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Archive for the month “July, 2014”

Even More Caution in Using Red Light Cameras

More data has been revealed that, in my mind, ought to persuade lawmakers to discontinue the use of red light cameras.  My opposition to red light cameras is no secret as I have written about it, both in publications and this blog, many times before: here, here, here, here, and here.

If it was not bad enough, as stated in my previous pieces linked above, that red light cameras are potentially unconstitutional, a violation of our civil rights, and making driving more dangerous, it now turns out that what we all suspected may be true, namely: regardless of the pretense of “safety” or keeping people driving appropriately (or whatever else lawmakers say), red light cameras are merely an attempt at making money for the state/commonwealth/government at the expense of motorists.

A new study has now shown that the time duration for an illuminated yellow/caution light on many traffic lights outfitted with red light cameras may have been shortened (shorter than typically expected by an average motorist), presumably in order to cause more drivers to run red lights, get caught by the red light cameras, and drive up the number of tickets issued (and the fines associated with the same).

To make matters worse, there are reports that the red light cameras in Chicago have increased red light tickets by the thousands under, according to the report, “questionable circumstances.”  As a result, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is offering additional time to appeal tickets and issuing refunds of fines and penalties.

So, not only do these red light cameras have questionable constitutionality, they are now a rather overt money grab on unsuspecting drivers who are, more or less, being entrapped by local law enforcement.

As the months pass, more and more reasons to discontinue the red light camera program are revealed.  When will our legislators do something?  I, for one, will pass this along to State Rep. Brian Sims (out of Center City Philadelphia) who is my friend and former co-worker at my law office, as part of my effort to end the red light camera program.

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A Look at Recent Unemployment Compensation Cases

Over the last several months three new unemployment compensation cases have been decided by courts which are critical for practitioners to keep in mind as they pursue their unemployment compensation cases.

The first case is Imani Christian Academy v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 42 A.3d 1171 (Pa.Cmwlth.2012).  In Imani, the employer is a Christian school which, in defense of an unemployment compensation claim, argued that the claimant for the unemployment compensation benefits could not collect them because it is a church.  Under unemployment compensation law, employment which qualifies an employee for benefits does not include services performed for a church or an organization operated primarily for religious purposes.  Based on the evidence presented at the Referee’s hearing, it was revealed that even though the school was a Christian school and included religious classes, it operated primarily for educational purposes.  Therefore, the school could not seek exemption from the unemployment compensation benefits on the basis of being a church or operating primarily for religious purposes.  The Court implied that the school simply did not provide sufficient evidence to prove its argument, so the lesson from this matter is to be sure the testimony and evidence provided is both substantive and sufficient to prove a party’s claims.

The second case is Grand Sport Auto Body v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 55 A.3d 186 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2012).  In this case the claimant for the unemployment compensation benefits had a long history of absenteeism and lateness.  The employer took the actions of giving him several warnings, changing his schedule to help him arrive on time, offering to call him each morning to wake him up, suspending him, and even firing him and then rehiring him.  The claimant provided virtually no legitimate reason or justification for his absences.  Eventually, the claimant requested vacation time to honeymoon in Mexico.  The employer granted the vacation time, however on the day claimant was due back to work, claimant’s flight was overbooked and he was stuck in Mexico.  Frustrated by claimant’s history of absences, the employer terminated claimant for willful misconduct.  When applying for unemployment compensation benefits, claimant argued that he was terminated due to his last absence which was not willful misconduct because he was stuck in Mexico and his absence was beyond his control.  The Court ruled that even though the most recent absence was not willful, and as a result he could not be terminated due to that absence in particular, an employee can certainly be terminated due to a history of absences which were willful irrespective of the circumstances of the most recent absence.

Finally, there is the matter of Bosch v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 55 A.3d 758 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2012).  This case reveals how unemployment compensation can interact with workers’ compensation.  The claimant initially suffered a work related injury and sought workers’ compensation benefits.  The employer contested the claim for workers’ compensation benefits.  Due to the claimant’s being out of work as a result of his injury, he did not have sufficient benefit weeks to qualify for unemployment compensation benefits.  Claimant argued, pursuant to section 204(b) of the workers’ compensation act, if a claimant has a “compensable injury” (i.e.: an injury for which a claimant is entitled to benefits) under workers’ compensation law then it allows a claimant to use an alternate benefit year to calculate benefit weeks for unemployment compensation.  Unfortunately for the claimant, even though he submitted evidence of his injury to unemployment compensation, he settled his workers’ compensation claim without ever establishing whether he suffered an injury compensable for workers’ compensation purposes.  Therefore, as claimant never had a compensable injury, he was not entitled to use an alternate benefit year, and he was found to be ineligible for benefits.  Bosch is a must for practitioners to consider when preparing workers’ compensation settlements.  Claimants must ensure any settlement includes language agreeing to, and describing the compensable injury, in order to put a claimant in the best position to also collect unemployment compensation.

Courts continue to hone and refine unemployment compensation law and it is important to stay ahead of the curve on these decisions.

This article was originally published in The Legal Intelligencer Blog on January 28, 2013 and can be seen here.

Yesshow Review (with pictures): 7-19-14 Upper Darby

This post is the part of my Yes concert series of posts.  I started this series here and you can read the others here.

I saw the progressive rock band Yes play the Tower Theater on July 19, 2014 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.  It was during their Heaven & Earth Tour; you can read more about this show hereSyd Arthur was the opening band.

