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:
- Jon Anderson: lead vocals, guitar, percussion
- Chris Squire: bass guitars, vocals
- Steve Howe: guitars, vocals
- Alan White: drums, percussion
- Billy Sherwood: guitars, vocals
- Igor Khoroshev: keyboards, percussion, vocals
This was the set list (albums on which the songs can be found in parenthesis):
- Prerecorded intro music: Ambient Track (Open Your Eyes)
- Rhythm of Love (Big Generator)
- Siberian Khatru (Close to the Edge)
- America (The New Age of Atlantic later rereleased on Yesterdays)
- Open Your Eyes (Open Your Eyes)
- And You and I (Close to the Edge)
- Heart of the Sunrise (Fragile)
- Steve Howe Solo: Second Initial (Not Necessarily Acoustic)
- Steve Howe Solo: Masquerade (Union)
- Steve Howe Solo: Clap (The Yes Album)
- Leaves of Green (Tales from Topographic Oceans)
- Children of Light (Keys to Ascension)
- Igor Khoroshev Solo
- Long Distance Runaround (Fragile)
- Whitefish (9012Live: the Solos)
- Owner of a Lonely Heart (90125)
- Soon (Relayer)
- Happy Birthday to Jon Anderson!
- The Revealing Science of God (Tales from Topographic Oceans)
- I’ve Seen All Good People (The Yes Album)
- Encore: Roundabout (Fragile)
- Encore: Starship Trooper (The Yes Album)
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!!!!