Album Format Plays to Yes’ Strengths

The Joint, August 15


Photo by Chase Stevens/ Erik Kabik Photography

Yes has taken the trend of bands playing entire albums in concert and perfected it. After playing three of their albums in full on last year’s tour, the prog-rock giants performed 1971’s Fragile and 1972’s Close to the Edge this time around, sandwiched around two tracks from their 2014 release Heaven & Earth. Starting with Close to the Edge, which was played in reverse order, guitarist Steve Howe showed he was in top form, closing “Siberian Khatru” with a blistering jazz-tinged solo, then following with the gentle acoustic intro to “And You and I,” on which he played three different guitars.

Some longtime fans still lament the 2008 dismissal of original vocalist Jon Anderson, but current singer Jon Davison, now in his third year with Yes, has firmly established himself as the band’s frontman. Not only a major contributor to the new material, Davison also asserted himself on the classic tracks, with a confident delivery and a powerful angelic voice that breathed fresh life into each song.

It was a rare treat to hear all the short instrumental bits from Fragile, but the playing of the underrated epic “South Side of the Sky” might have been the highlight of the night, incorporating all the elements that define Yes: Howe’s adventurous fret work, Chris Squire’s thunderous bass, layers of keyboards and soaring vocals. Armed with such complex compositions and the ability to still perform them with impeccable precision, Yes stripped 40 years away from some of its most remarkable work, and made it sound as otherworldly as it did the first time we heard it. ★★★★✩

Photos by Chase Stevens/ Erik Kabik Photography


Close to the Edge:
Siberian Khatru
And You and I
Close to the Edge

Heaven and Earth:
Believe Again
The Game

Cans and Brahms
We Have Heaven
South Side of the Sky
Five Per Cent for Nothing
Long Distance Runaround
The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)
Mood for a Day
Heart of the Sunrise

I’ve Seen All Good People
Owner of a Lonely Heart

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