The line-up Yes fielded that show was:

The set Yes played was (the album from which the song comes in parenthesis):

This was my twentieth Yes concert in twenty years (my Yes concert history is described here) and after all these years and all these shows it is difficult to say anything that has not already been said, so I will keep this review to just the highlights.  As one can tell from the set list, the show featured the entire Close to the Edge album, entire Fragile album, and a couple of new songs and classic songs.  The seminal Fragile album has never before been played it in its entirety (mainly due to the nature of the album having overdubbed solo pieces) so that was very exciting for me to hear/see as a Yes fan.

The show was sold out (which cannot be said for Yes’ last visit to the Tower back in 2012, so I guess Yes’ fortunes are doing better with Davison and/or playing whole albums at a time live) and the band played really well and has continued to play better and better with each successive show since their, in my mind, near disastrous show (and tour) in 2011 promoting their then new album Fly From Here (which was a really good album by the way).  It is also worth noting that I attended the Yes show in 2008 with my friend, concert buddy, and former neighbor, Mike.  We attended shows from the next eight Yes tours until and including the Yestival show in 2013.  Mike has since moved to Indiana so our streak has been broken; I’ll miss going to shows with a guy whose Yes fandom rivals my own (he reports seeing nearly sixty shows!) and an all around good guy regardless of Yes fandom.  So, I invited my friend, fellow church member, and Yes newbie, Dan to the show instead and he reported having enjoyed the show very much.

Yes sounded tight, energetic, smooth, and confident.  Every player was on top of his game and put in a quality performance, both instrumentally and vocally.  The stage set up can be seen in the photographs below, and included three projection screens over the band.  The lighting was done well and I appreciated it more than usual due to my balcony seat as I could see the entire beams of light.  The issues regarding the reduction in tempo for some of the songs from the Benoit David years seems gone as everything sounded as fast or faster than the album recordings for each song.  It is amazing how much a deteriorating singer can bring down a band!  Jon Davison is about as close to Jon Anderson one can come, yet he is able to maintain his own distinct style.  Although no one can replace Jon Anderson, I will say that Davison is a good as one can get, sustains his notes longer for dramatic effect at times (as compared to Anderson), and is a better technical musician than Anderson is/was.  The mix was excellent, everyone was loud and clear with very few muddy sections, but that may have been due to my seat location which was toward the front of the first balcony section (I opted for cheaper seats this time around as my wife Tiffani thinks I spend too much money on Yes tickets every year (I disagree obviously) but I have to say the sound quality was really good despite not being close to the stage).

The only goof in the show that I noticed was during “South Side of the Sky.”  The transition from the quiet piano section into gentle the three part lyriclesss harmonized singing part was a little rough as someone (it seemed like Downes to me) misplayed the tempo/beat which caused a cascade through the band to have to very rapidly regroup and get back onto the same beat.  Throughout that section Howe would retreat back to Downes’ keyboard rig between vocal sections just to make some eye contact with him and ensure they remained on the same page.

As far as individual songs are concerned, apart from the minor hiccup in “South Side of the Sky” as described above, they all came off really well.  Downes never sounded better on “Close to the Edge” than he did at this show.  The two new songs from Heaven & Earth came across really well.  The new album has received its share of criticism but its songs, in a live context, sound really good.  The band also seemed to play them a little faster than on the album, which helps.  Howe plays his Portuguese 12-string guitar throughout “To Ascend” while Davison strums an acoustic guitar throughout as well.  “The Game” featured Howe on his trusty Gibson ES-175D while using an E-bow and, strangely enough, immediately to the right of Alan White (behind the speakers) was a sound guy who set up and played an inverted cymbal during the lead up to the chorus each time it was played.  I was only able to notice the guy due to my seat location.  Squire played his green Mouridian bass on both songs.  There were no projections on the screens during these songs, likely because they are new and songs from the new album rotate from night to night.  Steve Howe played his Gibson Switchmaster for most of the Fragile material (as he did on the album); with exception of the Fragile Tour and Close to the Edge Tour, Howe usually simply plays the ES-175D for this material as the sound difference between the guitars is insignificant, but I suppose playing Fragile in its entirety justified pulling the Switchmaster out again.  “Roundabout” (and the rest of Fragile) followed the new material and, after twenty Yesshows, I have gotten to the point where I never have to hear this song live again as I have heard it at every show I have seen.  Since 1972 “Roundabout” has been an encore song but, for essentially the only time aside from the acoustic 35th Anniversary Tour, Yes played the song in the middle of set this time around (due to this tour’s feature of the entire Fragile album in order) and, I have to say, I enjoyed it a lot more and it seemed to come off with a lot more energy than usual.  “We Have Heaven”, “Cans and Brahms,” and “the Fish” are all solo pieces on Fragile with overdubs by the soloist.  As a result, these were all played with backing tracks to try and recreate the album.  Davison recorded his own voice (as opposed to using Anderson’s existing recordings) to reproduce “We Have Heaven” (Howe and Squire joined in the singing), while Downes recorded some backing tracks for his performance of “Cans and Brahms” (as opposed to using Rick Wakeman‘s existing recordings), and Squire recorded backing tracks for “the Fish” though they were barely audible and what I could hear seemed to be really basic rhythmic bass notes to maintain tempo.  “South Side of the Sky” (aside from the minor goof noted above) was presented better than I have ever seen them do it.  The lighting was great, which included very bright flashes of light to represent lightening.  They also used dry ice smoke (or a fog machine), and, on the projection screens, Roger Dean mountain-scapes with graphics of snow animated over them.  Very cool stuff.  Davison hopped onto the keyboard riser and reached over the top keyboard on the right (from the audience’s perspective) to trigger the wind and moog distortion sounds in the song.  The ending of the song, which, since 2002, has featured trading solos between synthesizer and guitar, did so once again (and Downes, contrary to the belief of many Yes fans, holds his own here), but it was about as long as the solo section played during the Full Circle Tour as opposed to the very extended solo section played during the 35th Anniversary Tour.  Davison strummed acoustic guitar during this section, as well as on “We Have Heaven.”  “Five Percent for Nothing” was a goofy 30 sections that sounded very chaotic.  My ears usually gravitate to the sustained organ chords in order to ground the piece in my mind but I could not hear them during the performance so I was never able to engage in this piece and, no sooner did it begin, it was over.  Alan White wore headphones during this track presumably to help him keep everything together.  Finally, the only other notable thing was that Downes played a keytar during the “Wurm” section of “Starship Trooper” but, unlike the classic performances of this song, there was no extended keyboard solo.

