Tuesday, November 23, 1999

Yes comes back around with rousing rock


CONCERT REVIEW

BY JAY WEBBER
Enquirer contributor

        You know you are attending a truly great concert when after only one song you feel as though you have received your money's worth.

        Sunday evening at the Taft Theatre saw the return of quintessential progressive rockers Yes and their epic, show-opening “Yours is No Disgrace.” Hardly satisfied with 15 minutes' work, Yes proceeded to wow their enthusiastic audience for a rousing and exhausting 135 minutes.

        At Yes' 1998 Riverbend appearance, a tour marking its 30th anniversary, lead singer Jon Anderson claimed Yes was “not making a comeback (but) moving forward.”

        Their Ladder Tour '99 is a testament to the band's ability to do just that. Slipping seamlessly into the show among the Yes standards, with several staking their own claim to future classic status, were five selections from the new album, The Ladder.

        Of those new selections, “Homeworld (The Ladder)” is the finest. A nine-minute-plus piece in the Yes tradition, “Homeworld” recalls the band at its creative best, changing tempos and dynamics so drastically as to be completely unpredictable.

        Watching often-underrated lead guitarist Steve Howe's seemingly effortless handiwork Sunday impressed even more than his studio work. At times Mr. Howe could be found switching among three guitars: He had an acoustic on a stand, set up in such a way as to allow him to play without putting down the electric he was wearing, all the while keeping his slide guitar at arm's length.

        Though at times some of Igor Khoroshev's newest work recalled Disney's Electric Light Parade, his efforts on “Awaken” and “Cinema” show him to be a worthy heir to Rick Wakeman as Yes keyboardist.

        Chris Squire's bass, always a strength, sounded better than ever in the new material, particularly in “Lightning Strikes.” At one point Sunday night he donned what was described by one concertgoer as a three-headed monster, a contraption that appeared to be three different bass guitars built into one.

        The evening wasn't just about The Ladder, though. “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” “Roundabout” and “I've Seen All Good People” were all selected, as well as the seldom-heard “Hearts.” The ethereal “Awaken,” a musical journey featuring a lengthy solo by Mr. Anderson on harp and a sea of confetti falling onto the audience, tied the evening together.

       



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