Yes Concert Review, Austin TX 3/20/2013
March 20, 1964. That’s my middle brother’s birthday. He died just over a year ago but he was a huge Yes fan and subsequently I became one. Yes played the Moody Theater at ACL Live last night and it would have been his 49th birthday. He especially loved Fragile and Close to the Edge and both of those albums are very special to me.
When I saw it announced that Yes was going to play The Yes Album, Close to the Edge and Going for the One in their entirety, I had to go. Especially since it was going to be at the fantastic Moody Theater. It’s my favorite venue in town.
I typically buy 2 tickets to most shows that I want to see, one for me and one to sell to a friend or to offer as a special gift. My friend Chuck is a huge Yes fan and a phenomenal bassist and he was the first I thought of when I scored front row center balcony seats. That’s my favorite spot in the theater. It was Chuck’s first time there and he liked it a lot.
The show started slightly after 8PM and they opened the show with the Close to the Edge album. I hadn’t yet seen/heard the new singer, Jon Davison. Now let me drop back and say that I’ve seen Yes twice before with Jon Anderson…one in 1998 with The Alan Parson Project(!!!) and again in 2000 with Kansas. That show in 1998 was incredible while the 2000 show left me pretty bored.
But last night I was not bored. They came out and nailed it for the most part. The new singer left me not really even noticing or even missing Anderson. Davison has the pipes and he sounded incredible. The band went right into Going for the One, and album of their that I love. I’ll admit that my 3 faves are Drama, Tormato and Going for the One. After getting through GftO, they took a 20 minute intermission.
The closed the set out with The Yes Album. It was great.
I’ll admit to getting a little verklempt during the song Close to the Edge. Memories of my brother flushed through me hard. During several songs throughout the set I got chills, mainly because of the awesomeness of the songs…mainly And You and I and Wondrous Stories.
Sound-wise, I thought the keyboards were a little overbearing and the bass was a little low in the mix. Even though it was a phenomenal show and probably the last time I’ll ever see them, they weren’t perfect. Compared to the previous shows I’ve seen, they’ve collectively lost a step. While Steve Howe is one of my favorite players, he’s always had a bit of a choppy style. Last night he was missing some notes and it even sounded like he missed his cue in a few solos. However, vocally he still sounded great. His acoustic piece, Clap, was pretty awesome. Chris Squire seemed spot on and his vocals were great, too. Finally, Alan White. He wasn’t playing with the power that I had seen before, but he is 63 and still touring, so there’s that. And again, Jon Davison’s vocals were stellar. That dude can flat out sing.
The encore was Roundabout (see below).
If they do end up touring again, I’d certainly go. Glad I got to see them again, for sure.
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