I’ve been a fan for many years having first heard of Yes at 17, but until now haven’t had the chance to see them live so I was very excited to be asked to review their 50th anniversary tour in Atlanta. I was a bit disappointed however to discover that this half century celebration wasn’t enough to join the original surviving lineup and that they are still divided into two camps. One featuring the original singer Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman (my personal fave) and Trevor Rabin and the one I got to see perform featuring original members Steve Howe and Alan White and the vocalist Jon Davidson who previously was in a Yes tribute band. There was also a surprise at the encore with the appearance of original keyboardist Tony Kaye.
Although it was a 50-year celebration, they fortunately were focusing on early era 70s Yes, there was no “Owner of a lonely heart” at this show. I was delighted when they opened with my favorite Yes tune Close to the Edge, but kind of wished they had saved it for a little later as for what turned out to be almost three hours of music. Other highlights were Steve Howe’s solo song with a kind of bluegrass edge that showcased his fantastic guitar skills and the appearances of Alan White and Tony Kaye. Alan only being able to play briefly due to his back surgery. All amazingly talented musicians but I wished that they condensed their set somewhat as even as a prog fan I could only handle so much.
Words by Sasha Vallely