By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida–October 11, 2017
Rock At Night is definitely a Jon Anderson and Yes fan as we have enthusiastically featured The Anderson Ponty Band and Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman (ARW) in the past. It was just this April that Yes was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with members Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Tony Kaye, the late Chris Squire, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman, and Alan White. This honor was way over due, in my opinion, as these guys laid down the foundation for Prog Rock.
So finally, I was excited to see ARW at my favorite venue, Ruth Eckerd Hall, in Clearwater, Florida. The acoustics are always primo, the seats comfortable, and the lighting, well, PERFECT. What more can one ask? Since I was a poor teenager in the day I never had the opportunity to see Yes during their Prog Rock hey-day (except for the 80s- 90125 era), so this was a special treat. Last year I saw the touring Yes incarnate with Steve Howe but without Jon Anderson, it just did not have that “oomph”. Let’s face it, Jon Anderson IS Yes!
ARW started the evening with “Cinema” by reincarnating the eighties, with two of the original members of that era, Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin. Then, the band segued into “Perpetual Change” with keyboard virtuoso, Rick Wakeman, behind the massive semi-circle of synth and keyboard wonder. Hearing any song mix of polyrhythms and poetic lyrics totally took me back to my “tube top days”, cruising in my boyfriend’s conversion van, and playing the cassette full blast. Actually, by gazing into the jam packed audience, some of the concert patrons were still dressed in the attire of the era. There were plenty of concert t-shirts, short-shorts, skin-tight tank tops, and “Yes” tattoos proudly on display.
Rabin did a wonderful job of singing harmonies during the show and switched out guitars for almost every song. Anderson never seems to age, despite some health issues in the past, as he is blessed with a full head of hair–and his voice seems to be as magical as it ever was. He quipped between songs saying “I need to lie down and have a cup of tea” and bowed, pursing his hands together in gratitude, as he received several standing ovations during the evening. He added, “It would mean anything without you!”
During the playing of the song “Awaken”, I noticed a couple of fans, standing with arms and palms raised, as if in mass. Wakeman was a wild man on the organ and a sight to behold. He was switching between synths, organ, and piano, like the master at his throne. Of course, he was donning the traditional Prog Rock cape, and resembled perhaps, Henry the 8th, behind a colossal keyboard. Really, listening to old Yes is like hearing modern classical music. My thought was, “How did these guys compose this complicated, beautiful music at such a young age?”
A really welcome part of the evening was listening to Lee Pomeroy on bass faithfully reproduce the Chris Squire parts. Louis Molino III was a joy to watch as he drummed and added special percussive touches with mallets on toms, xylophones, and triangle “pings”, familiar to Yes songs. During the evening Anderson added acoustic guitar and even harp to the mix as Yes songs were brought to life.
The evening came to a close with “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, a song penned by Rabin, which put Yes back on the charts during the New Wave and Arena Rock Era of the 80s. Rabin, many may not realize, is a master of film scores, so it is always wonderful to see him play live. Finally, the band paid homage to Cream by playing “Sunshine of Your Love” and ended the evening with the wildly favorite “Roundabout” as the encore.
- Perpetual Change
- Hold On
- South Side of the Sky
- And You and I
- Rhythm of Love
- I Am Waiting
- Heart of the Sunrise
- Owner of a Lonely Heart
- Sunshine of Your Love
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