Sunday, 11th November 2008
Hershey Theatre, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
Article By David Wimmer
Of course, the big question on everybodyís mind regarding this tour is, "how would Yes fare without Jon Anderson?".
The answer is, "Just fine, thank you very much".
I invited two Yes fans I know, my brother and a friend of mine, to go to this show with me and they both said no because they donít want to "pay good money to see Yes karaoke".
Well, Iíve seen Yes around fifteen times and I can say that they certainly missed out because this was one of the best Yes shows I have been to.
Benoit David did an excellent job on the vocals and, as you can see from the set list below, there were quite a few great songs that Yes hasnít played live in a long, long time.
My only criticism was that Rick Wakemanís absence was felt, his son Oliver Wakeman seemed to be the weakest link of this lineup.
Oliver made many mistakes throughout the show, most notably during Heart of the Sunrise, and his playing seems somewhat tentative.
To his credit however, he did nail the big solo in Close to the Edge.
Iím seeing this tour again one week from now in Reading Pennsylvania, I will be interested in seeing if his playing has improved.
The show took place at a small theater a stoneís throw from the Hershey chocolate factory, and I must say that it is one of the nicest concert venues I have ever been to.
The acoustics were excellent.
Unfortunately there were many empty seats, probably because the U.S. is experiencing such a bad economic time and the band charged over $100 for the seats up close.
Because of the empty seats up front the ushers were letting people trade in their tickets for closer seats,
but I chose to hang onto mine as I had a seat in the front row of the balcony so I could see and hear everything really well (and it was also very close to the bar and the restroom).
As soon as the first notes of Stravinskyís Firebird Suite started playing I experienced a rush of emotion, as I wasnít sure if Iíd ever see the band live again because of the long touring hiatus.
Iím not going to relate a track by track description of the show, but I will mention things that stood out to me.
I am only thirty two years old and I first saw Yes during the Talk tour in 1994, so seeing songs from the Drama album was a dream come true for me.
The band slightly altered Machine Messiah by playing the section at the end in a more mellow way. The Drama songs were the highlight of the entire show for me.
Benoit David said that he fell in love with Onward when he first listened to the Tormato album, and the song was his "special request" on the tour.
I enjoyed seeing it live for the first time.
Astral Traveler was another highlight for me, as this has always been my favorite song from the Peter Banks era.
Steve Howe introduced the song by telling a story about how he had to learn the entire Time & a Word album in a short period of time.
An interesting song from the second set was Aliens, sung by Chris Squire.
I never heard this song before but I enjoyed it, the sci-fi lyrics reminded me of Hawkwind.
Something humorous occurred toward the end of the second set when Chris Squire announced that the band would end the show with Starship Trooper, but then he noticed that Alan was not on stage!
Steve Howe reminded him that they were doing Soon next, and Chris apologized to the audience saying that he was confused because the band had been changing the set around.
I enjoyed Soon but the impact of it was reduced because everybody thought they were going to hear Starship Trooper.
To me the piece is more powerful when itís included with the entirety of Gates of Delirium,
it loses something when performed by itself.
During Starship Trooper Benoit had slight difficulty with some of the vocals and he looked over at Chris, but Chris made a gesture that essentially meant "donít worry about it".
This made me think that this lineup must have good camaraderie.
Something else worth noting about this show are the lights, this show possibly had the best use of lights I have ever seen at a concert.
During parts of Close to the Edge the entire theater was bathing in blue light that made me feel like I was under water. The use of colors and the style of lighting fit the lyrics and the music perfectly.
Overall, I would highly recommend seeing this tour if you get a chance. Benoit David did a wonderful job with the vocals and the guys seemed to be genuinely having fun on stage.
As a die hard Yes fan I get a little tired of hearing the same old songs performed over and over again, especially Owner of a Lonely Heart, so hearing five songs performed live for the first time was quite a treat.
Your Move/Iíve Seen All Good People
Heart of the Sunrise
Astral Traveler (including Alan White Drum Solo)
Close to the Edge
And You and I
Steve Howe Solo
Owner of a Lonely Heart
Long Distance Runaround
Aliens (Are Only Us From the Future)
Yes Official Website