Prog-rock icons Yes continue their successful album series tour and they made a stop at the Hard Rock Rocksino on July 28th. This time out, the band is playing the entire Drama album from start to finish as well as sides one and four from Tales From Topographic Oceans.
Yes has always been a band of revolving musicians and this tour is no different. After the passing of founding member Chris Squire last year, long time collaborator Billy Sherwood has taken his place on the bass. Squire’s presence is missed, as he was the only member to play on every Yes album. However, Sherwood is a great musician in his own right and he did a fantastic job filling those very large shoes.
Long time Yes member and former member of the super-group Asia, Geoff Downes was on keyboards. Downes surrounded himself with nine different keyboards and synthesizers to go along with three different laptops and a tablet. Jon Davison, who’s voice is incredibly similar to original singer Jon Anderson, held down the vocals, acoustic guitar, and percussion. Drummer Alan White recently had back surgery and unfortunately has to miss the first part of this tour. Former Hurricane drummer, Jay Schellen did a commendable job filling in for White on just six days notice.
The lone mainstay of the band is guitar virtuoso Steve Howe. Still nimble fingered at 69 years old, Howe effortlessly made his way up and down the fretboard. He would switch between different Stratocasters, Les Paul’s, and Gibson’s, including his iconic brown ES. He also played a steel guitar which would slide in front of his mic stand from the side of the stage when it was needed.
The band opened with “Machine Messiah,” the first track from the 1980 Drama album, and didn’t take a pause until the entire thirty-six minute album was flawlessly played.
Howe introduced the band and wished a “quick convalescence” to drummer Alan White. The band finished the first set with “Time and a Word” and “Siberian Khatru.”
After a 20 minute intermission, the band returned to play “You and I” from Close to the Edge. They then launched into the two sides from Tales From Topographic Oceans.
When side four was complete, the familiar chords of “Roundabout” got the crowd on it’s feet and the people towards the front of the stage even made a makeshift pit so they could get up close and personal to the band.
The 2 1/2 hour concert came to a close with a stirring version of “Starship Trooper.”