Hall 1, The Sage
I've been listening to YES for as long as I've had an interest in music. There's nothing quite like them � unique sound, stellar musicianship and, over the years, they've been more creative than most. Still, there's been the odd "twist and turn" (some very odd indeed), and these days is no exception, with classic-era YES members straddled across two touring bands, each playing the music of YES.
Both versions still attract a fair amount of attention, and truth be told I probably favour the other version because of the combination of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman (Trevor Rabin plays his part well�but then I prefer Steve Howe on lead and rhythm guitar duties).
Whilst not quite sold out, Hall 1 at The Sage is very nearly full of (All Good) people and brimming with anticipation�or at least brimming with as much anticipation as is feasible at our times of life.
Eight O'Clock prompt, lights down and in time honoured tradition Stravinsky's Firebird Suite leads us in (might have been a bit louder, but there you go). The stage set comprises of three video panels at the back of the stage, onto which YES related imagery is shown throughout. At the conclusion, the band take their positions and launch into "Yours Is No Disgrace".
Having seen the "other version" of the band last year, I'd forgotten just how good � and how important to the sound and feel of YES � Steve Howe is. Great touch, and those oh, so familiar tones and textures. His contribution alone made the evening worthwhile�takes me right back.
That said, there are no "passengers" in this band, and whilst Geoff Downes might remind me of Yegglier times (not my favourite, although accept some do like the Drama era) he puts in a cracking shift with enthusiasm.
Two sets. One of classic "hits", the second, largely dominated by a long swim on Topographic Oceans. Whilst well received, from listening to the comments on the way out it seemed to have been a bit of a Marmite moment for some, although the majority (me included) in favour.
Oddly (from a timing perspective), Alan White took to the drum stool half way through Ritual, and remained there for the rest of the show. Hasn't enjoyed the best of health of late (and it shows), but great to see him there in whatever capacity.
Two long "goodnight kisses" closed proceedings with encores consisting of stupendous versions of Roundabout and Starship Trooper (delicious work by Steve Howe on both).
Depending on your point of view, you can be left wishing for Anderson/Howe/Wakeman/White to�do something "together" for the half centenary, or else just be pleased to get bites of two YES cherries this year. As one doesn't seem to be on the cards, I recommend you do the latter, although if there were more of a reUNION, I'd for one would be trying to push my way to the front of the line for tickets.
01 The Firebird Suite
02 Yours Is No Disgrace
03 I've Seen All Good People
04 Sweet Dreams
05 South Side of the Sky
06 Mood for a Day
07 Wonderous Stories
09 And You and I
01 The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)
02 Leaves of Green
03 Ritual (Nous sommes du soleil)
04 Encore Break
06 Starship Trooper
Steve Howe: Guitar
Jon Davison: Vocals, guitar
Billy Sherwood: Bass, vocals
Geoff Downes: Keyboards, vocals
Jay Schellen: Drums
Alan White: Drums (mid-ritual onwards)
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