked they would go out without Jon. But we have seen YES do a lot of things over the years that would've ripped most bands apart but they always ended up being brothers to each other. So with that being said I approached this show like I approached the Drama tour without Jon. Although Benoit David is certainly a better choice than Trevor Horn of the Buggles was in 1980.
We had 8th row seats dead center and the sound was pretty amazing from there before it had a chance to bounce around the arena so I can imagine it could have been weird depending on where you were sitting. Previous posters did a great job of describing the setlist so I will make this part brief. It was great to see the whole Close To the Edge Album played of course. Other highlights for me were Tempus Fugit and Machine Messiah which I hadn't seen live in almost 29 years since the Drama tour. Where most people didn't like Onward I loved it. Can't have too much Tormato as far as I'm concerned. Astral Traveller really caught me of guard and it was fantastic with Steve just ripping it. Parallels to open the 2nd set was nice since I had never seen it live before and I thought Oliver did a pretty good job on that one. After And You & I pretty much melted us we got Steve Howe. The first tune he played which everyone was having trouble pinning down is called Pyramidology and then it was To Be Over. Chris's segment with LDR and The Fish was pretty hot and then we got Chris's new tune Aliens which was actually quite interesting. Soon was another highlight for me as I just love that segment from Relayer. Starship Trooper left me with my teeth rattling after Chris got done with his bass pedals. Lonely Heart kind of surprised as I just didn't expect them to do that and of course the Roundabout closer was fantastic as usual. I thought Alan was even hotter than the last couple times I have seen him and above all Steve Howe was a monster on electric guitar and impressed me more than any tour I've seen him do in a long time. I imagine between doing the Asia tour, his solo stuff and probably rehearsing the material earlier this year before Jon got sick he has been just doing a lot of playing and it shows. I hope to see Jon back in the fold but Benoit David is certainly the next best thing and sounded like an early seventies Jon. Oliver Wakeman did a fine job but he certainly has a little ways to go before he can fill his dads shoes. So I would agree with some of the posters who said if you blew this tour off because of Jon not being there you missed another fine chapter in this ongoing novel that we call YES.
Too many empty seats in the arena for a night of outstanding Yes music. This show featured the standard set list for the tour. Great show! The biggest surprise of the night was Steve pulling out his acoustic rendition of To Be Over.
Siberian Khatru was the classic opener. ISAGP was interesting with a bit of a new vocal arrangement transition from Your Move to AGP with Steve handling the "all we are saying is give peace a chance" part that Jon always sang. Tempus Fugit was next and before the song, Chris made a point of introducing the new two newest members of the band- Oliver and Benoit. No mention of any understudy status. Hmmm... And he also made a point of mentioning by name Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes as the last time they had two new members in the band. Loved Tempus but the sound from Chris bass was very muddy on this song and also on Machine messiah - He used different basses for the Drama material and I kinda wished he didn't because it just didn't sound right.
Onward sent a lot of people to the bathroom or to get more beer or both. Next up was probably the highlight of the 1st set -Astral Traveller-Steve intro'd the song talking about joining the band and having to learn the songs on TaaW album. Alan surprised me with a short drum solo in Astral that I wasn't expecting. Well done, Alan. Finally an amazing version of CTTE to close the first set.
After a quick break, the band hopped right on stage -Alan asks the crowd very loudly if we were ready for more and they jumped right into Parallels before many people had made it back to their seats. AYAI followed and I'm thinking this new singer is really good. I'm not even missing the guy who used to sing with them.
Steve's solo set was next. He played two songs-the first one one on classical guitar-I didn't get the title something with -ology at the end of the word, I think. And then To Be Over! Oh how sweet was this. Words cannot describe. Song finishes and the crowd rises for the first time of the night with a salute to Steve. Long Distance Runaround into The Fish. were up next. Now, the other highlight for me was The Fish and not just because of Chris. But, because it was the only time during the night where it was just Howe, Squire and White onstage playing together. No Oliver or Benoit onstage just the three guys who are now the core of Yes music. Don't miss The Fish!
The Aliens arrived after that and many took a break for the bathrooms again. Steve took a break too and left the stage. The less said about this one the better. MM was awesome and Benoit even played acoustic guitar on this one just like Trevor Horn used to. Soon was also a gem with Steve and Benoit soaring vocally and on that sliding slide guitar. Steve has got that guitar on wheels now and he was sort of wheeling it from side to side as he was playing. A big time ST to close the set and then onto the encores.
The band is obviously having fun playing together. When the band returns for the encores, everyone is onstage but Benoit. Steve steps up to the mic and says listen when Benoit gets onstage everyone give a big cheer, ok? He's not expecting it. He must've got lost in the dressing room. Benoit arrives 10-20 seconds later and everyone cheers and he does seem surprised and everyone laughs and they launch into Owner and Roundybout before taking their bows with big smiles all around.
