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    Royal Albert Hall show thoughts

    Well I did manage to get to the Albert Hall, by driving in, and I'm so glad I did. The concert was excellent, much better than I expected based on the low quality you tube clips, and the low quality people comments!

    The band was on fine form, especially Steve. When he's still playing this well, why should they stop. Geoff and Jon were great, and I think the best I've heard them. I don't understand the criticisms of Geoff, based on what I saw last night. Yes, Jon D is not Jon A, but he's really grown into the role now, and keeps getting better.

    Jay was excellent too, a very Alan like performance. Again I don't understand the critics of him. In my opinion Jay is a much better fit for this music than Lou Molino III of ARW was.

    Billy is owning, and loving, that Chris role. Only criticisms would be that, apart from the times when his bass is being highlighted e.g. Heart of the Sunrise, the bass isn't high enough in the mix. And his backing vocals aren't prominent enough. I did wonder last night if he had a cold or something. A few times between songs I saw him go to the back of the stage and it looked like he was possibly taking medicine.

    And the band seemed to be really enjoying themselves too, especially Jay and Jon who were pretty much smiling constantly.

    Highlights for me were quite a few - Yours is no Disgrace, Heart of the Sunrise, No Opportunity Necessary, Does it Really Happen, The Ice Bridge. All superb renditions.

    Weak points - Dare to Know (I don't dislike this song, but it didn't come over that strongly live), Wondrous Stories (is it just me, but I don't think this song has ever worked that well live, even with Jon A).

    On the Silent Wings of Freedom - this was nice and was great to hear live again, but like everyone else, no idea why they would truncate it!

    I was in the 11th row and the sound was really really good. Sometimes in the Albert Hall the sound can be a bit inconsistent, especially if you're nearer the back.

    I believe the gig was pretty much a sell out. There were a few empty seats as a result of the train strikes, but not as many as I was fearing. I've heard reports of lots of empty seats, so perhaps it wasn't so noticeable from near the front.

    #2
    Originally posted by colsky View Post
    Well I did manage to get to the Albert Hall, by driving in, and I'm so glad I did. The concert was excellent, much better than I expected based on the low quality you tube clips, and the low quality people comments!

    The band was on fine form, especially Steve. When he's still playing this well, why should they stop. Geoff and Jon were great, and I think the best I've heard them. I don't understand the criticisms of Geoff, based on what I saw last night. Yes, Jon D is not Jon A, but he's really grown into the role now, and keeps getting better.

    Jay was excellent too, a very Alan like performance. Again I don't understand the critics of him. In my opinion Jay is a much better fit for this music than Lou Molino III of ARW was.

    Billy is owning, and loving, that Chris role. Only criticisms would be that, apart from the times when his bass is being highlighted e.g. Heart of the Sunrise, the bass isn't high enough in the mix. And his backing vocals aren't prominent enough. I did wonder last night if he had a cold or something. A few times between songs I saw him go to the back of the stage and it looked like he was possibly taking medicine.

    And the band seemed to be really enjoying themselves too, especially Jay and Jon who were pretty much smiling constantly.

    Highlights for me were quite a few - Yours is no Disgrace, Heart of the Sunrise, No Opportunity Necessary, Does it Really Happen, The Ice Bridge. All superb renditions.

    Weak points - Dare to Know (I don't dislike this song, but it didn't come over that strongly live), Wondrous Stories (is it just me, but I don't think this song has ever worked that well live, even with Jon A).

    On the Silent Wings of Freedom - this was nice and was great to hear live again, but like everyone else, no idea why they would truncate it!

    I was in the 11th row and the sound was really really good. Sometimes in the Albert Hall the sound can be a bit inconsistent, especially if you're nearer the back.

    I believe the gig was pretty much a sell out. There were a few empty seats as a result of the train strikes, but not as many as I was fearing. I've heard reports of lots of empty seats, so perhaps it wasn't so noticeable from near the front.
    Thanks for your review and I agree with a lot of that! I was way up high and could see lots of empty seats. I think the show sold well enough, but clearly people had trouble getting in.

