Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Yes - Sheffield City Hall

After releasing their first album of new material for 10 years in July this year (my review here), Yes are currently touring Europe and tonight was the second concert on the British leg of the tour.

The concert was approximately 2¼ hours long, with no interval and no support.

Set List:
Yours Is No Disgrace
Tempus Fugit
I've Seen All Good People
Life On A Film Set
And You & I
Steve Howe Solo Set:
     Solitaire
     Second Initial
Fly From Here
Wondrous Stories
Into The Storm
Machine Messiah
Starship Trooper
Encore:
     Roundabout
Staging, lighting and sound were all, on the whole, excellent. There were one or two minor technical hitches, but nothing to detract from the music, which was played to the very high standard of musicianship that fans have come to expect from these guys. Geoff Downes juggled with three banks of keyboards and a set of bass pedals excellently; Chris Squire strutted around the stage like the consummate pro that he is, and interacted with the crowd with warmth and good humour; Alan White kept things ticking over splendidly on the drums - like any good drummer the sometimes unseen powerhouse of the band, driving things along when necessary, and dependable throughout; Steve Howe, every bit the mad professor of Prog, was for me outstanding in his flair and virtuosity, at one point working with electric, acoustic and steel guitars at the same time. Benoit David, the 'new boy' of the group and, at 45, the 'baby' of the band by 14 years, displayed great energy on stage, pirouetting and contorting during most of the numbers, and running around the ample stage to interact with fellow band members and the crowd. Vocally he fitted the songs well: only 3 of the set were songs that he had recorded and he did great justice to Jon Anderson & Trevor Horne's songs.

The versions of classic songs from the band's heyday in the early 1970s were first rate, with some brilliant improvisation within them, though I did think that more could have been made of Geoff Downes' keyboards at some points during the show. The crowd were swept up in the music and were all on their feet for the set closer - Starship Trooper - which saw most of the band rocking out on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass and 'key-tar' (or as my son calls it 'git-board') during the final section, and for the encore - Roundabout.

This was a night that I had been anticipating for almost a year, and a band I've been wanting to see for roughly 35 years. It was an unforgettable night, and one I will remember for a long time to come.