A brief word on Syd Arthur before I conclude.  I know nothing about them aside from their reputation as a modern prog rock band.  They played for about 35 minutes and featured a drummer, bass player, guitarist/singer, and a violin/keyboard/mandolin player.  Their sound was rather muddy to me and they sounded like a modern Radiohead with influences that appear to be from Porcupine Tree and Pure Reason Revolution.  As you can see in the photographs below, they had virtually no stage set up at all; they set up within Yes’ stage set up.

Below are some photographs from the evening, including some photographs of Syd Arthur, Yes, the Tower Theater, and some post-show traffic!

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Yes Concert Reviews: 10/25/97

Here is another addition to my series of Yes music posts.  Back in the mid 1990s the old message board system of newsgroups on Usenet was in its heyday and, being a sucker for internet debates, I gravitated right toward it.  Nowadays Usenet has been taken over by Google Groups but, needless to say, social networking things like Facebook and Twitter and any number of other options have made Usenet all but obsolete save for some loyal diehard hardcore users.

As a Yes fan I searched out some topical Usenet groups and found a very active and highly volatile group called alt.music.yes.  I attended the Yes concert at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania on 10/25/97 and it afforded me my first opportunity to post a review of a concert on alt.music.yes. This concert was part of the Open Your Eyes Tour and I went with any aunt (who introduced me to Yes in 1991), uncle, and friend and college roommate.

I thought my review was lost to history but I happened to find the absolutely amazing Yes concert archive website Forgotten Yesterdays.  I love this website and I feel like only Yes fans would create such a site.  It has the dates and locations for practically every Yes concert ever played with the complete set list for most of those shows.  The site also includes lots of photographs, videos, anecdotes and a crazy amount of statistics.

One of the anecdotes on the website I found was my review of the 10/25/97 show unearthed from the bowels of Usenet!  That was an amazing show with a very long set list.  Even Ed Sciaky made an appearance to lead the audience in singing “Happy Birthday to You” to Yes’ lead vocalist Jon Anderson who was celebrating his fifty-third birthday that day.

So, upon finding it, I thought it would be fun posting it here.  My review of Yes’ 10/25/97 Yes concert is pasted below for posterity, but can be seen on Forgotten Yesterdays here.

Yes fielded the following line-up at this show:

This was the set list (albums on which the songs can be found in parenthesis):

Here is the review (including all typos as found in the original post):

I attended the YES show last night at the Tower and,in a word, it was incredible. All the guys were in top form, and they we as tight as I have ever heard them. After seeing the show, I have developed some comments and questions the group may be interested in, so here goes:

#1: Although noone can replace Wakeman, Igor was more than I expected. I was ready for some lame Wakeman imitation, but was very surprised when I heard him. He seems to like to play on the jazzier side, and is not prone to bouts of overbearing playing as Wakeman is. He seems partial to piano, and I have never seen a YES keyboardist sit during the show. Although in saying that I do miss Wakeman’s out in front approach. In addition, I don’t think Igor played a many keyboards simultantiously as Wakeman does, which is also sort of a draw back. Also, I think there were some samples programmed into his keyboards. I remember two instances, but at the moment only one is jumping out. During the keyboard solo in AYAI, he played the main part with his right hand, but it did not look like he was playing with his left, but you could still hear the two note chords (I think that is the correct term) being played during the solo. (Definition of two note chords: what Tony Kaye plays while Wakeman solos during this song on the Union tour). This reminds me of another observation. I realize that this is Igor’s sixth show or something, and his familiarity with the music is therefore limited, so I cannot critisize him for this, but did anyone else notice that the large majority of his solos (except Roundabout and ST if I remember correctly) were virtual copies of the studio solos? Wakeman usually shakes them up a little, but Igors solos were practicly note for note from the album. I imagine tha this will change when he gets more used to the music. Overall, however, he was an incredible player whos only possible direction is up.

#2: Billy Sherwood’s role seems to be to take up Squire’s slack in singing, and fake Rabin’s presence. It seems that Squire has admitted that his voice has not stood the test of time like Anderson’s has, and has let Billy take over some of his sining parts. However, this is only speculation. I think Billy’s main role is to take up Steve’s slack in being the typical rock guitarist because Steve refuses to be one. I think his presence can only add more depth and variety to the music in the future. He also provides a way to fill out the guitars (especially in the area of overdubbing) to sound more like the albums.

