Sunday, 11 May 2014

Yes - The Bristol Gig

It is 6.30 am in Sheepscombe cloudy and overcast the birds are chirping in the forest . Its time for the first cup of tea and Side 2 of Going For The One.  Whats the weather like in Montreux and South Molton? Well thanks to the wonders of modern technology I can find the answer quickly, cloudy and raining respectively.

Awaken over, the clouds begin to break with the wind gusting from the North. So to the final day with this new revitalised Yes. Oh what larks we will have.  

I arrive in Bristol at 3.30 and enjoy a happy time exploring the gentrified dock land area. However there is that bitterly cold north wind, and so I avail myself of a Cappuccino when I arrive at Da Vinci's to restore the blood circulation. Mind you having asked for a cup, I seem to have landed a bucket. I am going to be absolutely wired for the concert.

Ian, Judith and then Pete and Mel arrive and we have a thoroughly enjoyable time ; great food, good conversation as the anticipation builds towards the concert.

A very shy Ian
A slightly less shy Mel

And Pete !
We then switch to the Hatchet, where other fans of the band appear, Pete attempts and fails to take a group photo and Judith takes over from the tekkie before we head for the hippo.

It is a delightful old fashioned theatre with a lovely feel. The stage feels curiously close and yet there is a gangway separating the seating area from  the stage where various bits of gizmo-logy to do with the concert are stationed, including two cameras.


The lights go down and we are off, a great vocal reception for the band before they launch into the music. I am 2nd row so I can witness this magnificent music machine at close quarters. The sound is superb and everyone is on the money. CTTE is wonderful and Geoff, who I can see very easily, is completely on top of his responsibilities. Jon is in the zone and teases every last bit of meaning out of what I describe as the Anderson narrative. The audience is warm and appreciative, giving off energy and the right balance of reverence and enthusiasm.  For the first time, in all our experiences on this tour, there are no floor administrators or whatever they are called to be seen.

GFTO is a big hit with the audience and not for the first time the point is made to me that these live revivals of the five pieces have reinvigorated peoples enthusiasm for the music. It is now 14 hours since I heard the studio version and Awaken live knocks the studio version out of the park. Geoff takes all his cues, indeed he nails his climaxing solo and pulls off the final run and then looks into audience as if to say got it tonight.  Chris's work on the triple neck is the most dynamic I have ever witnessed punching out his phrases with supreme confidence.

The first half leaves me in the most profoundly moved place I have ever been at a Yes concert.  A faultless performance presented with superb sound in a a lovely theatre.      

The sense of spiritual evocation in the first half is so great that the atmosphere the TYA creates is even more markedly different. The rest of the concert is fun, energised with Chris ripping of his phrases as he creates a kaleidoscope of sounds at turns large rounded and musical at others those grinding curling trade mark forays.

Steve receives huge applause for "Clap" and for  me he sits perfectly in the mix tonight. I particularly enjoyed his super fast Wes Montgomerisms in SK. But to be honest one could append a superlative to just about every solo of the night.

"A Venture" worked perfectly tonight with a clean crisp outro and soulful piano playing from GD. Then into PC and as we veer into the final moment a huge explosion occurs …of confetti. The piece is played with the right mixture of accuracy and unrestrained fire and that combined with the confetti gambit brings the concert to a close to a huge cry of approval from the hippo crowd. Once again no house staff and we can have fun during Roundabout. The second generation lady next to me attending with her mum is well in to it and it is all joyous harmless fun and a perfect example of why we are perfectly capable of self regulation.

A slight hiccup as we dash for the Colston Yard to find it closed and finish in the pub next to the theatre. We say our goodbyes, hoping the remarks about a quick return are true so that once again musical Heaven returns to Earth.

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