An Evening Of Yes Music Plus… (ABWH 10291/2)
Wembley Arena, London, England – October 29th, 1990
Disc 1 (74:17): Time And A Word/Owner Of A Lonely Heart/Teakbois, Clap, Mood For A Day, Madrigal / Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, Long Distance Runaround, Birthright, And You And I, I’ve Seen All Good People, Soon, Close To The Edge
Disc 2 (68:57): Themes, Brother Of Mine, The Meeting, Heart Of The Sunrise, Order Of The Universe, Roundabout, Starship Trooper
ABWH was a very strange project that arose out of nowhere to produce some of the best Yes music in their catalogue. It seems to circumvent common sense since because the “official” Yes, who just finished a successful tour off of Big Generator, were still enormously popular. It seemed to be Anderson’s desire to resurrect the spirit of the progressive, exploratory Yes of the seventies and what better way to do it than to bring together again the line up responsible for Fragile and Close To The Edge (minus Chris Squire). The newly penned songs are not simply repetitions of the old, but was legitimately new progressive rock for the late eighties looking into the nineties.
The successful tour lasted from soon after the album’s release in the summer of 1989 through to March 1990. Only seven concerts were played in the UK and An Evening Of Yes Music Plus…documents the final show of the tour on October 29th in Wembley in London. It is a slightly distant but clear audience recording with a simply fantastic atmosphere capturing the excitement and warmth of the performance. There are cuts between many of the songs but none are really destructive.
The setlist for the tour was unique since each of the four principal musicians played their solo spot at the beginning of the show. Jon Anderson starts the show by singing a medley of “Time And A Word,” “Owner Of A Loney Heart” and “Teakbois” from the new album, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. Steve Howe plays his spot with the two classics from the Yes period, “Clap” and “Mood For A Day” with a some “Wings Of Gold” included as a bridge. Rick Wakeman plays “Madrigal” from Tormato and some themes from Journey To The Centre Of The Earthas a prelude to “Long Distance Runaround” which includes a Bill Bruford drum solo, all leading up to a gorgeous performance of “Birthright,” which seems like the culimination of their efforts.
“Thank you very much. I’d like to welcome you here, London.. it ‘s great to be back. It seems like yesterday we were here.” Someone in the audience shouts “happy birthday Jon!” “Thank you very much. That was a song from the new album, and this is a song from another time.” They play “And You and I” like how it was recorded on Close To The Edgewith the soft acoustic harmonic beginning instead of the bombast of “Apocalypse.” “I’ve Seen All Good People” contains funny key changes in the latter half of the song, something they felt they must to do keep it fresh. But “Close To The Edge” sounds fantastic with Bruford contributing drums.
The rest of the show is dominated by the shorter epics off of the new album. “Themes” has such a light, transcendent melody that it drips with optimism and happiness and avoids sounding corny and stupid. In concert it was expanded to include a Tony Levin and Bill Bruford duet giving it a latter day King Crimson feel for obvious reasons. Before “The Meeting” Anderson gets into a long discussion about the song’s meaning, saying: “sometimes you know, you dream of making music. And the great thing is getting together again as musicians to make music. At the same time we get together with the audience whom we’ve known for such a long time….we should be here making music for a very long time as we fast approach the nineties can. You believe it? This is a song we wrong some lazy afternoon about getting together as musicians and getting together in harmony with people.”
In the main set “Heart Of The Sunrise” is the final Yessong played, as Anderson said, “As we’ve been getting songs together for the show the list was sort of … so long.” Someone shouts “Heart Of The Sunrise.” Anderson continues, “we decided we’d learn one or two songs and then ask the audience for requests. All we need is a request… you should have said ‘Heart Of The Sunrise.'”
The set ends with “Order Of The Universe” where Wakeman’s keyboards fill the arena with incredible joy (there’s no other way to describe it). The first encore is the expected “Roundabout” in perhaps its closes arrangement to the Fragile version. Anderson stops the playing in the middle of “Starship Trooper” to thank everyone for coming to the show that evening. An Evening Of Yes Music Plus… is a non-label release issued in 1994. The utilize a fatboy double as was normally used back then, before double slimlines were common. The inserts are printed on one side and the front cover duplicates the press photo and the back has small tour pictures. This is still in circulation and is one of the very few ABWH titles currently available.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)