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ConcertsYes @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham 05/04/2014

Posted on Sunday, May 11 2014 @ 12:29:10 CDT by Dean Pedley
Progressive Rock Yes returned to Birmingham's Symphony Hall for a presentation of the "three classic albums" show that has been playing to North American audiences throughout 2013 the three being Close To The Edge, Going For The One and The Yes Album. Their first UK tour since November 2011 the band was met by a sold out crowd many of whom were experiencing Jon Davison behind the mic for the very first time.

A largely stripped back presentation with minimal stage lighting the band does employ the use of a rear screen for assorted visuals and, should anyone forget, the names of the songs as they are performed. And having made the decision to present the albums in their original running order means Yes duly open with 'Close to the Edge' itself when there are undoubtedly songs better suited to allowing their vocalist the chance to make his mark. Nevertheless Davison is received warmly by the crowd in much the same way as his predecessor and he is particularly impressive on a majestic 'And You And I'. Steve Howe never fails to impress and seems to revel in an opportunity to up the tempo with 'Going for the One'. The rarely played 'Turn of the Century' is a show stopping highlight and they close the first half with 'Awaken' that allows Davison another chance to shine. It is, however, unfortunate that the configuration of the stage means Geoff Downes plays much of the set with his back to the crowd which makes him appear somewhat less engaged than his bandmates.

The Yes Album takes up the second half of the show and most of the material has been the cornerstone of Yes shows over the past decade 'Yours Is No Disgrace', 'I've Seen All Good People' and 'Starship Trooper' have rarely been absent. The latter allows Chris Squire the chance to prowl front and centre and wring the neck of his bass as if his life depends on it. Howe once again delivers a flawless version of 'Clap' and the show moves to its close with 'Perpetual Change'. No Yes performance is truly complete without 'Roundabout' and, after much urging by Davison, the crowd eventually rises to its feet for the encore.

This was a show based unashamedly around nostalgia but Yes will shortly be releasing a new album (Heaven & Earth) and taking it on the road through North America this summer. European audiences may have longer to wait for new material but on this evidence the enduring appeal of Yes shows no sign of diminishing.

Close To The Edge
And You And I
Siberian Khatru
Going For The One
Turn Of The Century
Wonderous Stories
Yours Is No Disgrace
Starship Trooper
I've Seen All Good People
A Venture
Perpetual Change

Words by Dean Pedley
Images by Rich Ward of Classic Rock Photography

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