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Yes Concert Review 1979
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The Classic YES Lineup
Yes this was excitement going to my first Yes concert on June 18th 1979 at the Civic Center in Springfield, Ma. Being The Tormato Tour, in support of the album of the same name, with the classic lineup of; Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White and Rick Wakeman. As the arena went pitch black, the band seemed to appear onstage almost magically on this in the round stage.
In my seat 6 rows from the stage the first sound I heard was Steve Howe’s guitar hooking into the song Siberian Khatru, his long hair bouncing around, covering his face. Quickly you hear Alan Whites drums texturing into the mix and you feel, I mean really felt the thundering bass of founding member Chris Squire shaking the building. This was an exciting time for Yes as popular keyboard player Rick Wakeman had rejoined the band physically as well as spiritually for the 1977 studio release of the Going For The One album. It was his added flair that made this tour a sellout.
The set list that evening was; Siberian Khatru,
Heart Of The Sunrise,
Circus Of Heaven,
Time And A Word/Long Distance Runaround/Survival/The Fish/Perpetual Change/Soon
Clap, Arriving UFO,
Awaken, Leaves Of Green,
I've Seen All Good People and
The new Tormato songs Future Times, Circus of Heaven and Arriving UFO were played fast and crisp and were great set list additions to the older songs. Other highlights included the song Heart Of The Sunrise with Squires Bass and Wakemans Keyboards going back and forth in a halting manner. The song ended violently in a musical sense as Jon Andersons alto tenor voice hit the E5 notes. Yes I said he sang it violently! As I look back years later at that song’s performance I realize that Jon always was and is the Lead singer of Yes. Having never seen them before I now realized that Jon Anderson was a deeply spiritual person, the way he spoke between songs was interesting and somewhat profound.
During the playing of their rock anthem Starship Trooper Chris Squire was having fun, playing to the crowd and making the arena shake while playing his bass loudly. Alan White's drumming never seemed to tire, and Wakeman's presence brought out the best in all the other band members as he dazzled with his hand held keyboard, worn around his neck like a guitar.
For the encore of Roundabout, it's volume seemed to be the highest of any song of the evening, Steve’s guitar sizzled and you could still hear each band member cleanly, losing nothing in the mix in this 2 hour plus show.
What was interesting was that in February 1979, the day the tickets went I sale, my friends and I drove to the Springfield Civic Center after school, and arriving at 2 p.m. in the afternoon we were able to get tickets in the 6th row on the floor.
After the concert, arriving back to my home at about 1 a.m., I was exhausted but still on that Yes music high. This was one of the best times of my life. At a bit over 2 hours long- little did I know it was the best Yes concert out of the 20 times I'd ever see them !