YES (Live)

at Oslo Spektrum, Norway, June 5, 2004

Yes is on their 35th anniversary tour, and on this Saturday, 3,500 people celebrated 35 years of progressive rock with the old giants … and what a night it was, with three hours of musical history.

Luckily, they have the same line-up today as in their 70s heyday… and we are, of course, talking about the legends Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, and Alan White. Believe it or not, this line-up has actually never visited Oslo before. Last time, on their 2002 Symphonic Tour, Wakeman was replaced by young Tom Brislin.

This evidently was the time to include some hidden treasures from their catalogue. There were, of course, plenty of well-known songs, but this time it was also time for more. The Going For The One album was highly represented, and they started off with its title track. Later on in the show, “Wonderous Stories” and “Turn Of The Century” were also included.

The five gentlemen played really well. Indeed there were a few errors, and Steve Howe played more steadily in the early years, nevertheless, Yes in 2004 is a great musical extravaganza, a history lesson, a highly interesting journey, and maybe most important: it’s a celebration of 35 years by one of the truly great bands in the progressive and symphonic era of rock.

The setlist spanned almost 35 years. The oldest one, “Sweet Dreams,” is found on the 1970-album Time And A Word, and the newest played was Magnifications “Time Is Time” from 2001. In between, there was a highly variated visit through their expansive musical catalogue. From their most appreciated work from Fragile, “Long Distance Runaround” and “South Side Of The Sky,” to the poppy works of 90125, and Big Generators “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” and “Rhythm Of Love.”

One of the biggest surprises was the start of the 2nd set, which they did acoustically. Additionally, who would have thought of a unplugged version of “Owner Of A Lonely Heart,” and a rhythm and blues version of “Roundabout?” Also included in this set was a beautiful version of “Wonderous Stories,” and a number with only Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman: “The Meeting,” from the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe-collaboration from 1989.

Yes gave a focused Oslo crowd three hours of pure joy on this Saturday night — two sets with songs from their entire catalogue! The concert in Oslo Konserthus in 2001 was a blast, and the Sweden Rock Festival in 2003 was the same. But this gig — indoor, perfect sound, good set list, good crowd, and a highly competent band — was an extraordinary experience. I hope they’ll reach 40 before they call it a day; and surely I will be there to celebrate.


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