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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Live review: Yes, ASB Theatre



The 2014 line-up of Yes: Steve Howe (guitar), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Jon Davison (vocals),  Alan White (drums), Chris Squire (bass).
The 2014 line-up of Yes: Steve Howe (guitar), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Jon Davison (vocals), Alan White (drums), Chris Squire (bass).
First, a Declaration of Uninterest in Yes.
Until fairly recently their only album in my possession was Tales From Topographic Oceans ('74) and I doubt I played it three times in as many decades.
But, for academic rather than personal reasons, last year I explored their vast catalogue and lack of interest turned into mild curiosity.
But when this concert was announced - the most recent line-up of this durable prog-rock legend playing their albums Fragile (1971) and Close to the Edge ('72) - I became very interested. Close has just been voted the Greatest Prog Album Of All Time by the readers of Britain's Prog magazine. And Fragile came in 10th.
How could you not be interested in seeing those cornerstones played in their entirety. Or eternity, if you will?
Before Yes appeared, images of a couple of dozen album covers, ticket stubs, stadium crowds and the like appeared on the small screen.
A fanfare for these uncommon men who have well over a century of collective experience as Yes.

Judging by the number who leaped to their feet to applaud when they walked on, and again after a number of their lengthy passages, this wasn't a concert for those lacking interest or merely curious. This was a gathering of the faithful.
It was an intelligently programmed set which opened with Close, an album that leads to a thoroughly rocking finale on Siberian Khatru after numerous sublime moments and some rather musicianly but dull 10-minute passages between.
But that thrilling finale set up two numbers from their new album Heaven and Earth Byby recently recruited singer Jon Davison who has a keen ear for an economic pop-rock song: Believe Again and The Game were terrific (they were coherent songs) and the latter even drew a dancer into the aisles.
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