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Live In Milwaukee, November 13, 1999

Review by Gary Hill

This band just keeps getting better. Yes gave a wonderful performance on a Saturday night in Milwaukee. The stage show, featuring a screen behind the band that most of the night featured computer graphics, rivaled the light shows of Hawkwind. Every member of the band gave a stellar performance. Highlights of the show included The Ladder's "Homeworld", "Awaken" and a powerful rendition of "Hearts". The latter showed just what this lineup can do with a Trevor era song. The arrangement was very dramatic and potent. It featured both slide guitar from Steve Howe and a downright metal segment from Billy Sherwood. The only other songs from that era were the instrumental "Cinema" (with only Squire, White, Khoroshev and Sherwood on the stage) and the obligatory "Owner of a Lonely Heart". Missing from this tour were the individual solos from each band member. Several people have commented that they would have like them to be in the show. From this reviewer's point of view, though, leaving them out left more time for actual Yessongs. Those songs really were an interesting mix, covering a wide span of the band's career. They went as far back as the title track to "Time and A Word". The Ladder was quite well represented with quite a few cuts from that album being played. The new material really comes off very well onstage, at times overshadowing the CD versions.

Jon Anderson commented early on that he had the flu and his voice was not up to par. The problem could be heard in his speaking voice, but his singing was nearly flawless. His stage banter and presence served to make the audience feel part of the show. He also showed his sense of humor on several occasions.
Chris Squire played the best I have ever seen him play, running his hands up and down the fretboard at times. He seemed to genuinely enjoy himself, clowning around and showing off for the audience. The highlight of his performance was probably the three neck bass performance on "Awaken".
Always solid and dependable, Alan White also delivered a strong performance. The only complaint here is that the in-the-round format is so much better for seeing the drummer. The band should consider doing that type of tour again in the near future.
The maestro, Steve Howe, ripped through the performance with a precision, taste and technique unlike anyone else. He used a wide variety of guitars from Les Paul to Steinberger, to slide to acoustic and everything in between. The man proves once again that he is arguably the best guitarist in the business. Igor Khoroshev filled the rather large shoes of all of his predecessors quite well. He had the right keyboard sounds and the right riffs to make the performance really work. He also showed, on occasion, a strong sense of humor and good stage presence. This was difficult to do from his position at the back of the stage. The fact that he managed to accomplish it at all from there is a true compliment.

Billy Sherwood still has a bit of the look of a kid in a candy store on stage with this band. It really seems like he is still a bit in awe of the whole situation. This is not at all a bad thing. He showed on this night that he can certainly pull his weight. His backing guitar work creates a full sound for the band, while he pulls a nice metal edge in during certain solos. As an added bonus, Billy showed that he could do a very good job of singing like Trevor Rabin on "Hearts".

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 6 at

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