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Live Review: YES, Perth, 12 Nov, 2014

| 24 November 2014 | Reply

Live Review: YES, Perth, 12 Nov, 2014
Riverside Theatre, Perth – Wednesday 12 November, 2014
Review & Photography by Stuart McKay

There was a period in the early 70’s when prog-rock ruled supreme. Bands like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, King Crimson and Genesis were household names and scoring huge album sales worldwide. Perhaps the most ambitious band of the bunch was Yes; a band that not only embraced rock and pop sensibilities but also nurtured jazz and symphonic styles within their music and displayed a technical proficiency not entirely matched by their peers within these complex arrangements and massive soundscapes.

YES Live in Perth 12 Nov 2014 by Stuart McKay  (26)

Remarkably they released two classic albums within a year of each other. The first being Fragile in ’71 and Close To The Edge in ’72. These were the two albums that Yes would be playing to a modest but eager crowd at The Crown Theatre tonight.

The band’s entrance was preceded by a montage showing a series of pictures, artwork and film from the band in various stages of their career on the big screen and was a nice touch to show the enormity of their work, which they are still expanding on to this day.

YES Live in Perth 12 Nov 2014 by Stuart McKay (1)

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They wasted no time beginning proceedings with the epic 18 minute Close To The Edge. It’s a song that perfectly demonstrates what Yes are all about – brilliant song structuring with catchy melodies, encapsulated in a display of virtuosity. The most evident display of this musical proficiency is watching Steve Howe. Seeing those quick paced jazzy flourishes and chord progressions up close is truly awe inspiring, and a testament to the Yes sound. After seamlessly navigating their way through the album they broke up the impending performance of Fragile with a couple of songs from their new album Heaven & Earth. Playing Believe Again and The Game, these new songs, although vastly different from the classic sound, still had a rousing quality to them with some signature tonal texturing from Howe that let you know that it was still Yes you were watching.

Once they dove into Fragile with the bass-driven Roundabout it was clear that this was the album that the fans came to see live. New singer Jon Davison with an almost identical tone to Jon Anderson, did a fantastic job of staying true to the songs and with the pitch perfect harmonies from Howe and Squire to back him up it was impossible for it not to work. However, drummer Alan White looked like he was going through the motions a bit and his lack of passion had a detrimental effect on the music as a whole and subsequently sucked a lot of the energy from their performance. All that being said, it was still such a delight to see this album being played live and songs like Long Distance Runaround and Mood For A Day were definite highlights. Not unsurprisingly it was the album’s closer, Heart Of The Sunrise that stole the show. The transitions between tempo changes were spot on, Chris Squire’s bass tone was enormous and Stevison’s vocal performance – majestic.

They returned with an encore performance of I’ve Seen All Good people and the biggest hit of their career, Owner Of A Lonely Heart probably garnering the biggest response from the crowd.

Yes may not be filling stadiums like they did in the golden age of Prog but what they still have is a loyal fan base and judging by the many young faces in attendance tonight, the music will live on long after they cease to be.

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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