#3: Steve Howe. I know he does not enjoy playing the Rabin stuff, that much is obvious, but could he at least ACT like he does. He looks completely disinterested in playing it. On Owner, He really needs to play the begining power chords better, but the ending solo is incredible. He seemed to be a little undermixed at the beginig, but that was fixed quickly. With this in mind, I noticed something about Heart of the Sunrise. Now, I may be udderly wrong about this because I was focusing on Squire and wasn’t really paying attention to the others at this time. During Squire’s solo, Howe’s guitar line comes in quietly and builds in intensity until it is as prominent as the bass, then the drums come in and the two go into the opening riff. Now, my question is, didn’t Howe come in rather abruptly during this part? I remember thinking, when the drums came in, “I don’t remember hearing STeve come in.” Did anyone else notice this? Moving on…I am very interested in how he goes about playing the various guitars on the songs, a I noticed some peculiararities about this show. First off, (outside of the Topographic tour) I have never seen Howe put anything besides his Sitar on a stand. His (what appeared to me as his) Martin 0018 was on a stand. Is this because he is admitting that he is getting too old to keep switching around in the middle of songs all the time? Does anyone know what prompted him to do start putting other guitars on stands? I think it is great that he does this, it has allowed him more freedom to play more like the album (see below, in regards to ST). In addition, did he use a twelve string at all? I can’t remember, but I don’t remember any other acoustic guitar on the stand aside from the Martin. He played the acoustic on a stand during AYAI (again, it is on a stand, something I believe to be a first for that song) and I can’t seem to picture anything else other than his MArtin six-string. Of course, to my defense, I has a seat at the back of the theater and the the MArtin 6 and 12 strings look awlfly similar. I just do not remember it being fat enough for a 12-string during AYAI. One of the things that helped me think tha AYAI was on a 6 string was his acoustic solo. He played all 3 pieces (Second Initial, Masquerade, Clap) on his Scharpach SKD 6-string. As most of you know, Masquerade was played on a 12-string. Why did he do this? Did anyone else notice this? Could someone clear this up? Another observation, and a prayer answered in this area, was ST. I have wondered for years why he never played Disillusion with an acoustic guitar. This, to my knowledge, is the first tour where he plays it with an acoustic in the history of YES. I was overjoyed! I have waited and wondered for a long time why he never took the time to play Disillusion with an acoustic, it sounded so great too, so Howeish!

#4: singing Happy Birthday to Jon was fun. Ed Sacky came out before the start of the show and said that Jon could not hear him and that after “soon” Igor was going suprise him and play Happy BIrthday on his piano and for all of us to stand and sing. Chris seemed to have taken a fan’s sign from the audience that said “HAPPY BIRTHDAY JON!!” and walked around stage holding it up. The guys sang too and Chris put his arm around him. Jon also took a birthday card from someone in the front row. It was a lot of fun.

#5: I took my friend, a bassist, to the show. He was only a marginaly fan, and expected to be a little disinterested in the show. After seeing the show, and especially seeing Squire in person, he has been a changed man. He now can’t stop playing YESSONGS. He is a big Bela Fleck fan, so his hero is Victor Wooten, so a bassist with a pick was kinda sacreligious for him, but after seeing The Fish, he changed his mind. His first words were “Squire’s the man!” and that Squire is to prog as Wooten is to jazz—the best! You could feel Squire’s bass pedals in your chest. I am proud to say that we have a new convert! He’s getting the new records when they come out too! Just trying to do my part to expand the fandom of YES.

#6: The lights and stuff were great. Not too overbearing or distracting, but enough to give the music flair, emotion, and intensity.

Anyway, I leave you guys alone for now. If I never see them again, I can at least say that this was an experience I will never forget. Thank you YES for the evening of a lifetime!!!!

 

 

 

 

Yes Concert Reviews: 12/12/99, Tower Theater, Upper Darby

This post is the part of my Yes concert series of posts.  I started this series here and you can read the others here.

This post refers to one of my old Usenet posts which I described previously in this blog post here.  I posted a review of the Yes concert which took place at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania on December 12, 1999 to the Usenet group alt.music.yes.  This show was part of the The Ladder Tour.

Usenet has become rather obsolete due to modern social networking so, as before, I thought my review was lost to Usenet history until I saw that someone had captured it for the absolutely amazing Yes concert archive website Forgotten Yesterdays.  One of the anecdotes on the website I found was my review of the 12/22/90 show unearthed from the bowels of Usenet!  .

So, upon finding it, I thought it would be fun posting it here.  My review of Yes’ 12/22/99 Yes concert is pasted below for posterity, but can be seen on Forgotten Yesterdays here.

Yes fielded the following line-up at this show:

This was the set list (albums on which the songs can be found in parenthesis):

Here is the review (copied word for word typos and all):

It is the day after and I can finally hear again 😉

The mixing at the Philly show was not bad, but not great either. It was loud though!

I was on extreme Steve side so that may have something to do with it. HOwever, Chris was far too low most of the time. Even his opening “solo” during for “The Messanger” was hard for me to hear. ALthough I do like Billy, from my perspective, he could have been unplugged 75% of the time and I wouldn’t have known it. The other 25% of the time he was good and loud (ie: the Rabin stuff, Homeworld, IWBAGD, etc). Chris and Billy’s vocals were also hard to hear a lot of the time. Even Billy’s counter-point vocals were hard to hear on “Hearts”. Khoroshev’s left hand was hard to hear much of the time too as his leads drowed it out.

Steve’s volume was very variable. AT the beginning of the show he was ear piercing, drowning everyone out. HOwever, on LS, his guitar was barely audible. His acoustic guitar on TM was also quieter than it should have been. His volume became acceptable after PC.

Jon and Alan’s volume were fine through the concert.

