Photos/review by Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
Lewiston, NY – The legendary classic rock and prog rock originators – Yes played to a nearly sold-out audience on this brutally hot July evening. With the temperature soaring near 97 degrees, and the threat of violent thunderstorms, some Yes fans may have decided to sit this one out. But for the 10,000 that decided to tolerate the heat, they were treated to a spectacular show, even though it was cut short a few songs because of a pending “dangerous electrical storm” a few miles away.
Yes kicked the evening of with one of their classic track, “Yours is No Disgrace.” Right from the start, you could sense that this was going to be a great show. Yes core members: Steve Howe – guitar, Chris Squire – bass, Alan White – drums, Geoff Downes – keyboards, along with new vocalist Jon Davison, were all smiles and seemed to really appreciate the large and enthusiastic audience. It was also quite impressive to see how the Yes audience has grown, from a bunch of old classic rock geezers, to music lovers of all ages. It is a real testimony to the timeless and extraordinary music that Yes has created over their 40 year plus career.
While the musical clinic that Howe, Squire, White and Downes displayed during the evening was breathtaking, it was new vocalist Jon Davison who really shined, impressed and won over the stubborn and doubting fans. While many Yes fans will forever want original vocalist Jon Anderson back in the band, Davison, who was only playing his fourth North American date with the band, was a welcomed addition, and a much better fit than original Jon Anderson replacement – Benoit David (who was in Yes for four years and recorded their last studio album, “Fly from Here” and a subsequent live album while in the band). Davison’s spot on vocals blended beautifully with the pitch perfect harmonies of Squire and Howe, especially on the fan favorite and third track of the evening, “I’ve Seen All Good People.”
Halfway through the set, the professor of guitar, Steve Howe took center stage to perform his infamous acoustic guitar opus, “Clap,” which for any guitarist, is a difficult piece to perform. However, Howe did it brilliantly and effortlessly. He is truly a guitar genius and in a league of his own. Of course, afterwards he received a heartfelt standing ovation.
Surprisingly next, the band performed a good portion of the brilliant and back to form 2011 release, “Fly from Here.” It was a risky move, but the audience seemed to enjoy it just as much as they did hearing the classics. This is truly a great release and possibly one of he best in the band’s catalog, and at least their most creative and constant release in decades.
Yes followed up the “Fly from Here” selections by performing their huge 1983, top 40 hit, “Owner of Lonely Heart.” This song may have been thrown in the mix to please the few casual fans. Many of the die-hards dislike this song because it’s too poppy and commericial and was recorded during a period when Steve Howe was not in the band. Interestingly, Howe seemed like he enjoyed playing it, at least on this evening.
The band’s performance was abruptly ended after “Heart of the Sunrise,” when their manager Paul Silveira came on stage and told Steve Howe that the band must end the show immediately, because of the pending aforementioned electrical storm. Howe then announced it to the very disappointed audience. It was then that Chris Squire said, “Steve is just being chicken, we can do one more.” Silveria then went to Squire and explained that they had to leave the stage immediately, which Squire and the rest of the band reluctantly did. And although their was some lightning in the distance, the storm never arrived, but Yes, even with their shortened set, certainly did.
Yours is No Disgrace
I’ve Seen All Good People
Mood for a Day
Fly From Here – Overture
Fly From Here – Pt I – We Can Fly
Fly From Here – Pt II – Sad Night at the Airfield
Fly From Here – Pt III – Madman at the Screens
Fly From Here – Pt IV – Bumpy Ride
Fly From Here – Pt I – We Can Fly
Owner of a Lonely Heart
Heart of the Sunrise
A very special thanks to Maria Costello for allowing us to cover this great event. To see a list of additional events coming to Artpark, please visit www.artpark.net