Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
I was a huge fan of Yes from their early days right up to Relayer, when we went our separate ways. There were three reasons for this separation; they started to get a bit more commercial, I moved to London and discovered punk, and they stopped the Roger Dean album covers. I still enjoy their early music, however, and have kept half an eye (and ear) on what they’ve been doing over the years.
I never felt that the recent/current incarnation of Yes reflected the band I remember, particularly because Jon Anderson was no longer with them. I try and avoid seeing bands that I remember fondly from their prime, because I know I will probably be disappointed. But when ARW announced a tour I thought that it would be worth a look to see how two of the key early players were shaping up.
I was disappointed. Inevitable, I suppose, as they played a lot of the stuff I loved, but some later tracks, particularly those from the Trevor Rabin Yes albums. The big plus for me was hearing Jon Anderson’s voice again. It’s almost as good as it was in his prime and he hit all the high notes with no problem (particularly on Heart of the Sunrise, which was superb). Most of the audience clearly disagreed with me as the applause was ecstatic at the end. Oh, and there was a drum solo and two bass solos.
About 90% of the audience were men. The majority of these were middle-aged, with very little hair, wearing black Yes tour t-shirts and most of them were clearly strangers to the gym (rather like yours truly, in fact). Most women in the audience seemed to be Yes fans, although one, the current Mrs W who came to keep me company, hated it (this makes up for the times I have been dragged to see Bob Dylan play with his back to the audience). I saw nobody under 40.
It made me think..
I thought the drum solo had disappeared long ago. If I never hear another drum solo I will die a happier man.