    Yes, Sherwood needs to be higher in the mix. He's higher in the mix than he used to be, but this is Yes music, you need lots of bass! Downes played well throughout: very good "HotS". Davison sang well and has improved his stage presence. I sometimes think he's not so good on the Drama songs, but he did well on "DIRH?". I remember talking to someone else at the gig who agreed that Schellen is better than Molino, although I think he sometimes lacks the delicacy of a Bruford or D Howe.

    Howe is not as fast as he used to be, but he remains a captivating guitarist and there was some lovely playing, particularly on "YIND" and "NONNEN". Overall, I enjoyed the first half more than the second half. The second half is great music, well performed, but all very familiar. I do prefer "Siberian Khatru" in the middle of the set: it tends to be rough when they open with it! "OtSWoF" is an odd abridgement, but I still enjoyed it.

    Friends near the front complained of muddy sound. Where I was, it was great.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for the reviews!

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        #4
        I pretty much agree with most of the above. I drove up from Portsmouth because of the rail strike, and the show was much better than expected. I was up in the circle, and the sound was clear and powerful, especially bass and drums. Billy has grown into the role, and has so much more confidence now - Does It Really Happen was a prime example. I really liked Wondrous Stories though ! I actually preferred the first half of the set to the second. However, I thought the vocal harmonies in Close To The Edge were fantastic, while And You And I was spine-tingling for the Eclipse section. I laughed during Siberian Khatru when the intro started out at a great tempo, but slowed right down for the first verse, but then picked up pace as they went on . I had a great view, and you could see that the empty seats were well-scattered - I would estimate that it was 80% full. But the standing ovation at the end extended up to most of the circle, so the vast majority were clearly very happy with the show.

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          #5
          I was fortunate enough to have front row seats (Steve Howe side) which I got on via these very pages from madbear who unfortunately couldn’t make it. Thank you madbear it was a night I will never forget.

          It’s interesting reading others views. My wife thought the first set was weak but loved the second set. For me OTSWF is an odd opening number but I was delighted to hear it as I’ve never seen it live, I would reather have this version than no version. No opportunity was nice and loose and you could see Steve having a lot of fun with this. I really loved it my wife whispered in my ear as it finished ‘that was rubbish’! Trevor Horn got a name check when Does it Really Happen was announced which made me wonder if he was in the audience either was the band played it well. You could Steve counting to seven and coming in on the off beat as he watched Jay.
          I agree with colsky as Wonderous Stories was the least best song. Jon, as in Liverpool, took the opportunity to say how he remembered singing this song ten years ago when he joined the band - maybe it’s time we stopped calling him the new singer?
          The two quest tracks were a treat to have in the set and as expected the Ice Bridge worked well. Dare to Know was fine but as they followed it up with HOTS it was a stark reminder of where the band are now compèred with yesteryear.
          The second set with Close to the Edge was solid gold. The band were clearly enjoying the evening and rightly so.

          A few notes…
          Was Billy vaping? He was going to the back of the stage, putting something in his mouth which was followed by a plume of smoke.
          Watching Jon up close you can see that he sings with ease and well within himself - I’m not sure the guy is capable of singing out of key!
          Stop the press Steve makes a joke - he returned for the encore and said that it was a ‘bad day for train spotters’ (a reference to the train strike) but a good day for his grand daughter who was in the audience - a nice family warm moment.
          During Close to the Edge after the church organ solo Geoff’s keyboard must have had the wrong patch selected as the three da da da’s (technical I know) were just three odd noises.

          During Starship Trooper this old fella had a lump in his throat and something in his eye - it was a wonderful evening of new music, nostalgia and the unexpected.

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            #6
            glad to hear that they are still doing well!
            The Definitive YES Albums

            -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
            -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
            -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

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              #7
              Sounds like the band have got in to their stride then. Since coming home from the Nottingham gig I've listened to The Quest again and enjoyed it the most since purchasing it. I think seeing the line up again is helping to establish them in my mind as a legitimate line up of Yes despite there being no Anderson, Wakeman, Squire or White. I'm excited to see what they can do in the studio with Jay as a fully fledged member of the band. He's very fit and is a powerful drummer and it would be good to see that brought in to the studio.....
              Last edited by Kevin W; 06-22-2022, 08:31 AM.