The following are interesting (at least to me) details about the show that have been left out of other concert reviews:

LS sounds sparse without the horns.
Jon had echo effects on his voice on LS and Awaken
Chris plays his Electra bass on OoaLH instead of his Meridian and uses a 6-string on Hearts
There were no counter-point vocals on Awaken. I think this is inexcusable given how many singers they now have.
Whatever tuned percussion Alan plays at the end of Hearts has GOT TO GO! It was truly irritating/annoying and he plays it at a fast speed even though the song is going slow. It’s ridiculous. It almost ruined the pretty ending.
Steve had a little light on his steel. He also seemed to play it with a pic and his fingers on AYAI–is this normal?
The ending Jam was cool and Steve and Billy had cool solos as well. They should do more things like that.
The following are interesting (at least to me) details about Igor that have been left out of other concert reviews:

The wordless counter-point vocals at the end of ROundabout were sang by Igor. I think this is the first time *ever* that these were sang and not played on the keyboard.
Igor had a problem with his mic on ISAGP during “part b”. He was playing organ with one hand and couldn’t get it right and seemed to say “screw it” to himself and sang on it since he could not adjust it properly.
He plays percussion on Roundabout, YIND,(I think) ISAGP, and a one or two others.
Adds a keyboard flourish at the end of PC.
Sings a lot of the additional harmonies on TM, HW, ISAGP, FtF. He sings the “boops” on FtF.
He is a crazy man up there as he is all over dancing around waving his arms or punching the air like a boxer during Alan’s cymbal crashes. His tambourines with streamers are funny. He was waving them around trying to hit Jon with the streamers during YIND.
He plays the counter-point under Steve’s acoustic during TM. He also plays the “koto” on IWBAGD and triggers the dance loop on FtF.
The following are interesting (at least to me) details about Howe that have been left out of other concert reviews:

Howe plays acoustic guitar on the final verse of YinD for the first time *ever* (I think).
Howe’s solo on YinD sounds new and not deriviative from his old solos. His 1998 (when I saw them) and 1991 solos seemed derivative of his 70’s solos.
Howe uses the red Midi Les Paul (without using the Midi) on AYAI and OoaLH.
Howe plays a spanish guitar on LS which he strums with fingers most of the time and picks up his pic from a stand to play the scalar riffs, only to put his pic down again to strum with his fingers.
The background had the Ram music video while Steve played his OoaLH solo.
The middle of Awaken seemed to be played faster than normal. There also seemed to be a little confusion right before he Telecaster solo, but I am not sure.
Howe’s role during IWBAGD is much more limited than I thought. All he plays are the flourishes between the verses. He has also added a solo at the end (perhaps to make up for his lack of playing during the song)? When he isn’t playing (which is a lot), he just stands and watches.
Quick couple of questions and comments about Billy Sherwood:

Did anyone notice that during IWBAGD and Awakenm Billy was tapping his guitar to produce the sound (not quite ala Van Halen)? His tapping on Awaken was seemed to be the same rhythm pattern as the harp/bell parts. (oooh! there it is Froy! It’s Billy! ;)–yeah right, the harp strings moved, I saw!)? The mix was bad where I was at, can anyone tell me if this was effective or had purpose?

He played a cream colored 12-string and a red 6-string guitar during the 12/12 Philly show. He is pictured with a black/sunburst 6-string, a red-semi-hallow-12-string, and what looks like a cream-colored strat. Can anyone specificly ID any of these guitars?

Billy was hard for me to hear over on Steve’s side, but he seemed to handle most of the guitar parts for IWBAGD, and contributed a lot to HW. Other than the Rabin stuff, it was hard to determine what he was doing.

WHen Billy sang the counter-point vocals on Hearts, my sister leaned over and said, “wow, he has a really good voice!”

Finally, the beginning of TM Igor plays the counter-melody while Steve plays acoustic. On the album I could’ve sworn that was Billy’s guitar since, to my ears, it sounds nothing like a keyboard. Can anyone expand on this? Is it also a keyboard on the album?

Yes Pictures: 7/28/09; Upper Darby (Asia opening)

This post is the part of my Yes concert series of posts.  I started this series here and you can read the others here.

I saw the progressive rock band Yes play the Tower Theater on July 28, 2009 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.  It was the second part of the In the Present Tour.  You can read more about this show here.

The line-up Yes fielded that show was:

The set Yes played was (the album from which the song comes in parenthesis):

What made this show especially cool was that the band Asia was the opening band promoting their then new album Phoenix.  For anyone who knows about these bands and their music will know that Asia has, for many years at various times, boasted Yes guitarist Steve Howe as its own guitarist.  Additionally, Asia also claims former Buggles keyboardist Geoff Downes as a member, who is also a former (1980) and current (2011 through as of this writing) Yes member as well (though Downes was not in Yes at the time of this show).  So, needless to say, Steve Howe had quite a workout playing both the opening set with Asia and the headlining set with Yes.  Asia is also a cool band for any prog rock fan to see (despite complaints that Asia is on the commercial side) because former King Crimson/Renaissance/Roxy Music/Uriah Heep/U.K./&c. member John Wetton and former Emerson, Lake & Palmer (“ELP”) member Carl Palmer are also in the band making for a rather impressive super group which, during their set, took the time to play songs from each of the member’s pedigree, including “In the Court of the Crimson King” (a King Crimson track, obviously), “Fanfare for the Common Man” (an ELP track), “Video Killed the Radio Star” (a Buggles track), and, of course, “Roundabout” (a Yes track).  In addition to all of this, during Asia’s performance of “In the Court of the Crimson King”, they introduced special guest, and original King Crimson and Foreigner member, Ian McDonald to play the flute, which was entirely unexpected and very awesome indeed.

While at the show (both Asia and Yes) I was able to take a few photographs and they are displayed below; please note that Yes, at this time, was still touring with a set designed by their long time artist Roger Dean that looked pretty cool, especially as different colors were projected onto it.  Enjoy the photographs.

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The Blogging / Writing Gene

Check out Faye Cohen’s blog post “The Blogging / Writing Gene” on her blog Toughlawyerlady here.

Yes, Heaven & Earth: a Review

As most of you know, I am an enormous fan of the progressive rock (sometimes shorted to “prog”) band Yes (I have written more about the genre of progressive rock here and more about Yes here).  On July 22, 2014 Yes has released, depending on how one counts, at least its twenty-first studio album entitled Heaven & Earth.  This is Yes’ first release since I started this blog and I am happy to have the opportunity to dedicate a post to this blog on my review of Yes’ latest album.

