Yes feat. ARW (Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman) landed their progressive spaceship into a sold out York Barbican. The Quintessential Yes 50th Aniversary Tour is due to finish up at the Stone Free Festival in London next week before heading over to the US for its final leg this year.
As a fan of the band and its music, I have been lucky enough to see both incarnations this year. The ARW setlist obviously looks to the Trevor Rabin years for a big proportion of its setlist, however, this is not exclusive of some of the finest Yes music to be recorded, and of course, we get the superlative vocals of Jon Anderson, accompanied by the master of the keys, Rick Wakeman.
Opening with Cinema from the 90125 LP the expectant audience was not going to be disappointed .. after how could you be with the talent on show tonight. The three iconic front men were ably backed by Drummer, Lou Molino III and Bass player Iain Hornal who co-incidentally provide some superb backing vocals which shine on the 1971 classic “I’ve Seen All Good People”.
As we move through the 12 song setlist Anderson’s voice is both faultless and mesmerising. How does he reach those notes with such perfection? Simply stunning. But let’s not forget that Guitarist Trevor Rabin has a voice too and he indeed takes the lead vocal on another track from “90125”, “Changes”.
“Rabin’s” guitar work is another aural delight, faultless technique along with an array of effects that is simply mindblowing. Just watching his feet dancing across the pedal board was a site to see.
And then the master, the king of keys, the maestro of melodies, the one and only “Rick Wakeman”. With his eyes closed throughout most of the set he was just brilliant to watch. Robed in his trademark cape with a bank of keyboards (too many to work out them all) at his disposal the music just flowed effortlessly.
Set one came to an end with the “Rhythm of Love” from the “Big Generator” LP which was released as a follow up to “90125” and off they all trotted for a well-earned cup of tea.
Set two was all about the classic Yes years. This was mightily appreciated by the York crowd who took to their feet on more than one occasion for a standing ovation. We were even treated to a bass solo .. a rarity these days at a live show. Of course, the set was closed out the “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and corny though it may be this was the stand out track for me.
After another quick cup of tea an encore of the highest order .. the Yes classic “Roundabout”
Tonight’s show was all about the showcasing some of the finest Yes music ever written, there is no doubt it is as relevant today as it ever was, and long may it remain so.
I’ve Seen All Good People
And You and I
Rhythm of Love
I Am Waiting
Heart of the Sunrise
Owner of a Lonely Heart /Sunshine Of Your Love
Review & Photography: Mark Ellis http://shootthegroove.com