Really throughout the night, the guys in the band are actually smiling at each other. Steve and Alan exchanged many happy glances and the same with Chris and Benoit and Steve too. It's like one big happy family. And yes, speaking of family, Oliver was there too and well, he's not bad, but he is just pretty ordinary. CTTE was good and his solo on Roundabout was done well but there times where his playing was just not as developed as others who've played in Yes and well a he just seemed a little out of his league playing in a band with Howe, Squire, and White.
Other bits-hmmm. Maybe 3,000 people there. The start time for the show was moved from 7pm to 7:30pm. Ticket said 7pm. I didn't know about it until I arrived at the arena. Apparently the meet and greet with the band was moved from before the show to after the show at the last minute as well. Oh, and I did buy a signed Steve Howe Trio CD which I'm listening to right now.
Anyways, don't miss this tour, you will be missing a great YES concert!
Not my favorite show at all. Benoit just isn't Jon and Oliver couldn't be heard half the show. The sound was awful for the first half. Didn't like that Chris introduced Benoit as a new member. Thought he was an understudy.
Now for the good- Steve Howe was awsome. Gets better every year. Loved Starship Trooper, it made the whole show. Heard Oliver on that song and he smoked it! Roundabout, Soon, Onward, And You And I, Owner of a Lonely Heart all very good. Interesting to hear Drama stuff, but the sound was so bad where I sat, couldn't get into it. Might have been my seats, though, cause they were rocking up front to Machine Messiah.
I would go again, because I love the music, but missed Jon a lot. Just not the same for me, although Benoit did well with Soon and Onward.
The show was much greater than I expected...Chris , Alan and Steve were fantastic...Steve's rendition of To be over was highlight for me..Oliver souded very well, much better than what was told about him earlier in the tour..Benoît was in a great shape, he looks very at ease on stage..I think close to the edge is the song he performed best...Astral traveler was a nice surprise..
I hope many people still hesitating should go ahead and give this line up a chance....I had my best Yes day ever...So many nice meeting with other yesfans, fantastic preshow and postshow..
Thanks Chris for * In the present tour *
the first one of Howe's solos was not Diary of a Man Who Vanished. He gave the name but mumbled it; I have not been able to identify the solo as of yet.
All in all a pretty good show last night. I saw them two weeks ago at Mohegan Sun and it seems like the band is really starting to gel now. The Drama tunes sounded real good although I have to make the comment that the sound at this place is just dreadful. For the amount of people there(I was told 1500) this would have been way more enjoyable at the Palace Theater or Proctors. Benoit sounded great last night and he really seems to have won the fans over. Although I know I'm not the only one, it'll be great if we can have Jon back in the near future. After the show local band Fear of Flying had a CD release show at an adjacent bar. Good band, good set although as soon as the Yes show ended, Albany just seemed to empty out. However, it was a nice night for progressive rock. Something we upstate New Yorkers need more of!
This is the first review here for this show.
This is my second time seeing Yes, and my fourth time seeing Steve Howe (also saw him with Asia blocks away last year and Turning Stone Casino in April). The show started with "Siberian Khatru" (The whole original Close to the Edge album was performed). A fair range of tracks from 1970's "Astral Traveller" to 1983's chart-topper "Owner of a Lonely Heart" was covered, as well as a new song "Aliens (Are Only Us from the Future)", not yet on an official release (this kind of thing has been done a few times before). Benoît David has eased into his role and has won over the fans. Oliver Wakeman takes after his Grumpy Old Man, but makes his own mark. Also, some people brought their kids, so that this can carry on into the future; get them away from the Disney Channel! I could feel the foundations move (or someone was jumping up and down). The two tracks from 1980's 'Drama' were done for those who waited for that period to be revisited live. Howe's acoustic solo included a track from one of his solo albums and "To Be Over" from 1974's 'Relayer'. People got rowdy, but he's been used to that for decades. This tour was to compensate for the cancelled Close to the Edge and Back tour, but this could be called Close Enough to the Edge and Back. There was no new product to promote, so this could be considered a money or greatest hits tour. Also, the Times Union Centre wasn't that full, but whaddaya gonna do? I didn't have a primo ticket, so no Meet & Greet (I was tired anyway).
Overall, it was a good show and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We need to have real music like this back on the charts and playing Upstate NY.
Here's what I remember of the setlist. The starting two tracks and encore are in order, but in between, the songs are in order of original release (it's easier for me that way):
Your Move/All Good People
Long Distance Runaround
Close to the Edge
And You and I
To Be Over (Howe solo)
Aliens (Are Only Us from the Future)
Solo Howe song (I'll have to check 'Homebrew 1 & 2')
Owner of a Lonely Heart
Yours is No Disgrace
South Side of the Sky
Mood for a Day
Heart of the Sunrise