Jackson, NJ — Six Flags Great Adventure can be an adventurous place to see a concert. That was the case Sunday night when Yes took the stage.
Yes is currently on tour with supporting act Asia. Actually, it is hard to call Asia a supporting act. Steve Howe plays in both bands. Steve is an extraordinary guitar player. Guitar Player magazine voted him “Best Overall Guitarist” five years in a row (1977 – 1981). To play in both bands back-to-back, is an amazing feat. For someone born in 1947, it is a truly amazing feat.
As far as a rhythm section goes, Chris Squire on bass and Alan White on drums is hard to beat. (Though, often Chris’ bass playing has been called playing a lead instrument.)
Oliver Wakeman, Rick Wakemen’s son, was an interesting addition to the band. Bearing a striking resemblance to his father, he commanded the keyboards like a veteran. When first asked to join Yes, Oliver was not sure about his father’s attitude; however, he quickly gained his father’s approval. It is interesting that Yes has both the offspring effect of Oliver, as well as, the YouTube effect of lead singer Benoît David. After seeing Journey with their lead singer replacement found on YouTube, I was skeptical of Benoît singing for Yes. Not to worry, he did his part to continue the superb Yes tradition.
Yes took the stage opening with a song from Close To The Edge, Siberian Khatru (Anderson/Howe/Wakeman). The sound was rich and deep. They followed up with a song from The Yes Album, “I’ve Seen All Good People” ["Your Move" (Jon Anderson) and "All Good People" (Chris Squire)]. It was nice to see them playing a Jon Anderson song after finally having got his blessing for this tour.
Right when they announced the next song was going to be “Tempus Fugit” from the Drama album, the skies cracked with lightening, and they took a break. Ironic? Shortly thereafter, the show resumed. Then, they went way back to the Time and a Word album with “Astral Traveler” (Anderson). Having seen Yes a multitude of times, I can not recall ever having seen the song performed live. I suppose Chris Squire was the only remaining member to have played on the 1970 album.
“With the ambitious decision to use string arrangements on most of the album’s songs, Peter’s role as a guitarist was diminished. Tensions within the band increased, and just after the album’s recording was completed in early 1970, Peter was asked to leave, which he reluctantly did. Steve Howe would join the line-up that March… The US and UK releases had different album artwork; the UK version had a black-and-white drawing of a nude woman, but this was deemed inappropriate in the US. So, the cover there showed a picture of the band. Despite appearing on the US cover, Steve Howe does not play on the album.”
With disregard to the evermore threatening skis, the show continued. Unfortunately, when someone dressed in a Six Flags uniform came on the stage and whispered in Steve Howe’s ear, you could see there was a problem. “There is a storm 30 minutes away headed in this direction. There will be one more song. It is for your own safety.” The crowd let out a loud moan. The band scurried about trying to devise an impromptu plan and launched into “Roundabout” (Anderson/Howe) from the Fragile album.
Under most circumstance, a patron might feel gypped with a 5 song show. Seeing as how it was a double concert plus amusement park ticket at 1/3 the price of a usual concert ticket, it was hard to complain. Not to mention, each song was 6 – 10 minutes long making it a fairly lengthy concert. But, get this… after the show, Chris Squire, Alan White, Oliver Wakeman and Benoît David hung out, signed autographs, took pictures and answered questions for as long as the audience wanted. Maybe they felt bad about the premature ending? Or, maybe they are just good people?