Sky Church EMP, Seattle - Saturday, July 07, 2001
For someone who has been a Yes fan since the day he saw Rick Wakeman playing something I thought was called a sympathizer on a seventies British kids TV show I used to watch after getting home from school, you can imagine how excited I was at the prospect of seeing Yes perform at an exclusive invite only show in the Sky Church of Seattle's EMP, now called the Museum of Pop Culture or MoPOP.
A few weeks earlier I had heard that the band was in town for rehearsals and figured they were most likely hanging out at Alan White's place over in neighboring Newcastle. I know the veteran Yesman lives in the area because when he played with a Yes tribute band made up of local musicians a year and a half earlier at a small music venue I sat and talked with him before the show. He even signed the Yesshows DVD I just happened to have in my bag.
And now here they all were, the classic post Bruford line-up of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Alan White, Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman here in Seattle right in front of me.
From the moment the cavernous auditorium went dark, when Yes took the stage, to the presentation of the shopping bag full of goodies under house lights after the set, the capacity audience was thoroughly enthralled. Looking back it's like it was all in slow motion. Local scenesters and tie-dye clad elders alike captivated by the mastery of some English blokes as they performed America, Deeper the first ever live performance of South Side Of The Sky, Siberian Khatru and Roundabout.
Sporting a knee length silvery white top coat, reminiscent of the silver cape he wore all those many years ago, Rick Wakeman was initially the focus of my attention, primarily because he's the main reason I own electronicmusic.com instead of working down a pit in Yorkshire (it's a long story), yet in the presence of the master here I am equally transfixed by Steve Howe, and Jon, and Chris and Alan. For twenty five years I've been listening to Yes on a regular basis and now I actually get to see them all play together, hear the music they make, in this high-tech wonderland, and they're a real band, right there, all tuned into each other, all supremely comfortable with what they're doing, playing with conviction, making magic.