This was my first experience of Yes live, although I have seen both Steve Howe and Alan White on separate occasions. I still feel very much like a novice fan despite nearly two years worth of listening to them, but then there is a fair amount of back catalogue to listen to!
I do love this venue. It has a sloping floor so even though we were a few rows from the back there was a clear view of the stage. (Ladies should take note, if you are on the sloping bit and have to stand for a gig it's hard on the feet is you go in heels. I wore flats.)
The sound was pretty full on. The bass line was underwear vibratingly strong. Occasionally the instruments seemed to overpower the vocals but this appeared to be rectified quickly much to the credit of the sound man.
Benoit David is able to hold his own vocally giving a powerful performance and gelling seemlessly with the band. After the two new band members were introduced (the afore mentioned Mr David and Oliver Wakeman, son of Rick) it was pointed out that the last time the band got two new members at once they recorded the Drama album. Two tracks from that album featured in the set list - Tempus Fugit and Machine Messiah - both of which feature among my favourite songs by the band.
I expected a competent performance and that is what we got. Contrary to a lot of comments I got about going to the gig, there was more than four songs in the set. Plenty of familiar songs were offered to an appreciative audience who listened quite attentively. Perhaps the only thing that affected this attention was as the realisation hit that there was no interval in the show, and therefore toilet breaks had to be taken during selective songs. (Steve Howe's acoustic section seemed quite popular for this, mostly as it was approximately where a break would have been.)
As with all gigs nowadays, the encore was written into the set list, and after around two hours of fine entertainment the audience spilled out into the Manchester evening.
So, I enjoyed my first time (seeing Yes), the audience was great, the band was brilliant, the venue was pleasant and the overall effect was a happy little me who smiled all the way home, clutching my tour t-shirt!