24 March 2018

Yes at London Palladium

The t-shirt that I wore this evening confirm that it was four years since I first saw Yes in concert, then it was at Albert Hall. I had seen them once since then, also at Albert Hall, and also Steve Howe doing a solo gig just across the water in Teddington. I was hooked and so when they announced that they were playing at London Palladium to celebrate 50 years of their music I was keen to see them again.

Unfortunately, so were lots of other people and by the time that I got online there were no decent tickets left. Then they announced a second night and I was in quickly. Even so the price was bit of a deterrent and I settled for the top layer, Upper Circle, where seat A27 cost me £54.

That proved to be a bargain as I was right in the centre and though I was warned about the safety rail that had no impact on my view, as this photo shows.

It would not really have mattered what Yes played it was always going to be a good evening and including large chunks of Tales From Topographic Oceans merely lifted the excellent to the sublime. But let's start at the beginning.

The show opened with two solid classics from the early years, Yours Is No Disgrace and I've Seen All Good People, both from 1971 and The Yes Album. It was one helluva way to open a concert and set the marker for the evening. They were followed by songs from other early albums like Fragile and Close to the edge before treating us to Wondrous Stories and Parallels from 1976's Going for the One, the final album from the classic period. The first part ended with a return to Close to the Edge and And You and I. It had been about an hour and a lovely hour it was too.

After a short break Yes were back for Sides 1 and 4 of Tales from 1973's masterpiece Tales From Topographic Oceans. They were joyous beyond belief and despite being very familiar were fresh and exciting. If not for the perilous drop to the stalls I would have been tempted to dance.

Yes had been playing with a session drummer and then in the chaotic session in Side 4, Ritual (Nous sommes du soleil), they swapped and brought on Alan White to loud cheers which he repaid with an impressive drum solo.

The second set ended all to quickly but Yes returned for an extended encore that started with a surprise. Trevor Horn joined the band on vocals for Tempus Fugit from 1980's Drama.

Finally it was back to two solid gold classics, a lengthy version of Roundabout followed by Starship Trooper.

Yes had played from 8pm to approaching 11pm with one short and one minuscule break making it over two hours of scintillating music. I expected Yes to be good and they were much better than that. This was a simply astonish concert that started high and stayed there.

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