Seattle was treated to “An Evening with Yes” at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Sunday, March 3, 2013. The English prog-rock band was greeted by a passionately enthusiastic crowd of devoted fans that packed the house. We attended the show, which featured Yes music from 70s albums Close To the Edge, The Yes Album, & Going For The One.
Yes has been around since 1968, with their most recognizable hits being Owner of a Lonely Heart (1985), Roundabout and I’ve Seen All Good People from 1971. Their unique musical style focuses on elaborate themes, featuring artistic, complex and lengthy songs. The unmistakable voice of original member Jon Anderson has been replaced twice, the current new lead singer being Jon Davison. Was he good? Yeah, he was great! Maybe it's hard to forget Anderson's incredible voice, but Davisson, (who is still pinching himself that Yes has brought him aboard) is doing a fantastic job.
Original member Chris Squire (bass) and Steve Howe (guitar) were in great form along with drummer Alan White and Geoff Downes (keyboards). All performed with exquisite perfection--as is always the case.
They opened with the entire 1972 album “Close to the Edge” and it was announced that this is the first time they have ever done this, in the order they appear on the album. The first song, "Close to the Edge" is 18-minutes with 4 distinctive parts. This was followed by And You & I”, (ten minutes), and “Siberian Khatru” (eight minutes.)
This album reflected Jon Anderson’s spiritual awakening at the time, inspired by Siddhartha. Throughout the performance, the album cover, as well as the the song being performed was projected on the video screen behind them. The audience was very engaged throughout the evening with the band, some standing up with arms extended over their heads as though absorbing the energy of a spiritual retreat or religious revival.
While most fans were typical Yes fans in their 50s, there were also plenty of younger artsy people with dreadlocks around us---dressed in interesting outfits. But one consistent trait that Yes fans share is an intellectual appreciation for extremely sophisticated music. In Yes, each musician is profoundly talented: Alan White, one of the most legendary rock drummers of all time, effortlessly keeps up with complicated time signature changes and tempos—counting, always counting--while Steve and Chris are changing instruments mid-song without missing a note. Chris Squires played a triple bass at times, while Steve had at least a dozen guitars during the show, sometimes two being handy at once. And Geoff appeared to be Oz, his back to the audience as he plays many different keyboards (with lots of amazing sounds.)
Someone yelled out “Happy birthday Chris!” in honor of Chris Squires’ 65th birthday, after which everyone cheered. The next five songs were from their 1977 album Going For the One:
Going For the One
Turn of the Century
After an explosion of silver and white confetti, and a brief intermission, the band’s second set contained songs exclusively from the popular album, The Yes Album, from 1971:
Yours is no Disgrace
Encore: After a rousing applause demanding the band return to the stage, they performed the all-time favorite Roundabout, which of course everyone knew the words to. The only criticism is that the intimate setting of the Moore Theater couldn’t keep up with the acoustic demands of Yes. (see you-tube video this page by a fan. It's pretty over-modulated because it was so loud in there. But gives you the sense of excitement in the crowd.)
Seattle was obviously thrilled to see Yes perform live, as they embraced Alan White with special pride as one of its own sons. The applause and cheering were so overwhelming, Chris Squires said into the mic as they were exiting the stage, “Ok fine, we’ll come back then!”
Backstage after the event, we spoke to longtime friend Alan White in his dressing room, who shared the upcoming tour schedule. “We’re headed to San Francisco next, then Los Angeles, Temecula, then Reno after that.” (The tour ends up in Brazil and Argentina in May.) Alan lives in the Seattle area with his wife Gigi and both are well known in the music community. They participate in many fund raisers, most notably Music Aid Northwest, and Alan never hesitates to sit in as guest drummer for local Beatles tribute bands, telling stories of what it was like working with John Lennon and George Harrison.
A big thanks to photographer Morgen Schuler for allowing us to use one of her phenomenal photos in our slideshow. Check her site out!
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