For their latest live flourish, prog rock veterans Yes are playing not just one classic album, but three of their best-loved LPs in one sitting. Given their reputation for musical excess, the wonder was that the time actually flew by in their engaging company.
YES - Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow
* * * *
Always musical outsiders, they reeled in the faithful from the first bars of Close To The Edge, its weird, exotic frisson stemming from the precise and true guitar work of Steve Howe (the professor of prog), the fluidity of the rhythms, tightly woven time signature changes, haunting harmonies and baroque organ.
New vocalist Jon Davison appeared to be channelling original frontman Jon Anderson sonically, visually and spiritually with his benign hippy presence and sweet falsetto tone, but really came into his own when he had a melody to bite down on. He found his mojo on the title track of Going For The One and Wonderous Stories, turning in a subtly shamanic performance. Awaken was a mighty psychedelic summons, guest-starring Chris Squire’s magnificently ostentatious triple-necked bass.
Following the interval, the group revisited the bluesier sounds of The Yes Album, an ambitious, rangey collection encompassing Howe’s quaint solo instrumental Clap and a real meatiness at the core of Starship Trooper.
At worst, their arcane display tipped over into loveable nonsense, especially lyrically, but at best it was a reminder of the virtues of steering your own artistic course. If you make adventurous music, your audience will happily be swept along on the trip.
Seen on 02.05.14