Well, we saw Yes last night at the Garden, and it was really a mixed experience. The first set was hopelessly lost in the sound mix, with the overall quality being muffled and somewhat quiet. It’s as though the band’s PA just couldn’t hack the Garden. Fortunately, this was fixed by the time the second set got going, but it ended up being enough to put a damper on the evening.
The band this time around is Jon Anderson on vocals, Steve Howe on guitar, Rick Wakeman as the Wizard of Keyboards, Chris Squire on bass, and Alan White on drums. Everyone was spectacular at times, with Howe, Wakeman and Squire dominating for me.
Here’s a rough set-list, cobbled together from several sites:
Firebird Suite <-- anyone who knows Yesshows knows this one. Going for the One <-- an okay rendition, lost in the muddled mix. Sweet Dreams <-- I don't remember this, to be honest. I’ve Seen All Good People <-- in the five times I've seen the band, the worst rendition yet. Again with the mix. Mind Drive (part 1) segues into South Side of the Sky <-- this kicked ass. I don't know Mind Drive, but it was pretty fierce. Howe and Wakeman tore up the place in South Side.
Turn of the Century <-- fair, at best. Footprints (brief extract), Mind Drive (part 2-final movement) <-- good stuff, again. Yours is No Disgrace <-- Not a bad version, and Howe kicked ass on the guitar. My big beef of the first set was that Squire's bass was barely audible. Wakeman and Howe were definitely clear, but I just couldn't get enough of Chris's sound. 15 min. intermission acoustic set: Wakeman solo (inc. "Madrigal" extract)/"The Meeting" <-- I love The Meeting, which is an Anderson/Wakeman duet. It came from the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe album from the late 80’s, and it’s a sweet, atmospheric love song. Rick’s piano was great.
Long Distance Runaround (starting with even briefer “Footprints” reprise) <-- interesting song to do acoustically. I was quite pleased with the song, and the acoustic stuff, overall. Time is Time <-- honestly, I don't remember this one. Wonderous Stories <-- beautiful. I've always loved Anderson's vocals on this one, and he was in fine form last night. Roundabout <-- the revelation of the night -- Wakeman and Howe playing the band's signature song as an acoustic blues number. Loved it. Nine Voices <-- they played this? Okay, if they say so. Owner of a Lonely Heart <-- I liked this, although Kim hates the song, period. It was fascinating watching Howe and Wakeman play this and Rhythm of Love, two songs they never had a part in. Kim calls this the band’s “No Period.”
Show Me <-- not bad, from what I recall. (Howe acoustic solo) <-- It's Steve Howe, it's acoustic -- what's not to love? back to electric: Rhythm of Love <-- why? Seriously, I hate this one. Anderson ran around the arena like Rod Stewart. Ugh. And You and I <-- ahh, now this was good. Too bad the fuckheads around us wouldn't shut up, causing us to completely miss Howe's twelve-string sections. Grrr. Ritual <-- Chris Squire blows the house down on this one. A highlight was a five or so minute long drum solo with Anderson, White and Squire all banging away. Well, John tapped his cymbals. Lightly. encore: The encore was . . . different. Anderson's new age spiritual advisor was in the crowd, and he brought her up on the stage, where she proceeded to pray -- and then sing/chant -- for about five minutes. Not exactly the right thing to do at the Garden. The crowd started booing, and the people behind us began a "Let's go Yankees!" chant which was much more interesting. I felt embarrassed for Anderson, but he always does this shit. I remember the Big Generator tour, where he introduced a song he claimed had been sent to him from the Pleaides. You expect this silly shit from Jon, and he often serves it up for you.
Soon <-- Too quiet for an encore. Starship Trooper <-- this blew the house apart again. Everyone had their moment in the sun, and it was a perfect way to end the night. On the whole, as Yes concerts go, it was middling. When we saw them in '99 at the Beacon, they kicked ass, even if Wakeman wasn't around. I think the sound really did make it hard to enjoy the night completely. However, the Roger Dean set was amazing (it was an inflatable set), and it got better as the night went on. On a scale of 1 - 10, I'd rate it a 6. Wakeman gets a 10, though, Howe a 9, and Squire a 9 as well.