YES (Live)

at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., June 26, 2022

YES (Live at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., June 26, 2022)
Photo: Mick Burgess

It’s not unheard of for a graphic artist to appear as a special guest at a Rock show. Of course, KISS featured David Garibaldi painting an image to music from scratch on their End Of The Road Tour. Yes, however, have taken a slightly different approach by inviting Roger Dean, creator of their world-famous logo, iconic album covers and stage sets to talk about his work as a precursor to Yes taking to the stage. Not only that, but an exhibition of his incredible artwork was held in the bar area with Dean on hand to sign anything and chat happily with awestruck fans.

This show was originally intended to feature Relayer in its entirety however the small matter of Covid scuppered that plan and with 2022 marking 50 years since the release of the Prog Rock classic Close To The Edge it was decided to build an anniversary celebration around that.

Prior to the band taking to the stage was a video featuring Alan White’s composition, “Turn of the Century” together with a montage of images of White behind his drum kit as a tribute to their recently departed bandmate, who had, right up until the end, intended to be part of this tour. The loss of Chester-le-Street born White was felt particularly in his local venue as fans continued to mourn their loss while paying tribute to his immense contribution not only to Yes but music in general.

With a show split into two distinct halves, the first section covered Yes classics from across their catalogue opening with “On The Silent Wings Of Freedom” before heading into “Yours Is No Disgrace”

With guitarist Steve Howe, in typical unorthodox style leading from the front with some stunning, dextrous fretwork particularly through his solo acoustic piece, “Clap” while lead singer Jon Davison absolutely nailed the parts made famous by his predecessor never missing a note.

“Wonderous Stories” was dedicated to Alan White, whose drum stool was handled with immense respect and ability by Jay Schellen while the huge influence of Chris Squire was ever present with Billy Sherwood showing just why he was handpicked by Squire to step into his large shoes.

It wasn’t all old material though as the bubbling bass line Sherwood and swirling synths from Geoff Downes heralded “The Ice Bridge” and “Dare To Know” from their latest album The Quest standing proudly alongside the classic material.

A stunning “Heart Of Sunrise” with Sherwood and Schellen’s frantic rhythm section drove the song to a searing conclusion and the first of the several encores of the night.

After a brief interlude it was time for the main course, Close to the Edge in full, from start to finish to mark it’s Golden Anniversary. The three songs from the album from the title track, “And You and I” and “Siberian Khatru” were an absolute tour de force of Prog Rock demonstrating just why this is considered one of the cornerstones of the genre.

The crowd sat attentively throughout each song, poring over every note and nuance of the music before exploding into a spontaneous and highly enthusiastic ovation at the end of each piece.

But that was not all. As a final desert, a rather delicious “Roundabout” and an epic “Starship Trooper” topped off the perfect end to a rather special celebration.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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