ROCHESTER HILLS >> On the day it released a new album, Yes gave fans a generous helping of old favorites at the Meadow Brook Music Festival.
Yes didn’t ignore the just-released “Heaven & Earth” on Tuesday night, July 22; it rolled out one song from “Believe Again,” its first album with current frontman Jon Davison. But the group’s current tour continues to showcase the veteran prog-rock quintet’s classic albums, a concept it began last summer. On Tuesday Yes reprised 1972’s “Close to the Edge,” which it played during April 2013 at Detroit’s Fox Theatre, but the real treat was the previous year’s “Fragile,” a set that opens with Yes’ first big hit — “Roundabout,” which was quite odd to hear as the fifth song of the night — and closes with the epic “Heart of the Sunrise.”
The real delights, however, were in between with seldom-performed instrumental segue tracks such as “Cans & Brahms,” a 90-second-plus showcase for keyboardist Geoff Downes, and drummer Alan White’s take on original Yes percussionist Bill Bruford’s amusingly short (35 seconds) “Five Per Cent For Nothing.” Bassist Chris Squire and guitarist Steve Howe, meanwhile, both earned standing ovations for their showpieces, “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)” and the acoustic “Mood For a Day” respectively.
Davison continues to grow as a capable frontman for Yes, channeling co-founder Jon Anderson’s flower-child innocence with flowing body gestures and meaningful, skyward looks. His voice also captured Anderson’s alto nuances, and a beard grown since the last time Yes played the area made him look a little less like a boy among much older men in the lineup.
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