HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Forget between-song banter. Between-album banter's where it's at.
During their dizzying July 20 Huntsville show, the musicians in British prog-rock pillar Yes didn't speak a word to the packed Von Braun Center Mark C. Smith Concert Hall audience until after the band finished playing their entire 1972 album "Close to the Edge."
That's around 38 minutes. Of classical-and-jazz-influenced hippie-rock with copious knotty, exploratory interludes.
And even after the nine-minute album closing track "Siberian Khatru" spiraled to virtuosic conclusion, burly bassist Chris Squire briefly thanked the crowd before wizard-like guitarist Steve Howe quickly introduced the next full album they'd perform, 1977's "Going for the One," and counting off "One, two, one, two, three, four!" before launching into the title track's uncharacteristically bluesy motif, played on a vintage lap steel.
But the music did all the talking necessary.
The playing was stunning. All night. On a sweet collection of instruments (ranging from a Gibson Les Paul Custom to, on "I've Seen All Good People: Your Move," a 12-string lute) Howe perfectly executed helix figures the more-famous guitar gods of his era would have a stroke trying to play. Squire's post-Entwistle psychedelic-rhino bass-lines added welcome rumble to Yes' otherwise ethereal sound. Geoff Downes coaxed gothic organ sounds, icy synths and staccato piano trills out of the nine (!) keyboards at his disposal, often simultaneously playing one with his left hand that was several feet away from the one his right hand was playing, like some mad scientist.