Last night marked the 7th time I’ve seen progressing rock legends YES live, including the short-lived but awesome Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe at the famous Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Gone are the “Avatar” like stage sets and laser light shows of the 1970s (picture Alan White’s drum kit encased in giant fiberglass mushrooms). The music, however, is as timeless as you expect it to be. For the first time the band is playing not one, not even two, but three full albums in their entirety onstage. During the tour the bands is switching up the order, but tonight’s nearly 3-hour show at the sold-out Pechanga Theater in Temecula CA began with the 1972 epic Close To The Edge, followed by 1971’s The Yes Album, finishing with Going For The One which was released in 1977.
Prior to the beginning of the tour though, tragedy struck the family of keyboardist Geoff Downes as it was announced that his youngest daughter Alexandra had been killed. Downes released a statement that he would be honoring all professional commitments.
As the ongoing feud with original singer Jon Anderson is still unresolved, vocal duties were relegated to Laguna Beach resident Jon Davison, who was recruited from local SoCal Yes tribute band Roundabout. Not to fret, Davison is a very capable replacement until they can get Anderson back. Though that seems less likely to happen as the years pass.
Despite the occasional missed cue or dropped beat, 63-year old drummer Alan White still has a thing or two to show the younger musicians. Guitarist Steve “The Madman” Howe, bassist Chris Squire, and keyboardist Geoff Downes seem to still be at the top of their game though, putting on a clinic for the sold-out crowd at Pechanga Casino.
Setlist: Close to the Edge, And You And I, Siberian Khatru, Yours Is No Disgrace, The Clap, Starship Trooper, I’ve Seen All Good People, A Venture, Perpetual Change, Going For The One, Turn of the Century, Parallels, Wondrous Stories, Awaken. Encore: Roundabout.
Photos: © Daniel Knighton/Pixel Perfect Images