2. The double false-start plus the incredibly botched first two minutes of America were probably the worst stretch I've ever heard from Yes (though the rest of the track was fine).
3. Having Rick back seems to bring the best out in Steve - he was more aggressive and more inventive in this show than in any I've heard since various Tormato tour bootlegs.
4. South Side of the Sky was GREAT - the ending duel between Steve and Rick justified the price of the whole night.
5. It was refreshing to end the show with YIND _after_ Roundabout. Great rendition, too - Steve's solo was like a better version of the one I've heard on a _Union_ tour bootleg.
6. Including the intro to OTSWOF was a nice touch to Whitefish (though I missed White's off-kilter rhythms).
7. I still don't like DKTW, but one can't deny that the band has a lot of fun playing it, so more power to them.
That's it, I guess. More material would have been nice, but hey, the show lasted about 2:40 (3:00 with the intermission), and about 2:10 of that was actual band material (not bad considering they've been back together for about a month). A great concert indeed.
There was a little more excitement in the air prior to last nights show at the Chicago Theater than I have seen in a while. This is the first time a Yes concert has sold out in Chicago in a LONG LONG time. Granted it was in a much smaller venue than they had once been able to fill, but it had everything to do with the much heralded return of Rick Wakeman.
From my vantage point in the 2nd row center, right behind the orchestra pit, I think I saw two different concerts last night. One was great, and one was ragged as hell. There were many near trainwrecks in the first three or four songs, most notably the two false starts going into America. It seemed like Wakeman was the one having the brain cramps on America, but nobody in the house had any thoughts of making him wrong for it. Jon laughed it all off and chalked it up to the band being "freaked out" by what had to be one of the longest and loudest bursts of applause after a first song (SK) in a Yes concert that I have ever seen, and it was clear that Wakeman's presence had a lot to do with it. I was pretty impressed with the audiences energy level this time around, and I'm sure Yes was, too.
Having a "legend" like Wakeman return to the fold makes every Yes fan's fantasy of the band's ultimate de-evolution nearly complete. It is clear that the band is under-rehearsed at this point in the tour. This is their 4th or 5th paid rehearsal, and I am sure they are planning on having it together by the time they get to the east coast.
I will try not to dwell on the negatives too much longer. Mistakes really don't bother me that much. They are gonna happen in the best of performances, even if they are only tiny ones. It's how you react to them as a player, and how you recover. As a band, Yes proved to be quite adept at avoiding several trainwrecks in the first portion of the evening. The audience certainly wasn't gonna break bad on them. It was after all, the return of the "Caped Crusader" to the place where many here on this list feel he belongs....and they were breaking into thunderous applause if he so much as looked out into the audience. To Wakeman's credit, I'm sure he had to take a paycut to do this tour. He still needs a little help with his sounds. Someone should counsel him on this.....
It was a nice gesture for the band to attempt the two Magnification songs, but IMHO they really sound lame without the orchestra. You also got to see Wakeman squint through coke bottle-aviator glasses to read the music for those two songs, which was a rather peculiar sight.
On the other hand, it was a pleasure to have a keyboard player be more present in the mix for a change. Igor and Brislin never really got a break in that respect. I personally think either of those guys can eat Wakeman for breakfast, but unfortunately for them (in the eyes of Yes' leadership as well as their anal fans), they are not Rick Wakeman.
I think Rick is capable of playing better than he did last night, but I really don't think anybody was disappointed with his performance. Given Wakeman's ability to stay away for long periods of time from the band, his presence adds a long missing legitimacy and excitement that Yes sorely needs these days which I'm sure is translating to the bottom line. With ticket prices up to $90 (inc/ Ticketbastard and handling charges), hopefully Rick is not having to take too much of a paycut to play with Yes.
As you all know the setlist was shaken up a little bit on this tour and we finally got to see them perform SSotS which was interesting. It seemed like Jon was wanting to sing sharp a lot on that one. It must be just one of those things, where he has a problem hearing and making some specific interval jumps in that song, but I think he was more than strong enough to sell it to an audience that was predisposed to foaming at the mouth at the very thought of that song getting played live on this tour. The song "climaxes" with Wakeman and Mr
Rock review, YES at the Chicago Theatre By Michael Parrish Special to the Tribune
Rock band Yes has been through innumerable changes in personnel since it was first founded by bassist Chris Squire and vocalist Jon Anderson in the late 1960s.
Most fans and critics agree, however, that the early 1970s version of the group featuring guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and either Bill Bruford or Alan White (who is with Yes on the current tour) on drums, was the strongest lineup of the band's career, the progressive rock equivalent of the Jordan-Rodman Bulls.
At a sold-out show at the Chicago Theatre Friday night, the Yes dream team reunited for a powerful display of the enduring virtues of their musicianship and of their songwriting. The band's 3-hour show focused mostly on material recorded prior to 1974, including such epics as "The Revealing Science of God," which took up an entire side of their Tales of Topographic Oceans album.
The defining elements of the Yes sound remain Anderson's plaintive vocals, Squire's thundering lead bass and Howe's fluid, expressive guitar textures. Anderson may have lost a bit of his high register, but he, Squire, and Howe can still muster those exquisite high harmonies that sometimes sound (in a good way) like an angelic choir of chipmunks.
