It was the first time locally that British band Yes played its breakthrough 1971 album "Fragile" from start-to-finish. The two-hour concert, at the
Fans in the sweaty 1,000-seat sold-out hall showered Yes with eight or so standing ovations, recognizing the band's virtuosity and historical significance.
Plus it felt good regularly getting up from those hard, wooden seats built in an era when comfort wasn't an issue.
Yes launched with the nearly-nine minute "Siberian Khatru," a prototypical prog-rock song with plenty of space for complex solos by keyboardist
Three decades later, Howe is still a master, eliciting guitar strokes and strums that enchanted without getting self-indulgent, as evidenced on the night's next selections, "And You and I" and the full-album side "Close to the Edge" title track, where he alternated between one guitar mounted on a stand and another still strapped around his neck. Peering out from his thick glasses, looking part
Downes did a nice job replicating while adding his own touches on flashy "Fragile" pieces composed by former keyboard ace
Though I recall Yes playing faster and harder in its
In particular, drummer
Having grown into a collective with more lineup changes than a pro sports team, the one essential component to Yes is a high-voiced singer with pinpoint control. They've got their man in 43-year-old
It was the best concert crowd I've seen all summer. Nobody gabbed during songs; they sat in rapt attention until it was time to rise in unison for a cheering ovation. Proudly wearing old Yes concert shirts, the mostly male and middle-aged crowd -- you'll get that with prog-rock -- responded favorably to two new songs tucked into the middle of the set. Both songs fit in well, especially "The Game," which was a fine vehicle for Davison's voice.
And while classic-rock staple "Roundabout" sounded splendid, a bigger treat was hearing deeper "Fragile" cuts like the heavy riffed, ambitiously arranged "
The encore brought the classic "I've Seen All Good People," with more stellar Howe strumming, and then Yes' lone chart-topper, the decisively more poppy "Owner of a Lonely Heart."
I'll bet most fans would have voted instead for the epic "Starship Trooper," which has been the show closer on prior tour stops.
Overall, a job well done, though, by one of prog-rock's all-time best.
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