Yes, The Orpheum Theater, August 30, 2016
The legendary prog-rock masters YES brought their highly successful The Album Series: Drama + Topographic 1 & 4 tour to the opulent Orpheum Theatre in Downtown L.A., and what an absolute stunning performance it was!
Featuring their critically acclaimed album Drama from 1980 unveiled in its entirety, as well as sides one and four of 1973’s double album Tales From Topographic Oceans, this was certainly a not-to-be missed show for longtime Yes fans – as well as other looking a night of glorious auditory intrigue all within the walls of a historic theatre.
And while the late Chris Squire was profoundly missed, Yes continues on in his honor, featuring the participation of Steve Howe (guitar), Jon Davison (vocals), Billy Sherwood (bass) and Geoff Downes (keyboards). Jay Schellen of Hurricane was also in attendance on drums while Alan White recovers from back surgery. Yes kicked off the show promptly at 8:00, enveloping the gorgeous Orpheum Theatre with a massive presentation of lights and sound.
Opening their set with the vast and epic Machine Messiah, which is also the first track from the almighty Drama, one could see right away a collection of true artists at the very height of their craft. Steve Howe remains an absolute visionary on guitar, delivering his intricate tapestries with skill and grace.
Geoff Downes may have been towards the back a bit, but his wondrously imaginative keyboard work cast a magical spell throughout the entire theatre. Billy Sherwood was the perfect stand-in for the late Chris Squire – an impassioned musician in his own right, who supplied a dazzling low end on bass. Squire and Sherwood were good friends, and even collaborated on a few albums together.
Jon Davison is the current vocalist for Yes, and his spiraling vocals were exciting to hear! Davison’s own credits include being within the membership of Sky Cries Mary, Glass Hammer, and a Yes tribute band who went by the moniker of Roundabout. And keeping the compelling beats and rhythms with a grand intensity was Jay Schellen, driving it all home with style and flair.
After the Drama exhibition drew to its conclusion with Tempus Fugit, it was time to explore the cavernous entreaties of Topographic 1 & 4. And for those wanting to hear the magnificent Yes classics, the band happily obliged with stunning renditions of Roundabout and Starship Trooper. A tremendously stunning journey revisiting gems of the past, Yes is an international treasure who continue to challenge and inspire musicians all over the world. Here is hoping we are treated to many more editions of The Album Series, as they certainly possess a wealth of material to select from.
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
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