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Yes & Toto Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, Ausgust 26, 2015

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IMG_0595useLast night was filled with a bunch of bad ass musicians playing great rock and progressive music.  I could end the review right there, but we’ll keep going.  I scored the VIP/meet and greet when it was first announced because I’ve always wanted to meet Chris Squire and Steve Howe.  Unfortunately shortly after I got my ticket, Chris announced he wasn’t doing the tour due to health issues and subsequently died.  Terrible.

Since they didn’t offer a refund and the pass was non transferable, I went through with the show.

Toto was the opener and while I respect them and love their hits, I’m not a huge fan.  Having never seen them before, I was a bit excited to see them.  Toto is a band, like Yes, who has seen some real loss.  RIP Porcaro brothers.  A big plus is having Steve Lukather in the band.  I was tempted to buy their meet and great instead of Yes’ just to have Lukather sign my Alice Cooper From The Inside CD.

Toto’s set started promptly at 7:30 consisted of their biggest hits Hold the Line, Rosanna, Pamela and Africa.  I was pretty much lost on the rest of their set, although they sounded amazing.  I was impressed with Steve Porcaro’s vocals more than anything.  His range is still amazing.  Lukather’s vocals sounded good, too.  His playing was solid.  His solo at the end of Little Wing was pretty amazing.

One thing that was really cool was that they had the legendary Lenny Castro on percussion.  What a treat!

The whole band sounded great and they had their original bassist back in the band as well.  David Paich only sang Africa, and he was having some issues.  I don’t think it’s an easy song for anyone to sing in general.  They were good but I doubt I’d go out of my way to see them again unless they were part of another great bill like last night’s.  The played a full 90 minute set and I was really hoping to hear 99 and Georgy Porgy, but oh well.

After a 30 minute changeover, Yes came on at exactly 9PM with a tribute video to Chris Squire with his signature Rickenbacker bass lit up in the middle of the stage.

They opened with Don’t Kill the Whale and followed up with Tempus Fugit from the Drama album, probably my favorite album by them.  They went through America and Time and a Word, which I had never seen them do.  It sounded great.  Jon Davison does a great job on lead vocals.  Billy Sherwood is handling bass duties and holds his own, but there’s only one Squire.  The band is certainly older and a bit slower, but they sounded great.  I love watching Steve Howe’s facial expressions and cues making sure that Alan White was ready for a break or whatever.  Just like last time, it’s obvious that Alan has lost a few steps in his delivery, but he still played fine.

Seeing Steve play Owner of a Lonely Heart was quite weird.  You could see that he didn’t care for it.  They extend the end, though, and he gets to rock out with his own solo which was quite awesome.  The whole show was except for the drunk girl next to me.  We were on the front row.  She and her boyfriend showed up with 2 songs left with Toto and she had a purse full of airport liquor bottles of vodka.  Towards the end of Yes’ set, she was wasted and kept flipping off the band while they were playing complaining that they should be closer to her near the end of the stage.  She looked over at me during the encore, Starship Trooper, and said, “Sorry.  Am I bothering you?”  I looked at her and her boyfriend, shook my head and just said, “You’re an idiot.”  After the band finally walked off stage she turned to me again and said, “You should add me on Facebook.”  I just said, “Not interested.”

They stumbled out and we went side stage for the meet and greet.  I was shocked that they had about 70 people.  Tour manager rambled off some procedural stuff and a few rules about how you can shake hands with anybody except Steve Howe.  “No hand shakes, fist bumps, hugs, pats on the back etc.”  I asked of we were at least allowed to look him in the eye and he and the crowd laughed.

They were cycling everyone through the line twice.  First time for your picture with the band and the second to get stuff signed, 2 items only.  As I got in front of them for the photo, Geoff Downes says, “Cool jacket, but I don’t know any of those bands except for Judas Priest.”  Jon Davison stated that he loves their metalhead fans.

I was near the end of the line and when we got to the signing part, I was going to have them signed the poster given to us as part of the VIP swag and have Howe, Downes and White sign my Drama CD.  All of the guys were very laid back and signed the poster.  Everyone got to spend a few moments at the table.  When I got to the 3 that were on Drama, I mentioned to Steve and Geoff that I had seen their Asia reunion show a few years back and that I had the CD cover with me.  Steve said, “That was a fun tour.  Where’s the cover?”  I mentioned the 2 item limit and he smiled and just said, “I’m running this show right now, let me have it.”  haha.  Sweet!  I finally got in my truck at 12:15AM for the 75 mile drive home.

I liked how the show was set up with two bands both playing full 90 minute sets.  If Yes comes around again, I’ll go for sure.

Written by The Metal Files

August 27, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Yes Concert Review, Austin TX 3/20/2013

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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.

Written by The Metal Files

March 21, 2013 at 8:29 pm