Yes And Asia In Concert

Aisa and Yes performed a concert at Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey to a receptive audience in festival Arena. The two bands combined some of the best progressive rock musicians from the last four decades. Steve Howe, guitarist extraordinaire, played for both bands. Carl Palmer was as quick and nimble as ever. Chris Squire wore an ear-to-ear smile throughout his set and was humble about his extraordinary musicianship. John Wetton always amazes with his ability to play bass and sing at the same time. A good time was had by all.


Yes... I've been fortunate to have been influenced by Yes. With the band itself... and with members doing their side projects Probably the most impressive to my memory was Jon Anderson with the School Of Rock allstars at the Keswick. Here is the last time I saw 'em. Yes with Asia. The picture of the autographs shows the set lists. (A storm cancelled the performance part way through Yes, so they came and hung out for a while. At the top is the Asia set list which included stuff from their other bands... ELP, King Crimson, and even the Buggles - "Video killed the radio star". At the bottom are the songs Yes played... Siberian Khatru, Seen All Good People, Tempus Fugit, Astral Travler, Roundabout)

Asia Concert Review
July 27, 2009
By Daniel Brouse

Jackson, NJ — The original members of ASIA are on tour with Yes:
Steve Howe – Guitars, Madolin, Pedal Slide, Vocals
John Wetton – Bass, Vocals, Guitars
Carl Palmer – Drums
Geoff Downes.- Keyboards, Vocals

The show started with two songs from the first self-titled album Asia “Wildest Dreams” (Downes, Wetton) followed by “Only Time Will Tell” (Downes, Wetton). The sound was sharp. This might have had something to do with Geoff Downes abilities as a producer. The third song was from 2008's Phoenix, “An Extraordinary Life”.

Then, the show took a turn in an un-anticpated direction. John Wetton asked, “Does anyone remember MTV? I mean when MTV was MTV? Well, the first thing ever shown on MTV was Geoff Downes hands. Those hands on this song!” They then went into The Buggles’ hit “Video Killed the Radio Star”. The crowd got a real kick out of this as they danced and sang along. Next, they played a song from one of John Wetton’s former bands, King Crimson’s “Court of the Crimson King”. ["The Court of the Crimson King" (McDonald, Sinfield) including "The Return of the Fire Witch" and "The Dance of the Puppets".]

Hmmm… isn’t that kind-of like one of those six degrees of separation? Though John Wetton had played the song live with King Crimson, he wasn’t in the band when it was recorded. Greg Lake did the studio version’s bass and vocals. Of course, Greg Lake went on to play with Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP). Carl Palmer playing drums and John Wetton on bass and vocals was an interesting combination to consider for six degrees of separation. It would seem that six degrees from this combination would just about touch every musician you could think of… Robert Fripp, Tony Levin, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins to Eric Clapton.

The concert went back to Asia, again, with two songs from their second album Alpha. “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” featured Steve Howe on a pedal slide guitar followed by Steve playing mandolin on “Don’t Cry”.

Next, it was Carl Palmer’s turn to be featured on a song ELP brought back to life on their 1977 album Works Volume II. Fanfare for the Common Man was originally written in 1942 by a 20th-century American classical composer, Aaron Copland. Asia had all the musicianship to pull it off. Though some of these guys have been playing live since the 60's, they still had plenty of umph. Carl Palmer looked as fit as a 20-year-old athlete and played the drums in the same manner. He has to be one of the best drummers of all times. To see him play is like watching a fine artist create a sculpture, but instead of stone he sculpts in rock rhythms. The drum solo was a breath taking spectacle.

They concluded the show with two more songs from the debut album “Sole Survivor” (Downes, Wetton) and “Heat of the Moment” (Downes, Wetton). The journey from radio-friendly AOR pop-rock, MTV, new wave, progressive rock, jazz to classical came to an end.

Yes Concert Review
July 27, 2009
By Daniel Brouse

Jackson, NJ — Six Flags Great Adventure can be an adventurous place to see a concert. That was the case Sunday night when Yes took the stage.

Yes is currently on tour with supporting act Asia. Actually, it is hard to call Asia a supporting act. Steve Howe plays in both bands. Steve is an extraordinary guitar player. Guitar Player magazine voted him “Best Overall Guitarist” five years in a row (1977 – 1981). To play in both bands back-to-back, is an amazing feat. For someone born in 1947, it is a truly amazing feat.

As far as a rhythm section goes, Chris Squire on bass and Alan White on drums is hard to beat. (Though, often Chris’ bass playing has been called playing a lead instrument.)

Oliver Wakeman, Rick Wakemen’s son, was an interesting addition to the band. Bearing a striking resemblance to his father, he commanded the keyboards like a veteran. When first asked to join Yes, Oliver was not sure about his father’s attitude; however, he quickly gained his father’s approval. It is interesting that Yes has both the offspring effect of Oliver, as well as, the YouTube effect of lead singer Benoît David. After seeing Journey with their lead singer replacement found on YouTube, I was skeptical of Benoît singing for Yes. Not to worry, he did his part to continue the superb Yes tradition.

Yes took the stage opening with a song from Close To The Edge, Siberian Khatru (Anderson/Howe/Wakeman). The sound was rich and deep. They followed up with a song from The Yes Album, “I’ve Seen All Good People” ["Your Move" (Jon Anderson) and "All Good People" (Chris Squire)]. It was nice to see them playing a Jon Anderson song after finally having got his blessing for this tour.

Right when they announced the next song was going to be “Tempus Fugit” from the Drama album, the skies cracked with lightening, and they took a break. Ironic? Shortly thereafter, the show resumed. Then, they went way back to the Time and a Word album with “Astral Traveler” (Anderson). Having seen Yes a multitude of times, I can not recall ever having seen the song performed live. I suppose Chris Squire was the only remaining member to have played on the 1970 album.

“With the ambitious decision to use string arrangements on most of the album’s songs, Peter’s role as a guitarist was diminished. Tensions within the band increased, and just after the album’s recording was completed in early 1970, Peter was asked to leave, which he reluctantly did. Steve Howe would join the line-up that March… The US and UK releases had different album artwork; the UK version had a black-and-white drawing of a nude woman, but this was deemed inappropriate in the US. So, the cover there showed a picture of the band. Despite appearing on the US cover, Steve Howe does not play on the album.”

With disregard to the evermore threatening skis, the show continued. Unfortunately, when someone dressed in a Six Flags uniform came on the stage and whispered in Steve Howe’s ear, you could see there was a problem. “There is a storm 30 minutes away headed in this direction. There will be one more song. It is for your own safety.” The crowd let out a loud moan. The band scurried about trying to devise an impromptu plan and launched into “Roundabout” (Anderson/Howe) from the Fragile album.

Under most circumstance, a patron might feel gypped with a 5 song show. Seeing as how it was a double concert plus amusement park ticket at 1/3 the price of a usual concert ticket, it was hard to complain. Not to mention, each song was 6 – 10 minutes long making it a fairly lengthy concert. But, get this… after the show, Chris Squire, Alan White, Oliver Wakeman and Benoît David hung out, signed autographs, took pictures and answered questions for as long as the audience wanted. Maybe they felt bad about the premature ending? Or, maybe they are just good people?

The Rock And Roll Romper Room