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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?

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6 thoughts on “Yes Concert Reviews: 12/12/99, Tower Theater, Upper Darby

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