Yes Concert Review: 4/2/11
The line-up Yes fielded at this show was:
- Benoit David: lead vocals, percussion, guitar
- Steve Howe: guitars, backing vocals
- Chris Squire: bass guitars, backing vocals
- Alan White: drums, percussion
- Oliver Wakeman: keyboards
The set Yes played was (the album from which the song comes in parenthesis):
- Intro: Rite of Spring
- Parallels (Going for the One)
- Tempus Fugit (Drama)
- Yours is No Disgrace (The Yes Album)
- Steve Howe solo: To Be Over
- I’ve Seen All Good People (The Yes Album)
- Machine Messiah (Drama)
- Owner of a Lonely Heart (90125)
- Long Distance Runaround (Fragile)
- Whitefish (9012Live)
- Starship Trooper (The Yes Album)
- Encore: Roundabout (Fragile)
This was another Atlantic City casino show and I lodge the same complaints about this one as previous ones: the show was short and the audience was annoying, drunk, and composed of too many random (non-Yes-fan) gamblers from the casino.
This show was very awkward for the band in some ways. They were finishing their then latest album Fly From Here which came out a few months later but that album was done largely with Geoff Downes on keyboards who was soon to replace Oliver Wakeman. So, basically, Wakeman was performing on this tour knowing he was no longer a band member (though the formal announcement had not yet been made to the fans), having been let go rather suddenly and ignominiously (as historically seems to be Yes’ way of doing things), and was simply performing out of contractual obligation. Steve Howe descried this tour as a “mop up” tour, which had a negative impact on the fan base. Indeed, this tour was peculiar, possibly superfluous, as it came immediately off the heels of the In the Present Tour (which concluded three months prior) and concluded not two months before the start of the Fly From Here Tour. It seemed to be a strange sort of tour randomly and needless wedged into some free time the band had to play it. This all suggests that perhaps they had some contractual obligation to Wakeman to go on tour to finish his contract with the band; I just do not know.
This tour has a different name than the In the Present Tour, though it does not have any substantive difference from it. As this was a “mop up” tour, the set list was not really any different than the sets played over the last couple of years. I saw four shows from the In the Present Tour and the set list got quite tiresome, boring, and laborious a this point. I just don’t know why they did not shake things up by this point, except that they were just “mopping up.” The only highlight for me in the set list was “Parallels,” which was the first time I ever heard that song (I had the bad luck to have seen shows over the prior three years when they dropped it for some reason). It was great to hear, especially as the opener! I also do not want to sound like an ingrate. Even though “Tempus Fugit” and “Machine Messiah” had been a part of the set list for three years at this point, they are still extremely rare as, before 2008, they had not been played since 1980. I was also disappointed to hear Howe and Squire play solos at this show. The show was so short I just did not think solo spots were a good use of their time.
As if the above complaints were not enough, as I stated in my review of the show previous to this one (linked above), the band was clearly in decline by this point. The music was slow, David’s voice was weak and clearly suffering fatigue and wear and tear, Wakeman’s playing was boring, and the band seemed tired from over-touring. At this point, although I knew they had a new album coming out soon and was hoping that they would show themselves as still creative on it, this live unit was clearly showing signs of weakness, age, and wear and tear. Even their stage presentation was just a large screen. I sort of wrote off the previous show as a bad night, after this show I started to worry that the end was near. This is definitely a show I could have skipped.
The above seems rather gloomy, and probably deservedly so, but as a Yes fan I have to say that despite the reduced tempos and increasingly off-key singing by David, the band still played well as always, I always love their music, and I always feel fortunate to see them live.
Photographs: Enjoy the photographs I took at the show posted below!