Royal Albert Hall
I bought the ticket for this gig on 10th October 2019. I had completely forgotten what a good seat I managed to get. The original tour was to feature the band’s Relayer album but, by the time the tour could finally take place, it was the 50th anniversary of Close To The Edge, so the band featured that instead.
CTTE is in my Top 5 albums of all time, by anyone. It is so important to me and I still play it regularly.
The show started with a quick chat from Roger Dean who introduced the band, and was ‘in the foyer’ signing his eye-wateringly priced works. I settled for a T-shirt instead.
The show began with a beautiful tribute to the band’s drummer, Alan White, who passed away 4 weeks ago. He had been ill for sometime and it had already been announced that he would not be on this tour. His able sub was Jay Schellen from Hurricane and Asia. The tribute was a lovely video played over Alan’s song, Turn of the Century.
The traditional Yes fanfare of The Firebird Suite heralded the arrival of Howe, Downes, Davison, Sherwood and Schellen who launched into On The Silent Wings of Freedom and Yours Is No Disgrace. The sound was excellent and the band were in great form, obviously enjoying the setlist selection which revealed a Richie Havens song next – No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed.
Towards the end of the first set, they even snuck in my two favourite songs from last year’s decent new album, Quest, The Ice Bridge and Dare To Know, before a tremendous Heart of the Sunrise.
The second half was CTTE, straight through. It was thrilling, daring, adventurous and exciting – everything it was when I was 16, in 1972. I shed a tear at And You And I and roared with the rest of the packed house at the end of Siberian Khatru.
Roundabout and Starship Trooper closed the show and the noise from the audience was deafening. I walked the mile back to where I had parked the car, grinning the whole way.
A bunch of well behaved people of my age who didn’t talk during the music, were respectful when taking photos and sang every word of CTTE.
It made me think..
I have loved Yes for 5/6ths of my life. Their music still has the power to thrill me, to transport me and to lift me up. It’s the songs, not who is or isn’t there. The songs, played like they were last night, like their lives depended on it, that deserve to be heard, in that beautiful setting.
No one will persuade me otherwise.