From the summer of 1968 until present time the English rock band Yes has amazed music lovers of all ages with their symphonic rock sounds.
Delivering a progressive rock masterpiece is still a walk in the park for the band and they show no signs of that changing anytime soon.
In the lobby of the Symphony Hall fans lined up at wine tables giddy with excitement. They exchanged stories about seeing the band live over the years and discussing the current line-up.
One fan in particular stood out in the crowd. While most were wearing vintage Yes T-shirts or blue jean jackets with the bands album art work painted or embroidered on the back, he was wearing a white blazer and blue jeans. The back of his blazer advertised his history with the first Yes concert he ever attended on August 20, 1977 at Rich Stadium in Buffalo, NY. The line-up was Yes, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, the J. Geils band, and Donovan. After a brief conversation with him, I learned that this his 32nd Yes concert, and he was just as excited to see them now as he was then.
“As an Atheist, music like this could make me believe there is a God”
We all filtered in to our seats and waited for the mystical music journey we were about to experience. It was not long before the band members walked out on stage greeting the cheering crowd with outstretched arms .
Shying away from their main stream hits for this tour, as a gift to their fans base, they began their set by playing all six songs of the Drama album. Nearly every song yielded a standing ovation from the crowd and some people stood up alone when the feeling moved them to do so.
The Drama album was followed up by You and I from their 1972 Close to the edge album and Perpetual Change from their 1971 The Yes Album.
The first set was inspiring and immaculately performed. If anyone in the audience had any reservations about seeing them live without their original line up; those reservations were a distant memory. I would have never imagined that anyone could fill Jon Anderson’s shoes. But Jon Davison’s soaring vocals match so well you may never know you were listening to a different person.
The band took an intermission and fans made their way to the wine tables in the lobby still high from the opus they just experienced.
When the performance started again they opened with possibly their most inspiring song from Tales from Topographic Oceans; The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn). It was nearly 20 minutes of seat gripping bliss.
It would not be a Yes concert without at least one Steve Howe solo. Tucked away in the song The Ancient is a little segment they like to call Leaves of Green. When Steve plays it, you can feel his deep connection to this song. I have seen it in live recordings many times in my life but nothing compares to hearing it live.
They ended their set with The Ritual (Nous Somme Du Soleil). Intricate and extraordinary, I am certain that there were members of the audience that had a spiritual moment during this song.
The band received a long standing ovation at the end and treated their fans to a three song encore. Roundabout kept everyone moving on their feet and most the crowd stayed standing for Starship Trooper.
Just as we thought the concert was over the band played tribute to John Wetton of the group Asia, who passed away this January 31st, with the song Heat of the Moment. Changing nothing from the original song it was flawlessly preformed.
As fans walked to their cars everyone was still excited. I could over hear comments about the show. I believe my favorite was, “As an Atheist, music like this could make me believe there is a God”. Yes, for all of the creativity and imagination that went into creating and producing their music, Yes live is still out of this world.