Photos By Brandon Weight, Review By Jade Salazar
There is a reason the band Yes has been going strong for the last 45 years and last Wednesday, we saw exactly why. As I walked into the stunningly beautiful Warner Theatre, it was hard not to be overwhelmed with a sense of excitement and community. Yes has garnered many loyal fans over the years. Whether they were veterans who had been to countless concerts or new faces who were seeing them for the first time, the hall was a buzz with countless conversations about how outstanding this show was sure to be.
During BYT’s interview with Chris Squire, he assured us that this would be a great Yes performance and we would not be disappointed. I took my seat, a great seat by the way (thank you), but did not sit for long since the show began with a standing ovation from the crowd. This was something I would get used to very quickly since basically every song ended with one. The Three Album Tour, in which the band plays three of their milestone albums in their entirety, back to back, has gained fast popularity. Playing an entire album on stage is something Yes has not even attempted since 1973.
The evening began with the band’s 5th studio album, Close to The Edge. This 1972 release has merely 3 songs, but in true Yes fashion, lasted 40 minutes. The track “Close to The Edge,” taking up 20 of those minutes, originally stretched the length of one entire side of their vinyl release. Even in the first song, you could easily see how well new singer, Jon Davison, meshes into the band. The song came to an end with another standing ovation before guitarist Steve Howe began to play “You and I.” This crowd favorite began with a couple shouts from the audience including a “Go Steve!” and another fan simply yelling, “SHOWTIME!”. The first album ended with “Siberian Khatru” and once again, standing cheers from the crowd.
Next up was their 8th studio album, Going for The One. Slightly longer and released in 1977, the album’s five ethereal tracks gave us a chance to really sit back and watch the visual display of the show. Aside from the light show on stage and at times, even on the ceiling, there was also a screen behind the band flashing artwork that made me feel like I was back in college, watching a souped-up version of the visualizer on my computer screen. Visuals not only included versions of the album art, in this case a naked man staring at a sea of buildings, but also things like a woman’s lips, a swimming turtle, hands holding, a dove flying in the night’s sky, the Milky Way and even a Mandelbrot Set or two. This album’s performance really took off during “Awaken” when Chris Squire left the stage and came back with his famous triple-neck bass guitar. The crowd cheered loud and countless fans took turns running down and kneeling in the aisle to take pictures.
After the intermission, they returned to stage to perform The Yes Album. The band’s 3rd studio album, released in 1971, is considered to be the band’s breakthrough album. After starting off with “Yours is No Disgrace,” the performance turned to Howe’s solo for the song “Clap,” which naturally the entire crowd happily clapped along to. Next up was “Starship Trooper” upon which the audience basically began to freak out. Fans danced along to visuals of satellites and flowers, especially one guy in the balcony. The song came to a close with Squire’s bass riff that will give anyone goosebumps and the crowd stood and cheered for even longer than usual. If that did not get fans on their feet, the next song sure did. “I’ve Seen All Good People” had people singing and clapping along during the whole performance but it was during the breakdown that even the fans that were a little too self-conscious to dance before said, “Screw it” and jumped The three albums came to a close with just a couple more songs and as the crowd assumed things were winding down, two large cannons shot confetti high into the air, covering the audience like a ticker tape parade.
The performance ended with a standing ovation and cheers that did not stop until the band came back on stage to play their encore performance of “Roundabout,” probably their most notable song and one that is at least in every fan’s top 3. The performance ended with band introductions, including keyboardist Geoff Downes and drummer Alan White, that even though were in the back had still put on quite a show. Davison ran around the front of the stage shaking hands and the whole crew got together for a final bow as fans threw confetti into the air.
All in all, I can say that this performance was definitely one of my favorites of any show and I cannot wait to hear the new album with Davison’s contribution and vocals. The next time Yes comes back our way, make sure to grab a ticket and prepare yourself for one hell of a show.