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Members Of The Band:
Jon Anderson (Vocals and Guitar)
Steve Howe (Guitar and Vocals)
Trevor Rabin (Guitar and Vocals)
Chris Squire (Bass and Vocals)
Rick Wakeman (Keyboards)
Tony Kaye (Keyboards)
Bill Bruford (Drums)
Alan White (Drums)
Comments: As I recall this was in the Sky Bowl configuration of The Skydome… Rhonda, Dave and I had some pretty decent floor seats for this show. Considering the fact that the three of us had been to see Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe the previous summer it seemed only right that we should go see this reconstituted and reinvigorated version of Yes on steroids. This “Union” came about when ABWH entered the studio to record their followup record around the same time the Chris Squire led Yes entered the studio. Record company pressure came to bear for an amalgamation which the two factions ultimately acquiesced to, leading to this one off configuration of the prog rock giants. The results, at least live, were hit and miss.
I must admit right now that I half expected all of those egos on one stage to spend more time stumbling all over each other than actually making good, coherent music together. On that point I was, gladly, mistaken. If anything, the musicians seemed to go out of their individual ways to say a musical “after you” than hog too much of the spotlight. All except Tevor Rabin who, to my way of thinking, seemed personally put out by the proceedings. But maybe that was just me.
The miss part of the equation came via the fact that, with seven instrumentalists the largely interminable practice of solos was magnified seven fold. Well, not quite. Steve Howe’s solo was comprised of two of his much loved instrumental acoustic pieces and the two drummers decided on a duet format of Bill Bruford on electronic drums and Alan White on a more traditional kit. You know, thinking back, none of the solos really lacked in musicality. Even Chris Squire’s Bass solo was entertaining (as entertaining as a Bass solo can ever be without a Jack Daniels shaped guitar or spitting up blood all over the damned place). My problem was, all the solos combined probably took up the better part of 30 minutes from the 2 1/2 hour show. How many more songs might have been played during that 30 minute span. Your right, this was Yes after all so probably only 2 or 3. But we might have been treated to Starship Trooper and or Close To The Edge in their stead. Oh well, what ‘choo gonna do.
On a side note, I was actually floored when partaking of a favorite pre concert ritual that I used to engage in back in the day; namely What song are they going to open with? I say used to because with the explosion of the inter-web it has become nigh on impossible not to have any given bands set list just a couple of mouse clicks away. Believe me, I’ve tried to resist the lure of checking a group’s set list prior to seeing them in person. If this rendezvous is close to the beginning of the tour then refraining from checking is a hell of a lot easier than if I won’t be seeing them until the middle or, horror of horrors, the end of the tour. If that’s the case then I am much to weak.
1991 was still early enough that real and true effort would need to have been expended to find out the set list for any given band. So, when I ponied up my favorite pre-concert ritual I honestly had no idea what song Yes would open with. To me, Yours Is No Disgrace always seemed like a classic opening number. Dave kept on telling me that I was wrong, but wouldn’t tell me his pick. When the lights dimmed and the taped strains of Igor Stravinksy’s Firebird Suite emanated from the PA system he turned to me a crowed smugly “Everyone who knows anything about Yes knows they always open with Firebird Suite.”
Of course, as a fan, I knew this. I had been referring to the first song the band would actually play. I mean, for years Rush would open with a taped intro of the Three Stoogies theme song. But, to my way of thinking, that wasn’t the first song of the set. Am I wrong in this line of thought? I mean, Dave was an intelligent enough guy. Do you really think I needed to be that specific in my First Song Played game?
You know, maybe it’s just time I got over this whole issue and moved on. What do you think?