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                #8
                I'm just back !

                Quite a drive, no trains, had to stay over .

                Overall, really enjoyable evening. First time for my two daughters, who have been 'force fed' Yes from an early age & are now in their twenties. Both enjoyed the show and were surprised at the length of the set - apparently younger bands play for a much shorter time. We were in the Arena , 18 rows back - good view, good sound, just a few empty seats near us (but I believe they'd been sold).

                Highlights, for me, HOTS , AYAI , Does it really happen ? and Starship Trooper. The Ice Bridge was performed well , as was Dare to Know.

                Lowlights, for me, Wonderous Stories and (sorry to say) parts of CttE. Something went wrong with the keyboards on both of these & (for me) it was so noticeable that it became a distraction.

                Steve was Steve, Jon was assured (which is quite something - I'm not nervous for him or about him), Geoff was fine (with the exception of WS and part of CttE). However, I'd give special praise for Jay and Billy - really good all night , worked well together , massive shoes to fill as we all know, but I thought they were both great .

                As I say, overall, good and very enjoyable - we all know that this is not the band that we fell in love with, so the concerts should be measured on how much we enjoyed it and whether we have the desire to see them again - I do !

                Given COVID, let's also just rejoice at being able to see the band playing live again !

                (Oh, my daughters said they'd go again - so must have been good !)

                Cheers

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                  #9
                  Thanks for the reviews!
                  "We all gotta climb mountains!" - Jon Anderson 2003

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                    #10
                    Let the good times roll! Hope everyone who tried to get there, got there. 🤩

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                      #11
                      I think this was probably the sixteenth tour at which I have seen Yes and despite the line up changes I still enjoy going because the music they play is so outstanding. If I compare it to some previous shows it didn’t match up to many of them as at no point did it elicit that tingling feeling which certain parts of certain songs always create for me, especially live. Nonetheless, it was still a good show with excellent playing. YIND was a standout, as was No Opportunity and DIRH. I felt that the during the rest of the set the balance wasn’t great. I would disagree with previous comments - I thought that it was the keyboards that were generally too low in the mix and the bass was about right. The problem to my ears was that the sound level from each instrument seemed to be the same whether the instrumentalist was soloing or harmonising which led to a very muddy sound at times. The Ice Bridge suffered a lot in that respect and sadly Wonderous Stories had no subtlety at all which is what the song needs. Other threads go into the question of the arrangement of Silent Wings and keyboard solos in CCTE but although I felt disappointed in the same way that others did by those things it did not in any sense diminish the joy of hearing those piece played live by accomplished musicians. It’s not 1972 , it’s 2022 and I’m amazed that Steve Howe can still play as well as he does, tempo notwithstanding. I’m so grateful that he is still willing to turn out and perform in the way he does.
                      I, like most fans of my generation, would love to see one last reunion of the remaining three of the Classic line up but that’s not going to happen. So I appreciate what is available and much of it last night was really strong and uplifting. Hopefully the European tour of Relayer next year will be extended to provide some UK dates.

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                        #12
                        Thanks to all for the balanced and honest reviews. Hopefully the tour will continue to go well. I look forward to seeing them when they tour in the U.S. It is very appropriate that their return after the pandemic begins where it all started, in the U.K.

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                          #13
                          I am so happy to read all these great reviews, happy for you folks they got to see the show, and especially happy for the band!

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                            #14
                            Sounds like everyone had a good time and the band played well. Great to see live music back after so long... Cheers !

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                              #15
                              The sound engineer is on Instagram as njsoundguy. I found him when I was searching for clips from Tavistock Wharf. He did a live broadcast a couple hours ago and I was the only one watching. He said they were in York on the bus and couldn't get into the hotel because of the time of night (3:30 a.m.) Affable, slightly nerdy guy with a Jersey accent. My deceased Aunt lived and taught high school there for decades--the actor who played Tony Soprano was one of her students.

                              Cheers,
                              Mike

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