YES, John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, June 19, 2018
The opulence of the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre with the captivating majesty of the YES experience was the absolute winning combination on a warm and gorgeous Tuesday night in the Hollywood hills. As the sun was beginning to set, the legendary YES made their way to the stage, ready to celebrate their 50 Year Anniversary with the concert of a lifetime. Out onto the stage arrived a collection of the most respected musicians on the planet – Steve Howe (guitar), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Jon Davison (vocals), Billy Sherwood (bass), and Jay Schellen (drums) – and what a dazzling set of YES songs they all had in store for the audience! Opening with the colossal Close To The Edge from 1972, YES certainly set the night in motion with one of their most epic selections.
One noticed right away the soaring vocals of Jon Davison, weaving a vibrant sense of magic and intrigue throughout the vast YES catalog of tunes. And then there was the one and only Steve Howe, whose world renowned guitar work was wondrous to behold! Geoff Downes remains a revelation of keyboards, his atmospheric touches coloring in the songs with imagination and flair. Billy Sherwood supplies a commanding low end on bass while drummer Alan White delivers the textured beats with style and grace. Within Act One of the show, YES unveiled an hour of glorious perfection, featuring selections for their vast catalog such as Nine Voices, Fly From Here, Sweet Dreams, and Heart Of The Sunrise.
Act Two of YES 50 was even more spectacular, featuring four masterworks that sent the John Anson Ford into a rapturous state of splendor. The sun had now set, and the luminous stage lights and staggering tunes were sheer excellence being witnessed within the amphitheater setting. Perpetual Change from The Yes Album would kick off the second portion of the evening, followed by the sweeping refrains of Does It Really Happen? from their critically acclaimed Drama magnum opus. Soon from Relayer was then presented upon the YES audience. And then it was time for a special guest – or two. Original drummer Alan White took over drum duties with Jay Schellen moving to percussion, and the YES membership closed out Act Two with a dazzling presentation of Awaken from Going For The One – 15-plus minutes of sonic bliss to be sure!
For the very much deserved encore, YES invited original member Tony Kaye onstage, who adding his own vibrant keyboard interludes to the final three songs of the night. With both Tony Kaye and Alan White aboard with the current YES membership, the grand finale was nothing short of mesmerizing. Yours Is No Disguise was up first, followed by a powerhouse rendition of the worldwide radio hit single Roundabout. And to conclude the fabulous night of music was the heroic progressive rock reveries of Starship Trooper, enveloping the massive wilderness surroundings of the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. YES at 50 presents each and every member at the height of their creative energies, unleashing timeless compositions that will remain within our consciousness for an eternity. Do not miss YES 50 when they arrive to captivate your town with their thrilling auditory tapestries!
1. Close to the Edge
2. Nine Voices (Long Walker)
4. Mood for a Day
5. Leaves of Green
6. Fly from Here part 1
7. Sweet Dreams
8. Heart of the Sunrise
9. Perpetual Change
10. Does It Really Happen
12. Awaken (With Alan White)
13. Yours Is No Disgrace (With Tony Kaye and Alan White)
14. Roundabout (With Tony Kaye and Alan White)
15. Starship Trooper (With Tony Kaye and Alan White)
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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