I got to see the latest incarnation of Yes last evening at the intimate and wonderfully restored Golden State Theater in downtown Monterey, CA...
This was a tight, focused band. Granted, although both Steve Howe and Chris Squire took some musical "shortcuts," they performed well--if perhaps at times not flawlessly: Howe in particular served up several clams--for an enthusiastic audience of roughly 1,000--a far cry from the stadium and arena shows I have attended in the past. But after taking the stage with at first seemed like an "oh boy another cow town" attitude, the band quickly responded to our respectful, joyous gratitude that a band of this caliber would actually work in our little cow town...we have more sea otters than cows, but that's beside the point. Every song in the first set was rewarded with a standing O.
Rarely does one get a closeup view of a player of Squire's magnitude. I had a seat in the 8th row, serendipitously directly in front of him. I never do this, but I went to the stage apron for the last couple of songs, plus the encore of "Roundabout."
Physically, Squire has not aged well. Others have commented on his sartorial choices; I leave it at this: Tommy Bahama shirt? Really?
But musically, this guy kicks some serious bass ass. His tone is f'ing amazing, as always. When he stepped on those Taurus sample buttons, the plaster on that 1920s-era theater's walls was lucky to stay in place.
I was able to study his technique up close a bit: with a pick his touch looked very light; with fingerstyle I saw him use his index only, never saw him use a two finger approach. I know fingerstyle is not his forte, but was surprised by that.
On "Roundabout," he uses his thumb on the E string to fret part of that Em run...idk why, maybe just showing off...
To sum up, the evening with Yes was a great pleasure. Jon Davison does a credible and accurate job on the Anderson vocals, Alan White is an incredible, monster drummer who never, ever gets in the way of the song at hand; Geoff Downes wields God-like power with his keys.
There aren't many players like Chris Squire left. He changed the way we all play, whether we know it--or admit it--or not. Personally, I put Squire among the game changers: Jamerson, McCartney, Pastorius, Etwistle, Lee (Geddy and Will), Wooten...feel free to add to that off-the-top-of-my-head list...but you get the idea.
Honestly? More than once, I found myself thinking how much fun it would be to spend some time playing that 1964 Ric 4001 through his stage rig.
Very cool. Glad you got to see them - I hope they come around the Tulsa area again. Squire is one of my big influences.
I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm seeing them in Jacksonville next month. I saw them in Atlanta about two years ago. I was right in front of Chris on the second row and then got to meet him after the show. It was humbling to be in the presence of such greatness. Very nice guy, got to talk about his St. Louis Music bass that he used for Tempus Fugit.
Interestingly, I spent some time with the St. Louis Music bass, and got to play it a bit before it was sent to Chris way back in the day. Was in a couple of bands with guys who worked at the set-up shop at St. Louis music. Interesting bass, with effects module bay in the back of the instrument. Kind of a fun thing for me as a young player who respected Chris's talent quite a bit!
Great summation of the show. I'm lucky to have seen Chris play back on the Drama tour ("Yes in the Round") and have always been BLOWN away by his abilities. Thanks again for posting your review!
I saw the same show on Friday night at Pechanga Casino in Temecula. A Bit bigger room there, more like 5000, and everyone in the audience was over 40, and everyone loved it, including me. I wasn't close like you, but the thunda was definitely felt all the way back to the second-to-last row where I was sitting. I too was skeptical going in, but was rewarded with a really fun and still technically "there" show.
Kinda glad there weren't any "kids" in the audience, Steve Howe is scary lookin!
Sounds like a great show! Nice review!
I saw Yes back in the day quite a few times, starting with the Tales tour, up to Drama.
Davison must be pretty great to pull it off. I'd love to see Squire live again.
BTW, just this morning I stumbled on this--a very cool video and interview from the Fragile era:
And, RIP Peter Banks
Still kicking myself that I missed them at the House of Blues down in Myrtle Beach. Sounds like it was a great show!
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