October 10th, 2005
Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, UK
Jon Anderson Works In Progress Tour Of The Universe
A Jon Anderson solo concert is a very different animal to a Yes concert. I don't mean that in a na´ve way, but in the sense that though you may get some familiar songs they are often reworked and very different from the originals, and Jon himself seems much more relaxed and talkative than when playing with Yes. In between songs he would often explain the background to the next song, or give us a quick lesson in how his guitar/pedal set-up worked, or just occasionally go off on one of his frequent but always entertaining tangents.
It's also interesting to watch Jon in action as a musician. Jon would be the first to admit his musical abilities are limited - but he has an interesting guitar/midi pedal set-up which enables him to create various sounds with relative ease, and provide the necessary backing for his songs.
Tonight the set took in a lot of Jon's solo work, Vangelis collaborations, a few Yes classics and some new material. Solo favourites such as Richard, I'll Find My Way Home and State Of Independence were warmly received by the audience. What was interesting was Jon's reworking of Yes classics like Yours Is No Disgrace, And You And I and Soon. They were often quite different from the originals and may not be to everyone's taste, but then this is billed as a "work in progress" tour so I guess some experimentation and improvisation is to be expected.
At one point in the set Jon sang a reggae song, Lift Me Up. This had us all tapping our feet and dancing (as best we could) in our seats - Jon looked like he had a real feel for it and was definitely enjoying himself, as were the audience.
One of the most successful parts of the evening was when Jon performed a selection of Yes classics with just acoustic guitar, notably Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Nous Sommes Du Soleil and Wondrous Stories. These relatively straight, stripped down versions gave the audience a chance to indulge in an enjoyable sing-along session.
Of the newer material, Buddha Song, White Buffalo and Set Sail (incorporating lyrics from Close To The Edge and The Remembering) were very effective, the latter being played as a solo acoustic piano piece.
For the encores, perennial favourite Your Move had the audience once again singing along with Jon, and he left us with the Celtic flavoured O'er for the last song.
To my eyes, the venue looked to be not far off full, and I am sure that all but the most closed-minded of people went home with a smile on their face, having spent a couple of hours in the company of a wonderful entertainer.
Long Distance Runaround
Yours Is No Disgrace
Lift Me Up
I'll Find My Way Home
Set Sail/Close To The Edge/The Remembering
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
Nous Sommes Du Soleil
State Of Independence
Children Of Light
And You And I
Sound Out The Galleon
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