Review by Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
Photos by Juli Cialone www.imagestoinspire.org
Canandaigua, NY – The classic Rock double bill featuring the legendary progressive rock band Yes and guitar hero Peter Frampton played to a decent sized and appreciative audience on Wednesday night. The lighter than excepted attendance may have been cause by the unseasonably cool weather. But those who didn’t mind throwing on a sweat jacket or two were treated to an incredible night of music played by some of the greatest musicians in rock. This was also the first time in 34 years that these two classic rock power-houses have toured together.
Co-headliner, Peter Frampton started off the evening with a passionate 90 minute performance that consisted of tracks from his historical multi-platinum selling double live release “Frampton Comes Alive” and his 2006 Grammy award winning Cd “Fingerprints.” In addition, he also found time to sneak in a few from his new CD “Thank you Mr Churchill.”
Highlights of his show included an intense version of “Black Hole Sun.” On this track Frampton just ripped on his guitar. His intense tone of his black Gibson Les Paul just cuts right through you. Frampton also used his signature vintage talk box during this track and several others throughout the evening.
Also noteworthy, were performances of “Baby, I Love Your Way,” “Feel Like I Do” and an absolutely stunning and passionate version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
The audience loved Frampton, giving him several standing ovations during his performance. Frampton played off the crowd well and was very animated throughout the evening. It is obviously that he is enjoying the resurgence of his career and he continues to entertain his audiences with extraordinary performances.
While waiting for YES to hit the stage, I was surprised that in talking to several of the audience members that they were unaware that long time vocalist Jon Anderson was no longer in the band. Anderson had some health issues a few years back and was replaced by a relatively unknown Montreal, Que native Benoit David. This 44 year old vocalist was in a YES cover band and was discovered on youtube by YES bassist Chris Squire. When Anderson’s condition improved and he was ready to rejoin the band, Squire along with bandmates Steve Howe –guitar, and Alan White-drums decided to continue with Benoit, to the dismay of Anderson. YES even plans to record a CD with Benoit later this year.
At approximately 9:30pm, The masters of progressive Rock, YES took the stage while a video of the iconic YES logo blazed across the screen with the backing intro of the classical 1910 ballet by Igor Stravinsky ”Firebird Suite.” YES then began their performance with “Tempus Fugit” from the 1980 release ‘Drama.’ The band then proceeded to play a stunning set for an hour and a half.
Although, a few idiot fans tried to voice their disapproval by yelling out Jon Anderson’s name during the show, most in the audience tolerated and even enjoyed the new singer. But while Benoit David was more than an adequate replacement for the irreplaceable Anderson, he wasn’t the main focus of the show, it was clearly the absolutely astounding performances of Howe, Squire, White and keyboardist Oliver Wakeman (son of classic YES keyboardist Rick Wakeman).
During the second song “Yours is No Disgrace” the bespeckled professor of guitar Howe displayed his amazing skills while the rhythm section of Squire and White kicked into an undeniable and infectious groove. An equally impressive performance of “Perpetual Change” soon followed.
The 63 year old guitar virtuoso Steve Howe then took center stage solo with his acoustic guitar and played a flawless rendition of the Mason Williams guitar opus “Classical Gas.” Howe had to blow on his hands several times to warm up his figures from the chill of the evening air. It was at this point that many in the audience realized that they were witnessing one of the greatest guitarist ever. Howe is simply brilliant. His ability to fuse classical, jazz, rock is unique and innovative. He cites the great Chet Atkins and Les Paul as his main inspiration for pioneering his unorthodox and influential style.
After Howe’s center stage performance the crowd rose to his feet and gave him an intense and admiring standing ovation. The rest of the band then re-joined Howe as dry ice appeared and YES kicked into “And You and I.” Soon after, the band played the radio friendly “Owner of a Lonely Heart” from their 1983 multi-platinum album ‘90125.’ Howe was not a member of the band during thie time period and did not play on this particular CD, but he did a great job of performing it and his interruption of ex-YES guitarist Trevor Rabin’s guitar solo was interesting to say the least.
YES ended the evening with the timeless Classic Rock Radio hit “Roundabout” and closed an incredible evening of amazing music. YES is a band that has class and integrity even after all of these years. There’s no doubt that their upcoming CD will be as brilliant and groundbreaking as their previous.
for more on YES www.yesworld.com
For more on Peter Frampton www.peterframpton.com
Over the last few years, WNY fans of the legendary progressive rock band YES, had to travel to the CMAC in Canadaigua, NY to see the band’s annual summer tour. But this year, these fans will be able to enjoy this show without the travel and at a ridiculously price of only $5.00 per ticket(purchased before the week of the concert). On this tour, Yes core members Chris Squire- bass, Steve Howe-guitar, Alan White – drums and Geoff Downes-Keyboards will be joined by a new vocalist, Jon Davidson.
The truly appreciate the brilliance of Yes, you must experience their live performance. When Yes performs it’s more than a concert, it’s a musical journey. The level of virtuoso musicianship of Yes is breathtaking, The complex and sophisticated interplay between world class musicians, Howe, Squire and White is truly stunning and unlike any other.
Yes who have sold over 13 million records in the United States alone and while many classic rock bands rest and their past laurels, Yes continues to create new innovative music as is evident by their 2011 release “Fly from Here.” However, the emphasis will be on the classics, the band plays many of their signature songs including: “Roundabout,” “Starship Trooper,” “Yours is No Disgrace” and many more.
Opening will be another classic rock band< Procol Harum who had a major hit with “Whiter Shade of Pale” during the summer of love in 1967.
Tickets for this event can be purchased at www.artpark.org