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Tuesday 4th June 2024

Royal Albert Hall, London

What a treat for a Yes fan who first saw them at QPR's Loftus Road Stadium in May 1975, to see them as they are today, and in the somewhat more salubrious surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall! Only one remaining original member, the brilliantly talented and now elder statesman of the band, Steve Howe (who went through several guitar changes during the gig, including playing two simultaneously) but the rest of the band are also of a most excellent calibre.

Jon Davison conjures up inevitable memories of Jon Anderson with his ethereal and soaring voice - perfect for the esoteric and complex lyrics of Yes - and we had the additional surprise of seeing him on percussion during some tracks. Billy Sherwood's playing lives up to the unforgettable bass lines that Chris Squire laid down so inimitably. He also had some pretty funky blue sparkly shoes on, for those interested in fashion! Geoff Downes on keyboards is a seasoned and essential part of the overall sound, and Jay Schellen on drums drives the music with both power and delicacy. Proof that the band have not only managed to overcome the changes in fortune and personnel over the years, but have thrived and grown whilst maintaining the essence of Yes.

We were treated to a variety of tracks from different albums of various eras of the band, from the early 'I've Seen All Good People' of 1971, to the 'Going for the One' off the 1977 eponymous album, and 'Cut From The Stars' from their 2023 album 'Mirror to the Sky', the latter sounding fresh and innovative and yet giving the impression of having been around for the last fifty years.

With various other tracks in the mix too - a wonderful 'Dance of the Dawn', the timeless 'South Side of the Sky', 'Don't Kill the Whale' (very apt in today's climate), amongst others, and a fabulous encore of 'Roundabout' and 'Starship Trooper' - there really was something for everyone and it was obvious from the overwhelming response from the audience that Yes are a band that are still as loved and cherished as ever, and that Prog has not lost its appeal. It was certainly an evening to remember, and made even more memorable by the exhibition of Roger Dean's incredible Yes covers artwork in the foyer.

Rock Chick

Manchester's Bridgewater Hall Photos: Mike Ainscoe

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