I remember when I first heard Owner Of A Lonely Heart and thinking "This is Yes? I like it!", which isn't to say I didn't already like Yes before that. But, it heralded a new chapter in the history of the venerable progressive rock band. That change was largely the result of adding South African guitarist Trevor Rabin to the roster and what became the spontaneous reformation of the band. And while Trevor may have been reluctant to do exactly that, his input helped to make for one of the band's most successful eras - if not the most. The celebration of that era was the setting for the ARW: An Evening Of Yes Music And More show I had the pleasure of seeing at San Antonio's historic Majestic Theatre recently.
I won't bore you with the theatre's history (check it out here, if you like), but the beautiful venue was the perfect setting for the evening's event, which started with me realizing that Jackie Earle Haley was briefly behind me in line for beer. The venue's baroque decor provided a certain sophistication to compliment the simplicity of the band's art deco backdrop lit in soft pastels, and I spent every spare moment admiring its charm.
After a symphonic overture, the band hit with Cinema, the Grammy-winning namesake of the nascent band that eventually became the reformed Yes in the 90s. This was a good start to things, but where I really perked up was for one of my favorites from 90125, the bluesy, dirty guitar-driven Hold On. One would assume that Chris Squire missing from the vocal mix would be an issue, but bassist Lee Pomeroy did a good job of making up for it. This show was particularly poignant for me since I never got to see Yes before now and I miss Chris Squire keenly as one of the icons of bass guitar. RIP, Chris.
The mix of old Yes songs was much approved by the audience. Classics like I've Seen All Good People, And You And I, and Long Distance Runaround (one of my all time favorites) made for wonderful connections between the Rabin-era and older material, prefaced by the anecdotal musings of the thoroughly affable Jon Anderson.
Near the end of the evening, Owner Of A Lonely Heart - the band's only number one hit in America - was naturally well-received including some of Trevor's most impressive soloing (and he hasn't lost a note in over 30 years, let me tell you), followed by the inevitable encore with the classic Roundabout to end the proceedings perfectly. This was an amazing show, plain and simple, and I was thrilled to see the band in such a beautiful venue for the first and only time. Bravo, gentlemen!
- Genghis would love to see a Blu-Ray release of this tour...