Monday, 14 November 2011

Yes - Manchester Apollo 13th November 2011

I just checked the date that the tickets for this show were purchased - 15th December! I think 11 months is probably the longest I have waited for a Christmas gift. Still, as far as I'm concerned it was worth the wait.

This was my second Yes concert. Both have featured "new boy" Benoit David.  First time it felt like he was trying to fill a Jon Anderson shaped hole, but this time was different - backed with a huge chunk of new material he appeared more confident and like he was trying to win the audience over.

The set list featured four tracks from the new album including the epic Fly From Here which I will come back to later.

The first new track bought about a minor evacuation to the toilets (I've seen this before at gigs, and they all end up running back to their seats because it's nearly always a popular one that follows a new one) which is a shame as that was the point that the whole thing really hit its stride.

On the whole I found the new material to be the real stand out moments in the set. Not that the rest was bad, far from it, but I just felt the new stuff was somewhat better.

Fly From Here was was captivating from beginning to end. So much so that you really didn't seem to notice how long the whole thing was. By the end I felt breathless from the drama of it all rather than exhausted from the length.

Throughout the concert I became quite enthralled by the choreography involved with Steve Howe's guitars.  The tech had the moves down to a fine art, moving the right instrument into place at the right time.

Let's get down to the highlights shall we - all personal opinion of course!

  • Second song in was Tempus Fugit. It's one of my favourites and it was pretty damn cool to get to see Geoff Downes playing on a track from the Drama album. (In fact the only downside of the gig was the we got Heart Of The Sunrise rather than Machine Messiah, not that Heart of The Sunrise was shabby in anyway.)
  • The afore mentioned Fly From Here, with added bonus points for a video guest appearance by Trevor Horn on the accompanying footage projected onto the screen behind the band. 
  • Into the Storm - another one off the new album which easily slotted into the set among the better known songs.
  • Geoff Downes on keytar. There was already a plethora of keyboards on stage, that's never enough right, so he strapped one across his chest. Made my day! 

The set list was fleshed out with plenty of classics tunes that wouldn't go amiss on a Best Of compilation, including Starship Trooper which is another personal favourite if you haven't gathered that from the name of this music blog.

After the obligatory encore of Roundabout it was off out into the night, clutching my new band  shirts, to get the coach back to Liverpool ready for work the next day. Both the to and from bus journeys on Monday featured Yes on the mp3 player.

Many thanks to Stephen for taking the photographs and letting me use them.


  1. Great photo's A-M and website.

  2. Thanks Wayne. The photos for this post were taken by Stephen. He takes much better gig photos than I do.


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