Yes Newcastle City Hall 3rd May 2014

Yes Newcastle City Hall 3rd May 2014
yestixYes are back touring the UK again, performing three of their most popular albums in their entirety: The Yes Album, Close to the Edge, and Going for the One. The current Yes line-up consists of founder, and only surviving original member, Chris Squire on bass; guitarist Steve Howe from the classic Yes line-up; long-time drummer and local lad Alan White drums, more recent returnee Geoff Downes from the 80s line-up keyboards, and new singer Jon Davison. It was good to go along knowing that I would be hearing classic songs such as “Yours is No Disgrace,” “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “Starship Trooper,” “Close to the Edge,” “And You And I,” “Going for the One,” and “Wonderous Stories.
“We performed these three albums in their entirety on our North and South American tours, and the fans absolutely loved it,” says Yes guitarist, Steve Howe. “Fans did indeed love it,” states Yes co-founder and bassist, Chris Squire, “and so did we. Plus, we’ll be performing pieces we’ve rarely played live. In fact, I believe the one song we never performed in concert before our three-album tours is ‘A Venture’ from The Yes Album.” Alan White goes on to say, “As with our three-album North and South American tours, this is a great opportunity to share with our European fans the growth of Yes throughout different eras, and to revisit the great memories of those times, as well as create brand new ones. We’re looking forward to touring Europe, performing these albums, and most of all, meeting our wonderful fans. It’s great fun for us, and we think our fans throughout Europe will love the performance as well.”
yesIt’s 45 years since I first saw Yes, and 43 years since I first saw them perform The Yes Album, which was also at a concert in the City Hall, when they supported Iron Butterfly. I wasn’t sure what to expect last night, particularly with another new singer in the band. What we got were excellent versions of all the songs. The new singer fits into the band perfectly. His vocals are spot-on and very close to Jon Anderson’s original recordings, and his performance, vibe and stage presence just seemed to fit with the feel of the band. It took me some time to get used to seeing the last guy they had singing, but this vocalist just seemed “right” from the first few bars of “Close to the Edge”. Of course, I will still prefer to see the return of Jon Anderson, but if that isn’t going to happen, you couldn’t get any better than this Jon as a replacement. But the star of the show last night was, without question Steve Howe, who played as well as I have ever seen him do, and was more animated than I have seen him for many years. The rest of the band all played faultlessly, and Chris Squire plays the role of senior member to precision, making most of the announcements and prowling around the right hand side of the stage. Each album and each song was announced on the screen at the rear of the stage, and the performance was augmented by a neat of set of visuals which included pictures, posters and tickets from “back in the day”. Similarly the tour programme is littered with images of memorabilia from early 70s tours, many of which I recognise. The programme also include the “Fragile” album, which must have featured in some of the US shows. The City Hall was pretty full last night, I would estimate that it would at about 90% capacity, and the crowd clearly enjoyed the show, giving Yes one of the best receptions they have had in Newcastle for many years.
An excellent concert from a band that just keeps on going, and who are as excellent musically today as they ever were.
Set 1. Close to the Edge: Close to the Edge; And You and I; Siberian Khatru. Going For The One: Going for the One; Turn of the Century; Parallels; Wonderous Stories; Awaken.
Interval.
Set 2. The Yes Album: Yours Is No Disgrace; Clap; Starship Trooper; I’ve Seen All Good People; A Venture; Perpetual Change.
Encore: Roundabout.

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10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on May 4, 2014 at 9:37 am

    I was there. I thought the concert got off to a storming start with the Close To The Edge tracks but then dipped considerably during the Going For The One album – not a particularly strong Yes album anyway – and certainly not in the same league as the other two albums they played – or Fragile, Topographic Oceans, Relayer…..

    Steve Howe appeared to have an issue with his guitar throughout the GFTO songs and was clearly heard berating his guitar roadie at one point – although I agree with you that Howe was the star of the show throughout.

    The Yes Album has always been one of my all time favourites but I thought that most of the tracks were played half heartedly – apart from a great Perpetual Change to finish off with.

    Howe was Mr.Angry again during Starship Trooper when the song was interrupted for a few seconds by radio interference of a passing taxi driver taking a booking!

    7/10 for me.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on May 4, 2014 at 9:40 am

      I agree Mitch, yes Going for the One was never one of my favourite Yes albums. I also noticed Steve Howe getting frustrated with his pedal and shouting at the roadie a few times. Not sure I would like his job 🙂 Cheers Peter

      Reply

  2. Posted by David on May 4, 2014 at 9:53 am

    I saw the show in Glasgow on Friday night and last year in Florida. I though the sound in Glasgow was strange kind of stripped back – you could hear all the instruments clearly but there was something missing…maybe it was the keyboards… Downes is not Wakeman 🙂 Singer was great. Howe amazing worth the ticket price alone 🙂
    PS I love Going for the One 🙂

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on May 4, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Now you say it; I know what you mean. The last few times I have seen Yes, I have thought that Yours is no Disgrace lacks some of the power that it has in the 70s. I can’t put my finger on it, but that song in particular doesn’t sound the same these days as it did back in the day. Cheers Peter

      Reply

  3. Posted by davidx66 on May 5, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I debated greatly over getting tickets for this, and in the end chose not to. So it is good to read your review, but I’m still not sure if I made the right choice or not 🙂

    I went to Glasgow two (?) years ago to see their other new singer, and though I couldn’t fault his voice I felt something missing, and the concert didn’t connect with me emotionally. I have a feeling it would have been the same at this gig.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on May 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      I know what you mean. I saw Yes twice with the last guy, and it didn’t seem quite right. But this time I enjoyed the concert much more. Maybe it is just that I am getting used to seeing Yes without Jon Anderson, but I also think this new guy seems to sit better with the Yes ethos, and seems more comfortable with the other members. Of course it can never be the same, but it is definitely the best time I have seen them in recent years. Cheers Peter

      Reply

  4. Posted by softshoebanana on May 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Saw the Glasgow show and thought the new singer was better than the previous one.
    The only gripe I have was that I would’ve preferred to have heard Relayer than the Yes album ( sacrilege I know, but we’ve heard the Yes album, with the exception of A Venture, many times before ), maybe next time lol.
    Think the show would’ve flowed better if it had been performed by release date, Awaken would’ve been a fantastic ending, GFTO has always been one of my faves.
    CTTE was fantastic always a treat to hear.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on May 13, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      I agree , I would have preferred The Yes Album first
      Yours is no Disgrace is a great opener Cheers Peter

      Reply

  5. Posted by Stuart Alexander on May 23, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Hi, saw the Manchester show, singer was a lot better than i had expected. This 3 album tour was a great idea.

    Reply

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