Saturday, February 20, 2010

Yes - February 15 - Warner Theatre

This show was scheduled for Saturday 2/6, but the Snowmageddon pushed it back to Monday 2/15. Yes was such an iconic band in the early 1970's, they were far and away the most popular "progressive rock" band. Now forty years later they're still doing the same thing, but the line up has changed slightly. Lead singer Jon Anderson is sidelined with health problems and is replaced by Canadian Benoit David. Benoit made a name for himself in Yes cover bands and was drafted into the real band when Jon went down. Also keyboard maestro Rick Wakemen has been replaced by his son, Oliver. I don't know why Rick is retired, maybe he just doesn't care anymore.

But original band members, Chris Squire (bass/vocals), Alan White (drums), and Steve Howe (guitar/vocals) are still kicking out the progressive rock classic jams and they look like they're having more fun than ever. We had some great seats, in the first couple of rows, directly in front of guitar virtuoso Steve Howe. Steve Howe looks like one of those guys you see sitting in the lobby of an assisted living facility, but when he straps on that Gibson guitar he is simply amazing. Chris Squire is full of energy and approaches each song with utmost enthusiasm.
And the band performed all of their big hits from the heyday, starting with "Siberian Khatru" (someone in the audience yelled "Welcome to Siberia!" with 2 feet of snow outside) and they whipped through "I've Seen All Good People", "Your is No Disgrace", "Heart of the Sunrise", and "And You and I". Each song was close to the studio version, but did include extended solo's for everyone (except Wakeman for some reason). They also did a wonderful version of "Machine Messiah", a song from the Drama album that I'm not very familiar with, but this might have been the musical highlight. Steve Howe played two songs solo acoustic that were just marvelous. And of course they did "Roundabout" for an encore.
The audience was all old guys and a few wives (including the Bird, who is a big Yes fan). The Boy was there as part of his Continuing Music Education. In January we saw Dweezil Zappa play his tribute to his father's music, then we saw the Furthur show, which is a tribute to the Grateful Dead with a couple of original members and several younger players, then Yes with three original members and two youngsters filling in. I'm a little tired of "recreating" musical experiences from decades past and ready for some young musicians playing some new music. Bring on the festival season!

 The Boy, Greg Barnes, myself, the Bird

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