Yes made a short promotional video about the album which you can find here.

Before I get into the meat of the review, here is the basic information for the album:

Track List:

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Believe Again” (video clip sample here) Jon Davison, Steve Howe 8:02
2. “The Game” (video clip sample here) Chris Squire, Davison, Gerard Johnson 6:51
3. “Step Beyond” (video clip sample here) Howe, Davison 5:34
4. “To Ascend” (video clip sample here) Davison, Alan White 4:43
5. “In a World of Our Own” (video clip here) Davison, Squire 5:20
6. “Light of the Ages” (video clip sample here) Davison 7:41
7. “It Was All We Knew” Howe 4:13
8. “Subway Walls” Davison, Geoff Downes 9:03
Total length:
51:29

 

Personnel:

Background:

Yes was founded in 1968 and, as one may expect, anything released by a media entity, such as a band, or movie series, or television show, and the like, particularly one which has seen its share of success, after forty-six years comes with it much baggage and expectation from its fan base and Heaven & Earth is no exception.  Heaven & Earth, as incredible as it may sound, is a unique album for one released this deeply into the band’s career.  For better or for worse, and for perhaps the first time in twenty, if not thirty, years, Yes has made an album which truly reflects who they are and what they want to be right now, without regard to expectations and baggage.  For this reason alone, whether one hates or loves Heaven & Earth, I think it must be respected as it is enormously risky to make an album like that this far into their career.

Yes began its life in the 1960s as a psychedelic group inspired, like most bands of the era, by the Beatles.  By the time the 1970s arrived, and the introduction of Steve Howe into Yes, the band evolved throughout the 1970s as the premier progressive rock band, selling millions of albums and playing arenas to tens of thousands of fans per show.  Unfortunately, the end of the 1970s saw progressive rock’s popularity on the wane due to the increase in popularity of punk and pop which led many progressive rock bands to fold.  Instead of following this pattern, Yes retooled itself into having a more mainstream commercial sound in the 1980s.  What Yes may have lost in some musical credibility, it gained as a chart topping band through the 1980s.  The era of the revitalized commercial Yes concluded more or less after the tour of their 1991 album Union.  By the early 1990s, Yes’ style was once again foiled by punk, this time by its progeny known as grunge.

By 1994, Yes began a twenty-year era marked by the confusing push and pull of its two eras of popularity; an era which may have finally found its end with the release of Heaven & Earth.  Over this twenty-year period Yes found itself in the unenviable position of trying to satisfy two seemingly mutually exclusive groups of fans at the same time in an effort not to lose either: the fans of the 1970s progressive rock era and the fans of the 1980s commercial era.  One way Yes tried to do that is to release compromise albums which have aspects of each style, some songs being of their progressive style and some more commercial; specifically Yes tried, to varying degrees of success, to do this on 1994’s Talk, 1999’s The Ladder, and 2011’s Fly From Here.  Of course, these albums have some songs which please some fans and other songs which please others, leaving both somewhat unsatisfied.  Alternatively, Yes , at times, decided to go “all in” on one of their styles.  For example, in 1996 Yes released the Keys to Ascension set which saw the reunion of Yes’ classic line up and an album of “old school” prog rock.  Although seen by some as a great return to form, this album was criticized as being “retro” or “derivative” or “breaking no new ground.”  So, in 1997, Yes released Open Your Eyes, which saw them embrace their 1980s sound, yet, as before, this album, too, was criticized, this time as being a sell out or a rejection of their prog rock roots or lacking musical credibility.  In 2001, Yes, in what appeared to be a stroke of creativity to avoid the prog/pop conflict described above, released Magnification, which embraced the long forgotten sound of band and full orchestra as found on their second album Time and a Word released in 1970.  Unfortunately for Yes, this rediscovered sound did not move many fans.  So, as a result, with yet another reformation of the classic line up in 2002 through 2005, instead of creating wholly new material, Yes elected to rediscover their back catalog as an “unplugged” band (albeit about ten years after the unplugged fad ran its course) and released Yes Acoustic: Guaranteed No Hiss and The Ultimate Yes.

I provide the rather long winded introduction above to provide the background in which Heaven & Earth finds itself and why it should be respected as a Yes release in 2014.

Overview of the Album:

One thing that is striking when listening to this album is that it sounds nothing like any other album Yes has ever produced.  If I had to compare it to another release, it would fall somewhere in the family of albums comprising of Tormato, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, and The Ladder, and possibly Going for the One and Talk, yet it really does not sound like any of these.  As I stated above, it is truly unlike the rest of the Yes canon.

The album does have some distinguishing features.  It is marked by a mid-tempo, mellow, and light sound through most of the album.  It also shows a band that is mature.  Of course, any band that is 46 years into a career is mature.  What I mean by that is that Yes does not seem overly concerned with proving their prog rock credibility at every turn by playing to the genre or their reputation.  Instead, Yes plays the music they want to play and, when appropriate, include prog rock fiddle faddle, but do not clearly feel pressure to do so, especially when the music may not call for it.  The other characteristic of the music that comes across almost instantly is that it is song oriented, melodic and beautiful.  The band gets the most out of every melody and clearly the emphasis and focus the band has is on melody (especially vocal melody) and beauty over the other aspects of the music.  In fact, the melodies on practically every song are great candidates to be earworms for days; for all of Yes’ talent and history of great music, creating earworms is something of a new thing for them.  Most of all, it is very clear that Yes feels no pressure to live up to their reputation.  Yes made an album that reflects who they are today.