The rail-thin, bookish Howe kept his guitar technician running throughout the entire show as he worked through a veritable closet full of acoustic, electric and lap steel guitars, sometimes playing two or three instruments during a single song. A superb technician, Howe, whose specialty is pastiches of chords strung together by impossibly bent notes, took even the most familiar material into uncharted, and intriguing, melodic territory.
Squire, looking every bit the British rock star in knee-length coat, mullet cut and mutton chops, kept the band consistently energized with his cascading flurries of notes and extroverted mugging. (In a true Spinal Tap moment, Squire staggered back onstage from the wings after donning what looked like an impossibly heavy three-necked bass for the set closing "Awakening.")
White's athletic and precise drumming was essential to the band's sound, but he generally avoided the limelight, even the showboat percussion solos that were a familiar fixture of shows of their golden era. Wakeman, who has been in and out of Yes more times than Michael Jordan has retired from and returned to basketball, was the glue that held this particular incarnation of Yes together. Surrounded by a bank of nine electronic keyboards, Wakeman added crucial musical substance and seasonings, but mainly left definition of the tunes to Squire and Howe.
One of the show's magical moments occurred midway through Anderson's solo rendition of "Show Me," a tune he wrote just a few days ago, when Wakeman quietly took the stage and joined in with some subtle electronic piano support. A bit later, they also joined forces for a spare, airy rendition of the beautiful ballad, "And You and I."
Buoyed by fans who rewarded each tune with a standing ovation, the members of Yes delivered a virtuoso performance that demonstrated that they remain as passionate about their material and with playing together, as they did during their heyday nearly 30 years ago.
Drove all the way from Minnesota for this one, sometimes you have to do that for YES! Great show, having Rick back in the band really adds something intagible. They've always gotten good keyboardists in the past like Igor who can replicate his parts but there's nothing quite like Rick Wakeman wailing away on a mini-moog! Gotta love that solo in Revealing Science of God when he cranks up the vibrato wheel! Seeing Yes concerts in Minnesota is very different from Chicago though, Minnesota audiences are very attentive and quiet and this crowd was very drunk (they were handing out beers) and borish, they were yelling out everywhere and I had to ask several beer-drinkers to STOP TALKING DURING THE WHOLE SHOW!!!! Evidently there wasn't a bar nearby for these guys to have their conversation so they wondered into a Yes concert. South Side of the Sky wasn't quite as exciting as I had hoped, Howe wasn't loud enough and Bill Bruford isn't sitting back there! Don't Kill The Whale was surprisingly powerful live, with Alan White pounding away on his floor toms, the song had a really heavy, primal feel to it that worked to great effect. Revealing Science of God and most specifically Awaken were the highlights for me, after I hear songs like that, I just go, "ahhhhhh, that was some good music!" All is right in the world after I hear something like that! Here's hoping Rick's fifth stay in the band lasts a little while!!! -Brooks Rogers
A very good show, indeed! It's great to have Wakeman back in the fold. Rick seemed to enjoy himself and often applauded the audience. It was a very enthusiatic and appreciative crowd. After Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, the band launched into Siberian Khatru, which was warmly received and played very well. America, on the hand, required three (!) starts before they got it right! I have never seen a professional band like Yes have to start a song over. It seemed like Rick was having some troubles with the opening. As much as love this song, and enjoyed their performance of it, I'd have to say it was the worst song of the night, due to the sloppiness. They just weren't tight on this one at all. In the Presence of was pretty good- nicely performed, good sound. I particularly liked Howe's slide work in the second half of the piece. It was truly great to hear South Side of the Sky live for the first time in my life! I can't believe the audience didn't all jump out of the seats at the opening of this piece!! Yes has always been wary of playing this one live, apparently because they were never satisfied with the sound. Having finally heard it, I can understand their point. There is something very special about the tonal quality of this piece and it is a great credit to Eddie Offord's work. I don't know if Wakeman wasn't loud enough during the keyboard passages but it seemed like something 'more' could have been done with his part; the harmonies during the middle section were very impressive! Revealing Science of God moved me to tears by the end of it, tho, again, there was a distinct lack of tightness throughout. The Leaves of Green section from the Ancient was magnificent- tho for the life of me, I can't figure out why Jon didn't sing it as a duet, as they did on the Masterworks tour. Howe followed this with the Little Galliard by John Dowland.
After a short intermission, Jon came out and did a couple of solo pieces which were new to me. Nice pieces with Jon accompanying himself on guitar. Not exceptional but nice. Rick came out and joined him, then did a passage from Wonderous Stories and And You and I. Rick also did a little medley of his solo work, beginning with the first of the 6 Wives of Henry the VIII. Magnification was played extremely well, all the parts being clearly audible. I thought this was one of the overall better songs of the night. Particularly effective was the seemless transition into Don't Kill the Whale. Alan and Chris did a duet, incorparating several themes from Yes songs. Squire always has a ton of energy but I have seen him play with more flare and panache, particularly last year. Still, an energized perforaance from Chris. Awaken was very majectic; it's such a great way to end a set. After that, the typical Roundabout encore, but this time followed by Yours is no Disgrace, which I found to be a great way to end a show.
On the whole, a good show, but not a great one. The most noticeable flaw was the lack of tightness on several songs. The mix was only so-so, tho I could make out all the parts. Howe's lines came thru clearly for the most part and I could hear Jon above all the rest. Chris particulary seemed to enjoy Rick's presence and gave him a big hug at the end of the night.
Well, that's all for now. I am exhausted and want to get some sleep. I'm sure I will have the best dreams tonight!