Amazing show, and huge piece of history in my life. It was at this show that my girlfriend of two years first told me she was "late" ... we were seventeen years old. She's been my wife now for 17 years and our soon-to-be 17-year-old daughter can count the ABWH album among the soundtracks of her early years. That's a lot of seventeens! I think when I'm done typing this it will be time to pull this one off the shelf again. When I hear 'Quartet' I am taken back to a very difficult time, but the memories are good ones.
This was a truly great performance, I remember well. Bruford was a huge inspiration and seeing him live was a treat, especially given how well he connected with Levin on this tour.
I saw Yes many times after this show, in a variety of line-ups, but this, for me, endures as Real Yes.
I went to the show with my brother and was sitting in an isle seat in the 2nd row, one section back, in the center. We could hear Jon begin to sing and everyone jumped to their feet. I looked all over but didn't see anything. Being a bit stoned, I sat back and kind of reclined in my seat. All of a sudden I look up and there's Jon walking down the isle between the first and second set of sections coming from my right. I jump up out of my seat wide-eyed and he looked at me and grinned, aparently amused by my suprise. He turned up the center isle and headed toward the stage, and I just stood there awestruck. It was a great beginning to a great show.
Wow, 1989 - seems forever ago and yet I can remember this concert like it was yesterday. I went with 9 of my buddies from college and home, and we all sat together in anticipation of what we knew was going to be the greatest concert we had ever seen. We were on a high like no other! How could anything be better than seeing one of the best YES line-ups (albeit without Chris Squire) playing Close to the Edge, Starship Trooper, And You and I, Heart of the Sunrise and the ABWH material? Jon was giddy and almost child-like in his joy, Wakeman was amazing and so soulful, Steve was happy to be playing YES music again, Bill Bruford and Tony Levin played as one - sounding so graceful and powerful. The ABWH boys delivered the goods, and provided a benchmark for future YES shows that would come in the new millenium.
I won front row seats from a radio station that day! Out of the four versions of Yes I've seen, ABWH put on the best show. The only drawback was the absence of Squire, but Tony Levin (unlike the times I had seen him with Frampton and Gabriel) was visually a very striking showman, particularly in his duet with Bruford linking "LDR" with "Birthright".
The two backing musicians, Milt McDonald and Julian Colbeck, really helped fill out the sound. They opened the show with Jon on his medley, a big surprise ("That's not Steve Howe"!, my buddy said). I hadn't heard the whole ABWH album at that point, but in retrospect,those songs came across much better live than the studio versions, without the overdone production. Anderson and Wakeman shared a hug after "The Meeting". The major highlights were a superb "Close to the Edge" and the encore, "Starship Trooper", with some very cool sci-fi lighting effects.
If you weren't there, get the ABWH live album. The closest you can get to this incredible show.
A very good show. Bruford and Levin were excellent, as was the opening set of "solo" features. Squire was missed, although the supporting musicians added quite a bit. I had never seen Howe, Wakeman, or Bruford live. The highlight was, of course, "Close to the Edge." One neat thing I remember is Anderson opening the show with a wireless mic from the rear of the auditorium, walking through the crowd to the stage.
As you can see from the setlist, they played a healthy dose of their new material. I had practically memorized the album, so I was very excited to hear "Themes," "Birthright," and the rest. In all, it was almost like two shows - on one hand, it promoted the ABWH record, while on the other, it was a YES revue. Without Squire, and with the extra musicians, much of the older material sounded like a very competent tribute band!
As the concert approached, there was a lot of attention paid to ABWH in Hartford on the two rock stations (WHCN and WCCC), as well as in the Calendar section of the Hartford Courant. "Brother of Mine" was in heavy rotation, and other ABWH & YES songs were played a lot. Adding to my excitement was news that they would be playing "'Close to the Edge' in its entirety" at the show. This was also reported in Rolling Stone, if I recall. My friends and I hoped this meant the ALBUM, but nonetheless hearing the suite for the first time was awesome. I waited almost ten years to see them do it again--this time with Squire.
This show really turned me on Bruford. He came to Massachusetts the next year with Earthworks and we went up there for both shows at the Iron Horse. Of course he didn't do any YES or ABWH material--not even older 'Bruford' stuff. Despite this (and no Tony Levin), the Earthworks shows tided me over until the Union tour...
Truly another amazing Yes event! Jon's voice was stellar and untouchable (how we gasped!) when he walked in from the rear of the arena to the front (through the middle isle) singing Time and a Word. He voice was just fantastic! And from there the concert just got better and better. It was a magical moment with my soon-to-be wife (we were married three weeks later) and very close childhood friends with whom I had made (until that point) six Yes concerts with.