The Songs:

There are three groups of songs on the album.  Three songs, “Believe Again,” “Light of the Ages,” and “Subway Walls,” are the ones which are most like their prog rock pedigree and, unsurprisingly, are also the longest of the album.  “Believe Again” has a beautiful melody which is introduced on Steve Howe’s guitar.  The verses have a nice counterpoint bass part and the chorus features memorable and standard Yes harmonies.  The middle of the song has a darker instrumental break which, perhaps in ages past, would have included more furious playing than done now, but here Yes includes just the right notes with just the right amount of subtly.  “Light of the Ages” sounds like something Yes would have made as a movement to a longer song in the past, but now, in 2014, Yes makes the most of the track taken alone.  The music is beautiful and atmospheric, with a great Howe introduction and powerful melody.  “Subway Walls” is the most “classic Yes” of the songs though it too includes rather unusual elements for a Yes song.  Notably, it includes a long highly orchestrated neo-classical keyboard/vibraphone introduction (which is, believe it or not, unusual for Yes) which leads into a friendly bass melody and, once again, a memorable vocal melody.  The song leads into a long instrumental break that compares more to traditional jazz than traditional Yes, which includes a Jon Lord like Hammond organ as well as angular and fuzzed electric guitar, concluding with a very insistent and dramatic vocal section to conclude the song.

The next set of songs include “To Ascend,” “In a World of Our Own,” and “It Was All We Knew.”  These songs are progressive in as much as they include their fair share of Yes fiddle faddle, such as awkward time signatures and unusual arrangements, however, in my mind, these songs are progressive for what they stand for in the Yes canon.  “To Ascend” is a Yessified country western song (Steve Howe strums his 12-string Portuguese guitar throughout a la “Wonderous Stories“) , while “In a World of Our Own” is in the style of a Chicago blues shuffle with a blocky Hammond organ and some Beatles-isms, while “It Was All We Knew” would fit comfortably on a Jimmy Buffet album.  Many may say that these songs are not progressive enough (or even at all), but, to my mind, a band like Yes pulling out songs like these, which have no real analogue anywhere in their back catalog, shows a band willing to be unpredictable and push itself and continue to try new things, which, I think, is especially impressive this late in their career considering all of the expectations their history has created in the minds of their fans.

This leaves “The Game” and “Step Beyond” as the final set of songs.  Both songs could be considered as heading in the direction of a “pop” and/or “commercial” style, but, once again, these songs, as the others, include unpredictable arrangements and structures that would not be found in pop or commercial music.  “The Game”, with its smooth guitar with ebow and extremely catchy melody in both chorus and verses, really glides along and gets caught in one’s brain for days.  Squire’s bass parts and Howe’s guitar parts during the verses are very unusual, textural, and effects based, and fit together like a jig saw.  “Step Beyond”, which is arguably the weakest track on the album, has a rather awkward gait to it which features bouncy moog parts, a loud electric guitar which appears out of nowhere, and a fat Squire bass line that is unexpected considering the context of the song in which it finds itself.  Despite its weaknesses, though, the chorus, strangely enough, finds its way into one’s brain for hours.

The Players:

Everyone in the band turns in excellent performances throughout as one would expect.  The playing is consistent with what Yes has always produced.  The only thing I would say is that their playing is subtler than on other albums.  For example, instead of a big fat in your face bass line, Squire is content to make his sound more polite.  The long and blistering solos and/or the furious (over?) playing so prevalent on prior Yes releases are mostly absent in favor of playing some would say is more tasteful.  Indeed, part of the reason for the lack of this sort of playing is simply that the music does not call for it, with its emphasis on melody and group playing, and perhaps Yes are at a point in their career where they are finally mature enough to embrace subtly and tastefulness more than before.  It’s not that they can’t play furiously anymore – their live shows show that they can – they just choose to be more judicious about it on this album.  It is also worth noting that, strange enough as it is to say, Alan White stood out to me on this album.  The playing of the other guys is as expected while Alan White turned in a performance not seen since at least The Ladder, if not before.  His playing is complex, subtle, and very pleasing.  Ironically, the “original thunder machine” (as Jon Anderson used to call him) who provided such a contrast to Bill Bruford‘s lighter touch and subtle jazzy style when he joined in 1972, appears to be taking on more of his predecessor’s style by toning down the speedy pounding in favor of lighter but more complex percussion.  Finally, to address the elephant in the room, Jon Davison, the man filling the shoes vacated by Jon Anderson, does an amazing job.  His singing is high, clear, and emotional, and easily fits within the vocal style established by Anderson for the decades before Davison’s arrival into the band.  Interestingly, in the acknowledgement section of the liner notes of this album (pictured below), Dasvison thanks Paramahansa Yogananda who provided Jon Anderson inspiration to create Yes’ epic magnum opus Tales from Topographic OceansThis should give him a little more Yes credibility for those who pine after Anderson.  His voice, like Anderson’s, seamlessly harmonizes with Squire’s voice who turns in yet another great vocal performance as well.

The Sound/Production:

Before I conclude, I want to mention the sound/production of the album.  The album is produced by famed English producer Roy Thomas BakerBilly Sherwood, former Yes member and long time Yes collaborator, mixed the album and engineered the vocals.  Baker, as hardcore Yes fans will recall, was the producer of Yes’s 1979 Paris album that was never completed or released (except for the bits and pieces released as “bonus tracks” on re-releases of old albums and box sets in the 21rst Century).  So, Baker and Yes had some unfinished business (note that none of the music on Heaven & Earth dates from the Paris album).  Baker’s sonic emphasis was on the vocals (which makes sense considering the emphasis on melody on the album) and the drumming.  All of the other instruments were sort of compressed between the singing and the drumming.  This is unfortunate as some of the playing is really good but can be missed because of its underemphasis.  For example, there are a few of places on the album where Chris Squire’s bass should be fat, loud, and pounding, but winds up somewhat buried and crammed between the singing and the drumming.  The other instruments have similar issues at various times across the album as well where the singing (especially) or the drumming takes priority when, to my ears, perhaps the guitar or keyboards or bass should be more prominent.  Indeed, the weakest link on the album is, strangely, the production.  As good as the songs are I do not think the production does them any justice and, quite honestly, I think these songs, as a result, will really shine and take on a life of their own live when the band can set its own volume levels.

