Category Archives: Yes

Yes & Dream Theater @ Universal Amphitheater, Universal City CA 09/19/04

HOLY SHIT! Wow, if you had told me this was a co-headlining gig I would have believed you! DT received a deafening roar compared to the SD gig, and the applause and cheering in between songs was just as spirited. This was my 4th and final Dream Theater gig of the Train of Thought Tour (officially the Yes/DT Tour at this point) and second occasion seeing Yes.

The Venue
If you guys aren’t familiar with the Universal Amphitheater, it’s a 6,200 seater in Universal Studios Hollywood. A very long line had already formed by 6:00pm, the frustrated theme park patrons had to cut through us in order to get to the parking structures and City Walk. The fans started to get antsy, 6:20 rolled around and we still hadn’t moved! A big jolly gentleman puffing on a cigar asked “Did you see them at the Pantages?” I said “Hell yes I did” He said he loved both bands but was there to see DT mainly. He was convinced I was there mainly for DT, “Because you’re a young guy” he said. He then told me about how he’d seen Yes back in ’71, and how he’d seen Zeppelin and Hendrix. My eyes were popping out of my head at that point. Very nice guy. I told him about the SD show and how long it ran. He said “Shit, if the show’s that long I’m gonna have to call in sick tomorrow!”

It was cool to see all the DT shirts around, especially from different eras. There were even a few Opeth shirts, a Jethro Tull shirt and good God, dare I say it — a CAFE TACUBA shirt!!! This young light skinned guy was wearing a Cafe Tacuba t-shirt! I tripped out. For those of you who don’t know, Cafe Tacuba was/is one of the pioneering musical forces behind world music and rock en espanol in the ’80s and ’90s. Not heavy music at all, hell it’s not even that rocking. But it’s still moody, intricate, and fun as hell. I complimented the guy, and said I’d never thought I’d see it here. All I got in response was a timid grunt. Okaaaaay. But anyway, the line finally started moving much to our relief. We divided up into four lines as we got near the main entrance for the required pat-down by security. First-timers were mumbling to themselves about the strict security measures. I kept quiet and selected a shy boy. I got through with flying colors and made my way to my seat. I got some kick ass tickets off ebay again, Loge 21, 4th row! And for only $40.00 too

DT
The house was half full as DT opened. The response they got from these early birds was impressive to say the least, especially from the pit/orchestra area. We all rose to our feet and stayed standing the whole hour. Same set as San Diego. The guys were spot on! There were some complaints of JP missing some of his ques in San Diego, but he nailed everything perfectly, as did the other guys. Kudos goes to James for hitting those nut-squeezing notes perfectly. You could tell that the guys really appreciated the crowd response, and they fed off of the energy, especially JP and James. The house was becoming filled to capacity by the end of Learning to Live.

During Trial of Tears, some dude bumped into me as he was making his way to his seat. Normally things like that don’t bug me, but he was extremely apologetic, almost as if he feared an ass kicking. I don’t look menacing at all… But anyway, at the end of the song he passed by me again and apologized. I told him it was no problem. He then said he was going to the bar and offered to buy me a drink. I told him not to go to the trouble. He asked “are you sure?” I thought for a couple seconds and said “what the hell” I asked for a shot of Sauza Tequila, blanco. The dude came back with 2! I thanked him and patted him on the shoulder. What a nice guy! These were double shots! And I hadn’t eaten. Needless to say I was feeling quite at ease during the set.

There were quite a few fans in my section (sec 21) standing. The Yes fans sat politely, and studied our boys intently…trying to figure them out. Stream Of Consciousness was up next and many in the crowd clapped along in time to the guitar intro…then DT proceeded to bludgeon us with their brand of prog-metal At song’s end the Yes crowd was left awe-struck or baffled…or both! The guys were treated to applause worthy of a hometown gig crowd.

The rest of the set went down just as well, with good audience participation during Spirit Carries on and Solitary Shell. The guys closed the seat and were treated as heroes with a standing ovation. The guys gave hi-fives to the fans in the pit area and made sure to wave to every section of the house. The guys were all smiles, ear to ear…except for JM who kinda gave a forced smirk. These guys loved this gig, and I think it would be cool if they played this venue on their own strength. Screw the Wiltern.

