Friday, July 26, 2002
When it comes to Yes, it's all about the lineup.
England's longest-running and most successful progressive rock band has counted dozens of revolving members since its inception in 1968, and one of its most revered took the stage before a small but fervent audience Tuesday at Verizon. Guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire, drummer Alan White, vocalist Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman ï¿½ a combination that hadn't performed together since the late '70s ï¿½ delivered a three-hour set of some of the band's most obscure and lengthy material.
This was not a show aimed at "Owner of a Lonely Heart" fans.
Donned in garb that ranged from purple jogging suits to Harry Potter robes, the fiftysomething members opened with the exotic "Siberian Khatru" before launching into a nearly unrecognizable cover of Paul Simon's "America."
By the time the sun went down and the band kicked into the breakneck "Heart of the Sunrise" (enjoy the irony of the song's name?), the five began to loosen up. Even the title track from last year's "Magnification" found a kinetic groove, distancing itself from the band's more recent New Age mystical ramblings, perhaps better suited for across the parking lot at the Renaissance Festival.
As always, Yes' labyrinthine musicianship was stellar. Everyone brandished a solo feature, including Howe's classical guitar piece and Squire's extended bass tour de force on "The Fish," where he quoted riffs from "Sound Chaser" and "Tempus Fugit."
For the encore, Yes unveiled a shortened version of its signature hit "Roundabout," followed by a dynamic rendering of the epic "Yours is No Disgrace." Those attending this reunification proved there was no disgrace in still appreciating the same rock band after four decades. The undeniable talent of Yes remained ageless.