Criticism:

Like any Yes album, this album has received its share of criticism, including from many who call themselves Yes fans.  Now, there is no accounting for taste.  People like and dislike what they like and dislike out of an emotional response to music that no amount of intellectual argument can persuade otherwise.  That being said, although some criticism is objectively of the music itself, I have found that the vast majority of the criticism (especially from Yes fans) stems from the fact that this album does not meet preconceived expectations.  In other words, the criticism can be described as the following: “Yes should not sound like that” or “Yes should not make an album like this” or “This does not sound like any Yes album I know” or “This is not what Yes should sound like.”  I take these criticisms as those of people who cannot accept that Yes continues to change and push themselves and try new things.  Yes may have delved into an area of music one does not like but I do not think that makes the music poor; it merely means it is not what one expects from Yes.  Quite honestly, I would rather have a Yes that does not meet expectations as they are trying (and possibly failing at) something new than a Yes that continues to do the same thing over and over again to meet the expectations of its fans.  Indeed, after forty-six years, I respect the fact that Yes can risk making an album that does not meet the expectations of its fans.

Conclusion:

This is, without doubt, a Yes album and a very credible one at that.  I think this album took courage to release.  This album will please a lot of Yes fans.  I doubt this album will convert many non-fans.  The courage, though, comes in that this album may displease just as many fans as it pleases as this album is completely unexpected and unlike what Yes has done before.  Failing to fulfill fans’ expectations, which have been formed and crafted over forty-six years, regardless of the merits of the music, is an enormous risk to take for a band that is heading into its fiftieth anniversary, as such a failure can be viewed as betrayal or disgust by their fans.  I think Yes made an album that reflects who they are today.  Yes in 2014 is not the Yes of 1972 that made Close to the Edge or the Yes of 1983 which made 90125 and, realistically, we should not expect them to be at this late date.  Besides, those albums have been made and do not need to be made again (indeed, retreading old territory would reveal a lack of creativity); they are now moving on to new and different things and, honestly, that is okay and, if I may say so, rather progressive of them even if what they created does not fit the traditional conception of prog rock.  Yes, as described above, have tried being their past selves but dissatisfaction appears to be part and parcel with doing that.  Instead, Yes have paved a new path and charted new territory, a path and territory they want to tread, regardless of the past and the expectations placed on them and for that, I think, whether one loves or hates Heaven & Earth, it has to be respected.

The Packaging:

IMG_1414 IMG_1415 IMG_1416 IMG_1417 IMG_1418 IMG_1419 IMG_1420 IMG_1421 IMG_1422 IMG_1423 IMG_1424 IMG_1425

Here is the cover art:

Yes Reviews and Stories

[Updated on October 1, 2017]

[Edit: All of my posts regarding Yes and its various shows, programs, lineups, set lists, and all sorts of other related things have been collected and the links to all of them have been posted here.]

As stated many times before in this blog, I am a huge fan of the band Yes and of progressive rock in general.  I have written on Yes, prog rock, and related topics before which you can see here.

On July 19, 2014 I am seeing Yes play the Tower Theater in Upper Darby (with Syd Arthur as the opener) and on July 22, 2014 the new album Heaven & Earth is being released.  So, needless to say, the next couple of weeks are very exciting for me as a Yes fan!

As this will be a very “Yes” month, I thought it would be fun to post some concert reviews I have done in the past, as well as my review of the new album and upcoming show, and perhaps a concert story or two over my years of seeing Yes.  For the next few months I will try and post on music once per week or so.

I have seen the following Yes shows:

I hope this will be fun as I have been able to unearth some of my old reviews and found some old photographs of Yes days past to post in this blog.  If you have any fun Yes or concert stories, please be sure to mention them in the comments section below!

 

Happy Independence Day!

This post is a little late but between my other posts, the holiday weekend, and my work obligations, I am just getting to this now.

Every 4th of July people in the United States gather together, usually outside, for some fun in the sun, a good barbecue, and fireworks.  Indeed, I always thought it was significant that Americans celebrate our patriotic holidays with hamburgers instead of watching the nation’s military strut through the streets as in many other nations.

We all know (or at least I hope we all do) that we are celebrating the day when our nation, these United States, came together for the first time and declared our independence from Great Britain, the British Empire, and the English crown.  Most of us know the basics of the story, the players involved, the reasons we sought independence, and about the Revolutionary War which subsequently ensued.  Indeed, most of us know the document which symbolized and formally established our independence: the Declaration of Independence, but how many of us have taken the time to read it?  This document is one of the greatest ever written in human history and will stand as a symbol of freedom long into the future and, perhaps, long after the United States of America ceases to exist.  To that end, then, here is your chance to read the Declaration of Independence.  The full text is copied below for you to read.

Before I conclude I wanted to throw in a humorous anecdote: I noticed an English guy on Facebook (a friend of a friend) celebrating the 4th of July in England.  Someone asked him how he could do this considering the British lost the Revolutionary War to which he responded: “[w]e celebrate in the UK too, as the feeling was mutual.” – Zing!  I had to laugh at that.

Thanks and happy Independence Day!

_________________________

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

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