I posted this review of the show at Leicester's DeMontfort Hall given Tuesday May 6, 2014 elsewhere. As I used to post here, and hadn't realised until the other day that Yestalk was back and breathing, I thought you might like to read it, or perhaps not.......
Good afternoon everyone,
Tuesday night's concert was my 28th Yes concert since my first in 1973, at this same venue.
I had not imagined nor dared to hope that they still had what it takes to deliver music of such potency after so long. I don't think they've played with that much controlled ferocity, energy and grace since the 1970s. Quite awesome. The core of the planet was humming beneath my feet!
I have felt over the last 15 years or so that there were signs that the band was beginning to wind down, the years were taking their toll, and occasionally the performances were becoming a little perfunctory, and I was certainly reading comments from all over about slow tempi and missed cues at various shows across the globe.
Not so on this tour, if the show at DeMontfort Hall is at all representative. Maybe the new, young, singer has had something to do with their revitalisation; his voice is an extraordinary instrument: top notes as rich and ringing as the lower, no strain, perfect intonation, genuinely a member of the band, happy to be there, and the others happy to have him.
All of the reviews I've seen have commented in a similar vein about how they seem rejuvenated. I haven't heard them burn like this since the 70s! Possibly not having Wakeman along also helped. He did tend to over-embellish too often, and stretch things out. Geoff Downes, just as able and proficient, knows when to shut up. Consequently, they are tight, concise, nimble and, at times, frighteningly potent, and can turn and swing effortlessly. Tempos are up too, and the music has room to move and breathe.
I would go further, and this would count as heresy for many Yesfans: they have become a better band without Jon Anderson. Sometimes a team has to ditch a star player to become a more cohesive unit, and move on. I'm optimistic now that they can still create music to stand alongside their best, past, work.
"age shall not wither them, nor stale their infinite variety", to paraphrase Shakespeare!
I expect to receive brickbats for saying so, although I suspect many will have thought it. It's slightly ironic that Jon Anderson has perhaps become a victim of the 'revolving door' policy he instigated at the band's beginning; if people have to be shed to make the band stronger, in order to progress, or survive, then his happens. That was what happened when Steve Howe came in for the third album, a make-or-break effort since Atlantic were going to drop them if it wasn't a success (thankfully, The Yes Album was a success, artistically and commercially). And likewise when Tony Kaye was dismissed in preference for Wakeman. Anderson used to get accused of 'lead-singer's' disease, of being rather dictatorial and stubborn in what he wanted the band to be. While it's all working it's fine; when it starts to get in the way, things have to change. Anyway, he's 70 this year, and healthwise he isn't up to performing and touring with a band. He's admitted as much. As with most things, I think he's fairly philosophical about how things have turned out.
Before the show, I arrived at the venue around 4.00, Steve wandered out onto the little veranda at the back of the hall to enjoy a cuppa and a roll-up in the spring sunshine. He seemed more relaxed and at ease with life than I've seen him in many a year. And given how he, and the whole band are playing, this seems very much to be the case.
A Joyous evening of Yesmusic. Can't wait for Heaven and Earth. I caught a glimpse of the former and heard the hum of the latter on Tuesday night!
All good wishes,