Philadelphia Yesday: Photos and Story
This post is part of my Yes series of posts, which you can see here.
In 2002 Yes’ classic line up, consisting of Jon Anderson (lead vocals, percussion, guitar, harp), Steve Howe (guitars, backing vocals),Chris Squire (bass guitars, backing vocals), Alan White (drums, percussion), and Rick Wakeman (keyboards) reunited and toured extensively, beginning with their Full Circle Tour. I had an opportunity to see them play during this tour at Tweeter Center (currently known as the Susquehanna Bank Center) in Camden, New Jersey on August 8, 2002. I reviewed the August 8, 2002 show in another post which you can read here. You can also read more about this show here.
This show, and tour, was the first time I ever saw the “classic” Yes line up play live and seeing them was a great moment in my Yes fandom (you can read more about that here). What made the August 8, 2002 show even more special for me, aside from being my first time seeing the classic Yes play live, was that it also coincided with an event called “Philadelphia Yes Day.”
The main hub of Yes fandom in the United States is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Camden, New Jersey, is directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia and is part of Philadelphia’s “metro area”). On August 7, 2002, to commemorate Yes having sold out more shows than any other musical artist in Philadelphia up to that time and having such a large and loyal fanbase here, then Philadelphia Mayor John Street held a proclamation ceremony within an historic conference room in Philadelphia City Hall, which was captured by the local news on NBC10, and, after incredibly claiming to be a Yes fan, officially announced August 8 to be City Yes Day.
Local radio personality Michael Smerconish served as the master of ceremonies and, after delivering a speech that was filled with Yes song and album references, introduced the band and the Mayor to the lectern. The band, and Jane Anderson (Jon’s wife), entered through a side door and passed right by me, only a few feet away! The band was very gracious and seemed to enjoy all the hoopla. Needless to say, the audience made their love for the band known with deafening cheers, large signs and banners, and packing out the room to the fire code limits. 102.9 WMGK, the local classic rock station, was also on hand. It was fun and it is always very exciting when one’s favorite celebrities are seen in person, much less only a few feet away in a relatively small room! I was hoping for an impromptu acoustic performance from the band, but alas that was not to be the case. The band did not do much else aside from several “thank yous,” smiles for cameras, and hand shakes. Outside City Hall, the band’s stretch limousine was parked.
As I said, NBC10 was on hand to memorialize the event and a report from the same appeared on the evening news of that day as reported by Tim Lake who called Mayor Street a “Yes-man.” I captured the news report on a VHS recording but I do not have the ability to convert it to something viewable on a computer. As an exciting note for me, my right arm and shirt sleeve are visible on the television footage; I am famous! Or at least my arm is.
As a side note, in my post regarding the August 8, 2002 show (see here), I recounted a story about being quickly ushered out of the backstage area by a guy with large “80’s hair.” After looking at the photographs I took of the event, posted below, I think the guy in the blue coat and the buttoned up shirt right behind Wakeman in the photograph right before the limo photo below is that guy!
I took some photographs of the event which you can see below: