SHOW REPORT: Yes (Ottawa, Ontario)
Live at Southam Hall, National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Ontario on March 30th, 2014.
Some people might say that progressive rock legends Yes are not worth to be mentioned on a metal portal but I guess I have to disagree. The influence of this band on several progressive metal acts and on rock music in general is so important that I think it’s worth to cover the band’s recent tour that let them through Canada. I was lucky enough to catch them up in Ottawa where the band performed in the stunning National Arts Centre in the beautiful Southam Hall in the heart of Canada’s capital.
The band delivered a visually stunning, technically appealing and emotionally convincing concert of around two hours without any opening act. Yes performed three of its legendary records in their entirety. After a nice visual introduction of these albums underplayed by the sounds of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird Suite”, the band hit the stage to perform its milestone “Close To The Edge” in a psychedelic and spiritual atmosphere. New singer Jon Davison didn’t feel out of place at all with the older members Steve Howe on guitars, Chris Squire on bass guitar, Geoff Downes on keyboards and Alan White on drums and percussion. His vocals recalled the performances of original singer Jon Anderson in his best years. He was visibly enjoying his presence on stage and the band conquered the quite mixed crowd by storm. The band went on to perform the famous “And You And I” as well as the atmospheric masterpiece “Siberian Khatru” to close the performance of this record that can easily be cited as one of the best progressive rock albums ever made.
Up next was the album “Going For The One”. While it’s not the band’s strongest output in my opinion, I think that it’s still a fairly underrated record. The five songs from the album worked very well on stage and were almost as captivating as the first three tracks of the set. The vivid rock and roll anthem “Going For The One”, the floating “Turn Of The Century” and the highly diversified “Awaken” were probably my personal highlights. The band did a short intermission of around twenty minutes after this second part of the set which gave me some time to have a drink at a surprisingly reasonable price and to realize that the merchandise section of the band was rather expensive and incomplete.
Last but not least, the band went back to its early days by performing “The Yes Album” in its entirety. While the record is not as strong as “Close To The Edge” in my opinion, it is quite close and the live performance was really magical with classics such as “Yours Is No Disgrace”, “Starship Trooper” and “I’ve Seen All Good People”. At this point, the crowd on the three different levels of this theatre truly celebrated the band with standing ovations after each song. By the end of the last song of the regular set, nobody in the crowd wanted the band to go.
Yes came back to perform a very last track, the sophisticated and technically challenging “Roundabout” from their “Fragile” album. While the song is surely great, it’s not the best track to close a concert with in my humble opinion. On the other side, it was simply great to see this legendary band play for such a long time even though one could see that bassist Chris Squire was struggling with his leg after suffering from an aneurysm in 2009.
In the end, the British progressive rock legends played a great concert around two hours plus a short intermission in a very beautiful and sophisticated location for a reasonable price. The band will continue to tour the United States of America all summer long with a live performance of the entire “Close To The Edge” and “Fragile” records. As one never knows how long these five men will still be able to tour the world at their age, anybody who cares for progressive music should try very hard to catch them up. It’s really worth it.
Photos and videos taken from Yesworld.com and Youtube.
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