Concert Review: YES 8-1-14

Review of the YES concert at the Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, FL, 8-1-14

YES Concert Review

Venue: Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, FL 8-1-14

Having seen Yes a number of times including a few years ago when Jon Davison was first performing with the group, I wasn’t sure if I needed to see the whole Close to the Edge album again.  But maybe seeing Fragile and some of the new songs would be interesting.  The surprise was that the band sounded better and more refreshed than in years.

Yes performs at Hard Rock Live held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

There was no opening act this time, so the band started promptly at 8.  After a great opening video montage highlighting the history of the band, Steve Howe launched into Siberian Khatru and the band was off.  The sound was clean and you could make out Howe’s guitar alongside Geoff Downes keyboards, Chris Squire’s bass and Alan White’s drums.  Throughout some of the most difficult songs in the band’s catalog, the band were as tight as ever.  There was something different about the vibe of the band this time.  They seemed more alive and into the performance than the last time I remembered.  After completing the seminal album in reverse, Chris Squire introduced the opening track from the new album “Heaven & Earth.”  There has been much debate about the new album, some negative, some positive but here the new songs “Believe Again” and “The Game” both came across fresh sounding and, in fact, did sound better than on the album.

Yes performs at Hard Rock Live held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The band then launched into Fragile.  Now, most hard core Yes fans have heard Roundabout at every show over the past 30 years, so the only surprise was hearing it in the middle of the show and not as the encore.  The rest of the album was definitely a treat, though.  The shorter songs were fun to hear while songs that haven’t been played as often like South Side of the Sky, The Fish, and Heart of the Sunrise were played with precision and intensity and were highlights in the show.

Yes performs at Hard Rock Live held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Throughout the show, Jon Davison carried the songs perfectly and with the joy and passion that the songs require.  Perhaps, this show and tour was as enjoyable as it was, because Davison feels more comfortable with the band and they with him.  Either way, the main part of the show concluded with the band receiving a standing ovation as they ripped through the ending of Heart of the Sunrise.

Yes performs at Hard Rock Live held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the encore the band predictably played “I’ve Seen All Good People” while the audience all stood and danced along.  The band then surprisingly jumped into “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”  I was expecting “Starship Trooper” but it was a pleasant surprise though.  The band did an extended version as Steve Howe shredded through the end of the song.  Howe was solid throughout the show as was the entire band.  I did leave the feeling more positive about the band as they clearly are ready to keep playing for years to come.  Here’s hoping they play more obscure songs in future tours from some other albums too.

Yes performs at Hard Rock Live held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Setlist:

Close to the Edge:
Siberian Khatru
And You and I
Close to the Edge
Songs From Heaven and Earth:
Believe Again
The Game
Fragile:
Roundabout
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
Encore:
I’ve Seen All Good People
Owner of a Lonely Heart

 

Photo Credit: Larry Marano (C) 2014

  • Totally have to disagree with this review. I was there, as I have for nearly every Yes tour for the last four decades (saw my first tour in 1976…my very first concert). This show was not up to Yes’ historically tight standard IMO. There were some tempo transitions within songs where the band seemed to awkwardly slow the tempo down to achieve. Yes NEVER did that in the past. John Davison, though competent, does not have the richness of Anderson’s voice. No fault of his, just what it is. I think their age is finally catching up with them. Chris Squire has lost some of his youthful energy. And the two new songs just are not very good. With all that said, the quality of musicianship of this Yes concert, like every Yes concert, is still far superior than most any other musical performers out there today. They still rule the prog roost.

    • Michael Harty

      I agree about Yes only seen them 4 times 3 times in the late 70’s and then last year at the Gibson theater at universal studios in Los Angeles and they were lacking energy Steve seemed tired but I’d like to recommend Kansas. They are still very good and even though Steve Walsh is leaving the band the new line up with Ronnie Platt singing and a new keyboardist should prove to pump new energy into the band and possibly new music.

      • deanobalino

        YES Michael! Kansas has been rejunvinated and I am hoping that the new release is going to exceed all hope and expectations as a classic Kansas album!

    • Sean Gaffney

      I don’t agree with this review either. I saw Yes last night at Bayou Music Center in Houston and the show was very lackluster. I’ve seen several incarnations of the band and each lineup delivered a tight show. This time around it was sad to hear them having a tough time with the demands of the music on Close to the Edge and Fragile. The new music was good and seemed to be rehearsed. South Side of the Sky was a high point. The remainder of the show seemed “phoned in” with Howe and Downes misfiring on several songs. Squire’s sound was poor, very muddy with no mid to high end punch; he seemed to play an abridged version of The Fish – like he had somewhere to be and just needed to get it over with. Alan White missed and simplified too many fills, struggled with time changes and it affected the rest of the band. The whole band murdered 5% for Nothing, even with Alan playing to a click track. I saw another review describing this as White slogging through his contractual obligation; which is spot on. It seemed that anything beyond 4/4 time was a real challenge to the band. I’m glad they are still out there playing, but it just came off as unrehearsed. The band was missing the dynamics I remember from past shows, which really undermines the orchestral nature of the full albums that were played. Yes’ music is incredibly challenging and I salute anyone who has the brass ones to play it in front of a crowd; I could have understood and probably enjoyed it if I saw a cover band last night, but that was not the case. Maybe the dexterity isn’t there anymore, which is completely understandable.

  • Paul Hewitson

    I have to admit i have not seen Yes live as i live in a seaside town in Wales near Cardiff and every time Yes have played Cardiff i have been gigging myself much to my disappointment. I do though have to say that Jon D does a very admirable job and all video’s i have seen of him,he is passionate and faithful to the original song’s. I wish people would give him a chance as i believe he will take the band to the next stage in their journey. On a different point “Fly from here” was the first Yes album i have ever disliked. Drama being one of my favorite along with Talk. FFH was a very poor attempt to follow up Drama as i think most will agree?
    Heaven and Earth i feel is a great album and,yes Jon co-wrote most of the song’s so they are not going to be in the same vein as earlier albums we all love and cherish. Please,please give Jon a chance.The guy has passion for the old and new music and does the song’s justice. Yes have always been a great band whoever is fronting them (Mr David was questionable though in my opinion) and i’m sure they will continue to be so. Peace and Love to all. XXX.

  • Kenny Stewart

    I’ve seen YES many times but never with David Beniot. This tour I happened to see in Northfield (Cleveland. Ohio), Musically speaking, including vocals, I thought it was one of the best YES concerts I have ever seen.



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