Lunatic's Serenade

Yes at The Joint, Las Vegas 8/8/14

The air is thick with the scent of psychedelia as I see folks in tie dye t-shirts smoking pot scented vapor. My family and a couple of friends hit the Joint again - this time to see the fathers of Progressive Rock, YES. (last time I saw these guys was on the Big Generator tour in 1988).

The first half hour was taken up by the opening band whose name escapes me. They had an unusual sound what with the mandolin player doing lead guitar stuff. Sad to say, their version of jazz was not our cup of tea. (My daughter, on the other hand had more an open mind to their music) Anyway, the reason for this review is tell you that the old fogies have not lost their touch.

Steve Howe (guitars), Chris Squire (Bass), Alan White (Drums) Geoff Downes (Keys) and youngster Jon Davidson time warp us back to 1972's "Close to the Edge" and 1971's "Fragile". (Steve Howe even said they were doin’ it backwards.)

The experimental jazz progression of Close to the Edge has a lot of different sounds; from free jazz to middle Eastern (or Yoga Jazz) to hard rock. They open with "Close to the Edge"(1972) and its four counterparts; this time, making an 18 minute song last about 25 minutes with longer solos for the keys, guitar and bass. Again with the 2nd song "And You and I" (with another four parts) sends you into transcendental meditated fits. Then to end the first section of the show with a more modern jazz-meets-rock-8-minute tune "Siberian Khatru".

Did I mention that Yes has a new record? Well they do and it's really good. Unfortunately they only played two numbers here. "Believe Again" and "The Game". But continuing on with the songs of "Fragile" (1971). A real crowd pleaser and every bass player’s goal, "Roundabout" starts act 2 of the show. Cutting in on the classical action, Geoff (keys) goes off on "Cans and Brahms". (A keyboard solo consisting of parts of Brahms Fourth Symphony) "We have Heaven", "South side of the Sky" and a 45 second piece of experimental jazz called "Five Per Cent for Nothing" lead into every ones favorite - "Long Distance Runaround". (Another bass lover’s song).

"The Fish" is next and then Steve Howe kicked everyone off the stage as he played his classical guitar on the instrumental "Mood for a Day". He turns his 3 minute tune into 4 and a half glorious minutes of serenity. And the last track from Fragile is "Heart of the Sunrise"...

"If you have not heard YES, you must check them out now."

Oh....but it ain’t over yet, my psychedelic phrendz...

"I've seen all Good People" from "the Yes Album" and, (I know you know this one...) "Owner of a Lonely Heart" was the encore tunes. I left the venue with a contact high and flowers in my hair. (Not really - the scented vapor didn't do a thing to me.) Although the band was incredible, killer, tight-knit and awesome - the singer sounded too much like the original vocalist Jon Anderson.

I would do it again in a heartbeat, but for now I'm gonna listen to the other Yes records in my collection like “90125", "Big Generator" ,'The Yes Album" and "Heaven and Earth" to keep me going. If you have not heard YES, you must check them out now. It's never too late feed your mind good rock n roll.

Tim Duran, HMS

Lunatic's Serenade Menu