I enjoyed the Yes concert last night very much. I made some new friends, who told me that Adrian Belew is coming soon. And when I got back to my car, there was a sheet of paper under my windshield wipers about the Belew concert. (This must be the first time I ever got one of those sheets under the wipers that I actually appreciated!)
The Yes concert was very much like the last one I had been at, at the Hampton Court Casino Ballroom. Jon Anderson is still ill, and is replaced by Benoit David, who is superb and sounds uncannily like Anderson. Rick Wakeman no longer tours, and is replaced by Oliver Wakeman, his son. Wakeman fils was not so impressive last time, but he seems to have gotten more virtuosic since then, although still not as great as pere. The other three are classic members of Yes: Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Allan White.
The playlist for the two-hour set was:
- Siberian Khatru
- All Good People
- Tempus Fugit
- Astral Traveler
- And You And I
- (Steve Howe, solo acoustic guitar)
- Owner Of A Lonely Heart
- Machine Messiah
- Heart Of The Sunrise
- Starship Trooper
I only like the songs from the 1970′s, although I am warming up to Owner Of A Lonely Heart somewhat. I could do without Tempus Fugit, Astral Traveler, and Machine Messiah. But the rest were great.
I hope someday they go back to doing the more ambitious works, such as Close To The Edge, The Gates of Delirium, and anything from Tales From Topographic Oceans. I’ve seen them about eight times in the last eight years, and I’ll keep going: it just never gets old for me!
The opening act, is their guitarist as well. (Howe played both Asia’s one-hour set and Yes’s two-hour set, and did solo guitar when the rest of Yes was resting. Squire said that now that James Brown is gone, Howe is the hardest working man in show business. That may not be literally true, but I think it was very fitting to acknowledge how much Howe was performing. He’s a truly great guitarist, and his powers have not diminished one bit; he’s now 62 years old!
The first couple of songs by Asia weren’t too interesting to me, although they might have been, had I known the music, and had the vocals been mixed high enough that you could hear them.
But then they performed Fanfare for the Common Man (more or less in the style that it was recorded by ELP in 1977.
And then, to my surprise, they performed In The Court Of The Crimson King. I had not realized that Asia’s lead singer, John Wetton, had been a member of King Crimson, though not on that album. Many of the famous progressive rock musicians of the 1970′s moved between groups (Yes’s personnel is not uncommon; for a good time, look at the lineups of Jethro Tull!)
I had never been at this venue before. The South Shore Music Circus is a big circus tent, entirely theater-in-the-round, with a stage that rotates slowly so that everybody gets all the views. Had I been sitting up front, I would have been very, very close to the musicians! Next time, I’ll get my tickets as soon as they go on sale. The downside is that it’s rather hot and stuffy, or at least it was in yesterday’s weather, but the weather was hardly extreme by Boston-area standards. But you can get up and walk around outside the tent and still hear fine, if you want to cool off. I did this during some music that I didn’t care about as much.
I have been a fan of Adrian Belew for many years now. I’ve seen him live at the Paradise in Kenmore Square doing songs from his first album, Lone Rhino, in 1982 with my friend Jim Davis. (From the eponymous song: “I know the zoos protect my species / They give me food, collect my feces / But I can’t help it, I miss the past / I’ll never again see my good old mud bath…”). In 1990, I saw him at the Orpheum in Boston, doing the tour for the album Strange Angels. He’s done lots of amazing work with many great musicians, as documented in Wikipedia. He can make an electric guitar sound like any of a wide array of animals, beautifully. Here’s his own web site.
He’s performing at the Narrows Center for the Arts on Saturday, Sept. 5. Doors open at 7 and the show starts at 8, “followed by meet-and-greet” (!). It’s at 16 Amawan Street in Fall River. Tickets from Brown Paper Tickets, the wonderful people who do tickets for our family opera company.
This information is all from the flyer left on my car. The flyer came from a magazine I had never heard of, Limelight Magazine, which looks very interesting! Here’s their story about the Adrian Belew concert, which is actually “The Adrian Belew Power Trio” with Eric and Julia Slick, on drums and bass respectively (I think they’re siblings).
They are also playing the previous night, at the Natick Center for the Arts.
Don’t miss Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and No Static!