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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews

Yes

Live in Chicago, Illinois, March, 2011

Review by Greg Olma

This is my first time seeing Yes with the Benoit David and Oliver Wakeman line-up.  I have heard both good and bad things about their performances so when I saw the show, I didn’t know what to expect.  The only thing that I did know was that I was going to finally see a version of Yes playing songs from the under-rated Drama album.  Since it’s rumored that Jon Anderson is unwilling to sing anything from that record, it was going to take a change in vocalists to get that done.  Was it worth it?  Well, that depends on if you are a Yes purist or if you are willing to look past the “it’s not the original band” argument and just enjoy the music. I fall in the latter category.  Like Journey, Yes have found themselves a perfect replacement.  That being said, David did struggle to reach some notes on the second of a two-night stint in Chicago at the House of Blues.  The place was really crowded with mostly die-hard fans who knew all the lyrics and subtle nuances of every song.

The band opened up the show with the rarely played “Parallels” from Going For The One.  I was pleasantly surprised that they followed it up with “Tempus Fugit.”  As I mentioned earlier, Drama is an under-appreciated classic and I think people are starting to finally realize that.  The set list contained many of the “staples” that are in most Yes shows.  “Yours Is No Disgrace,” “Starship Trooper,” and encore “Roundabout” are songs that you will get at almost all Yes concerts but it seems that the injection of new blood has breathed a little life into those tunes.  Not only did the performances seem a little fresher, the band looked like they were really enjoying themselves.  The interaction between the players gave way to smiles from not only the audience but the band as well.


Greg Olma
     

Although Yes had to play certain songs, they still managed to throw in a few deep cuts in there in the form of “Soon,” “South Side Of The Sky,” and “Machine Messiah;” the last one being pretty darn heavy and evil sounding.  They even played the whole title track of “Close To The Edge.” If I had to make one change it would have to be the omission of “Owner Of A Lonely Heart.” Although the band played it well (and the crowd seemed to enjoy it), Steve Howe looked as though he really didn’t want to perform the song.  He also tried to put too much of his style into something that Trevor Rabin made perfect.  That minor quibble aside, Yes is a band reborn.  They played with passion and their performance was outstanding.  If you can look past the fact that Anderson is no longer fronting the band, you will realize that this version of Yes has a lot to offer.  Now all we have to see is what they can produce on record.

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Greg Olma
     
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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