17 March 2013, 69 Faces of Rock

Yes is undertaking its most ambitious tour since the infamous Masterworks tour back in 2000. Back then they focused on more demanding pieces from their catalog, this time it’s three full individual albums! The albums in question are “Close To The Edge,” “Going For The One,” and “The Yes Album.” A real treat for the fans indeed.

The band hit the stage with “Close To The Edge,” and after the first few seconds it was obvious it was a night to remember! The group unleashed this fine intensity, and they pretty much kept that up until the very last notes of “Roundabout.” Instrumentally, Yes, was powerful, well oiled, and paid a lot of attention to the smallest detail. There is a level of instrumental wizardry these men simply do not fall under.

Of course many eyes were turned on Jon Davison, the new vocalist. Davison made a great impression last August when Yes introduced him to the Chicago audiences. As impressive as he was back then, he got even better! Davison appears to be very relaxed, and does not show any fatigue when singing any of the songs. His strength certainly shined during tracks like “Going For The One,” which includes a variety of vocal twists and turns, but especially the semi-acoustic “Turn Of The Century,” where was pretty much left to his own devices. Davison’s fine delivery definitely energized the band.

Guitarist Steve Howe was very precise, often changing guitars to get the best sound out of each song, some seen for the very first time. He certainly brought a lot of equipment along, and gave his best. Keyboardist, Geoff Downes, added his own twist to many of the songs, and in some cases he stayed faithful to the original notes and sounds. Drummer, Alan White, provided a solid tempo, and surprising punch here and there. Bassist, Chris Squire, unleashed one gallop after another, and even played harmonica at one point. His bass was pounding, and making sure everyone blood pressure stayed at the desired level, although some were difficult to control. And when the three-neck bass made its appearance during “Awaken,” people just cheered! That instrument is slowly getting a personality of its own. But all in good measure.

Yes made the place jump, and left the place overjoyed. The three classic albums were a winning combination, and who could argue with the choice of the material? Although, some tracks were performed for the first time, a fact that only added to the overall presentation. This was one of a kind concert, and it may never happen again, so catch this tour if you can. Plenty of standing ovations, and well deserved enthusiasm.

Mark Kadzielawa