All Photos: © 2016 Jim Carver / The Rust Belt Chronicles.
Last week, we were graced with the appearance of the progressive rock band, YES at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. The band featuring the wondrous stories and musical escapades that transcend you into a musical journey. Despite member changes, health and age, YES has maintained their articulate delivery of their songs as if it was the 1970’s. Few bands have stood the test of time and it was an honor to hear YES again!
Featuring ‘The Album Series Tour’, these elder statesman of Prog Rock delivered two sets of stunning material; captivating the fans for several hours. The fans of YES are so loyal to the band, even if YES performed their most obscure tunes; I believe the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park would still been a near sell-out. That’s a testimony to the music and talent of a band that refuses to retire!
Prior to the show, I met our friend (and #1 YES fan), Ruth Zurawka in the lobby. We spoke and she updated me on the new drummer, Jay Schellen, who is filling in for Alan White; while he is recovering from back surgery. Ruth creates colorful YES bracelets to promote the band and occasionally travels across the USA with YES. Last summer, we met her in Dayton, Ohio and she was offering Thank You, Chris Squire bracelets (after his unexpected passing), which we promoted and the requests for the thoughtful, free bracelet sky-rocketed!
YES, opened the show with the complete ‘Drama‘ album and light-up the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park with their beautiful screen of visuals above the stage; often featuring the album cover artwork of Roger Dean. The majestic wonder and tales were a moving experience. With epic sequences and startling musical brevity, YES was in full swing. “Tempus Fugit” was simply incredible from beginning to end!
After completing the ‘Drama’ album performance, Yes followed up with mind-blowing versions of “I’ve Seen All Good People”, “Siberian Khatru” along with; “And You and I’. Each of these songs were stunning and as fresh as the day the songs were recorded. The musical and time signature changes were incredible to hear and the audience definitely approved. This band is so fluid in the detail of their music it’s stunning! After the exhaustive opening set, YES took a well-deserved, twenty-minute break.
Steve Howe amazes whether it’s with an electric, pedal steel or acoustic guitar. The elder statesman of YES is a profound genius. I noticed that during many time-changing musical segment, Steve doesn’t tap his foot or move his head to the beat. It’s a if he could perform those progressions in his sleep! Simply amazing!
Next-up was the two sides (1 & 4) of ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’. Although I wasn’t has familiar with that record, I must say the progressive tunes were splendid in their different musical variations and delivered as if it was one long conceptual story. Like an Opera with different precise movements, YES performed brilliantly through the entire set. The delivery were flawless and the fans soaked in the music. From the soft mellow moments to the epic themes, YES was impeccable!
Bassist, Billy Sherwood does an incredible job of picking and plucking away at his instrument, while performing the famous lines of Chris Squire. Honestly, this man is a beast of a player! Temporary drummer, Jay Schellen filled-in admirably for Alan White. Jay has worked with bassist, Billy Sherwood in other band projects and it seemed the drummer may have given YES a sharper edge towards some of the material.
Geoff Downes quibbled like a mad scientist on his array of keyboards. Providing layered lush sounds usually reserved for a few keyboardist I the world. His articulate voicing’s embellished the songs and lifted the senses of all in attendance! Geoff’s dual keyboard layout reminded me of the late, Keith Emerson (RIP), as he performed with his arms extended to the right and left of his body, giving us meticulous sounds of grandeur!
YES vocalist,, Jon Davison.
Vocalist, Jon Davison’s incredible resemblance of Jon Anderson’s voice is eerie. Close your eyes and it’s hard to tell the difference! His gestures, clothing and hair appear straight out of the early 1970’s. Jon gave a savvy performance with electronic drums, timbales and various percussive instruments throughout the night. But it was his smooth voice that rose over-top the music, giving us that epic YES sound.
The band bowed and left the stage.
YES returned with an encore of “Starship Trooper”. These guys had the fans on their feet, cheering as the band escalated the people to new heights. Once again, the progressive music bound by many time-signature changes was simply astonishing.
YES slider photos: © 2016 Jim Carver / The Rust Belt Chronicles.
The band closed with “Roundabout”, as the fans went ecstatic! The clarity was amazing as the band pumped the tune with passionate musicianship, excellent vocals in a roustabout manner. The precision, effortless timing and progressiveness of all that embodies YES; evolved the crowd into a standing ovation!
Don’t miss the legendary Prog-Rock band, YES; when they visit a City near you!
ProgNation slider photos: © 2016 Jim Carver / The Rust Belt Chronicles.
After the YES show, I took the short stroll to the Hard Rock Café to see some of the Cleveland progressive rock band, ProgNation. Luckily, I caught most of their set! Ironically, ProgNation was formed after the latest snuff of YES to be inducted into the Rock & Rock Hall of Fame. Fittingly enough, the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park booked the band, resulting in a Prog lover’s night of total music paradise!
ProgNation performed an array of Classic Rock tunes from YES, Genesis, ELP, King Crimzon and other progressive-rock bands. The musicianship is excellent as they deliver fantastic renditions of epic material. I love how they inject a few bars of tunes such as Iron Butterfly’s, “In-A-Godda-Davida” and Cream’s, “Sunshine of Your Love” into a medley. Seriousely, when was the last time you heard those tunes played live?
Tony Cuda marveled on the bass guitar and his brother, Chris Cuda were totally amazing! The jazz cats are well-known for their musical ability in the North Coast for good reason. Drummer, Marty Zlocki (a member of Time Traveler too) handles the percussion with flair as he relegates the difficult time signatures like a run through the park! Vocalist, Steve Kolesar (ex-Champion) was astute with his vocal delivery. Steve’s upper register does justice to all the bands various material . The newest member of the band, Bruce Kowalski (ex-Sweatleaf, Victory Highway) performed his keyboard wizardry like a man on a mission! The layered tones, synths and moog sounds resonated throughout the Café!
On my way out the door, I picked-up an order of Steak Fajitas from the Hard Rock Café. They were delicious! I recommend the menu at the Hard Rock Café on your next visit or anyone of their other fine dining experiences!