Yes at The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Posted on 5 May 2016
By Chris High
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It takes some doing, pulling off a live performance of not just one but two seminal albums in a back catalogue that is legendary. Not only Fragile but also – and for the first time entire – Drama, with some of the songs being given a first live airing in decades are played in full on this outing. This is the power of Yes and at The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall this much changed outfit still resonates.

In place of the legendary Jon Anderson these days, Yes are fronted by the equally-falsetto voiced Jon Davison, whose range is uncannily similar to that of his predecessor and whose talents truly shine on the more “Rock” inspired numbers such as Into the Lens and Tempus Fugit.

With the guitar master that is Steve Howe directing proceedings stage left and a light show that is all encompassing, the overwhelming feature of this gig is the robust depth to the sound that the band manage to not only create but sustain.

This is largely thanks to three factors: the exemplary drums supplied by Alan White, who never ever misses a beat or cue, the mesmeric Bass of Billy Sherwood who, following sad passing of Chris Squire last year – and of whom fitting tribute is made at the beginning of the show, along with another to the late Peter Banks, the original Yes guitarist who passed on in 2013 – can now said to rank amongst the very finest exponents of his craft.

If ever there was ever cause to stop and gaze in awe, it is at Sherwood’s control during White Car, thumping out a bass line that has tremors rippling through the Philharmonic Hall as though a train is rolling by at full speed.

With Geoff Downs suitably robed in embroidered denim, his back largely to the audience whilst spinning his keyboard wizardry, there are moments when it as though we have been transported back in time by around 40 years, but none of it matters. The journey is captivating, inspiring and – perhaps above all – invigorating, as the light show and backdrop screen images regale us with iconography that is sublime.

Owner of a Lonely Heart may for many be the most recognisable number the band have produced and, here, is given the full Yes treatment. Don’t be fooled, though. You cannot survive in the music industry for might on 50 years and be anything other than exemplary and, on this showing, Yes remain at the very height of their powers.

The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
May 2nd, 2016
PR Rating: ****

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