Yes
Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite started playing at 9:00pm sharp. The crowd went apeshit. I was looking forward to this gig, given that the Roger Dean set would be used for sure, as well as the possibility that Close to the Edge or Starship Trooper would be played. Yes played the same exact set as San Diego, but Starship Trooper was played as the encore. I feared the crowd would riot if they didn’t.

Yes were just as good in San Diego, but Steve was having more fun this time around, playing with crowd, striking poses and tearing it up on the fretboard. He even got some laughs from the crowd during “And You And I” of all songs, playing the intro on the 12-string while staring out at the crowd, looking from left to right and blinking repeatedly in this sort of comical way. I wish I could better describe it…it was classic and you just had to be there. The crowd was having a good ol’ time too, some of the women especially LOL. But I have to say the most embarrassing fans to watch in a crowd are RUSH fans. Damn those people need to stop drinking. There even a couple younger fans running throughout the amphitheater during “I’ve Seen All Good People,” as if they were performing some kind of ritualistic dance. It was freaky, very reminiscent of Woodstock.

After DT’s sonic assault I was worried that Yes would put me to sleep. And the tequila shots with no food in my belly wasn’t helping, although the crowd was keeping me entertained. Southside of the Sky tore off the roof, especially that keys/guitar duel at the end. Damn I was impressed.

“And You And I” was the moment everyone was waiting for. As soon as the intro started, the crowd let out this collective gasp. It was a great 10 minutes, and it was surreal seeing most of the crowd stand and do the Jon thing…hands outstretched, rising and falling with the music. Wow. The closer for the night was “Starship Trooper.” It sounded just as grande and sweeping as the studio original. Jon’s vocals were impeccable.

Conclusion
A GREAT show, helluva lot better than SD. Jon even thanked DT at set’s end, of course there was the obligatory “Fuck Dream Theater” comment I heard from behind me.

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Yes & Dream Theater @ Viejas Casino and Resort, Alpine CA 09/16/04

Waited a loooong time for this. I don’t know if the hour with DT wore me out, but by the time Yes was halfway through their set, I was ready to drive back to Orange County!

This was my 3rd Dream Theater gig this tour (Train of Thought 2004) and my first ever Yes show. I purposely avoided the online spoiler setlist and review threads so I could listen without prejudice or preconceived expectations. Needless to say, I was WOWED. First, let’s start at the beginning:

Preshow/Soundcheck
I got off of work early and began the drive solo to Alpine, CA (San Diego County) at 3:00pm. I already had tix to the Universal show and picked up this SD ticket last minute. I ran into traffic on ALL the damn freeways: the 5-South, the 805-South and the 8-East which was annoying as hell. It should have taken me 90 min to get there, in reality it took 2 hours 15 minutes. Got to the venue 45 minutes before doors opened!

The Venue itself is actually a pristine little oasis in the middle of nowhere. To be fair, it’s actually part of the Viejas Casino complex which is located on the Viejas Indian Reservation. The Viejas Casino is on one side of Willows Road, while the Concert Park is on the other side. The Viejas Concert Park is actually nestled among a cluster of outlet stores. I got the chance to have a Subway sandwich 200 feet away from the stage and listened to DT’s soundcheck as I ate my dinner on the Subway Shop patio!!! I could see the stage and watched the guys fiddle around, then tear into a superb but shortened version of “In The Name Of God.” I kicked myelf for not bringing my camera. I could have gotten some sweet shots from my vantage point. There were a handful of other DT fans milling about, straining to see the guys soundcheck. At first we couldn’t tell which band was soundchecking. The Siamese Monster was visible, and Alan White’s kit was setup just behind the Monster, but no drummer was visible, at least it was difficult to spot the drummer. “So who’s warming up?” asked one of the DT fans. Then we heard a series of rapid fire quads with double bass fills…you know, the kind that will make you cream your pants. All doubt was now dispelled. “It’s Miiiiiiiiiike!” screamed one of the guys. Outlet shoppers going about their business also stopped to see what all the fuss was about. A very cool and intimate little setup. I finished my sandwich and entered the park.

DT

I found my seat and made myself comfortable. Seating was designed for a crowd under 1,000. It was cool looking at all the different T-shirts. Pleasing to see quite a few DT shirts in there. I was representing, wearing my AWAKE Tour shirt. A security staff member approached me and asked about Dream Theater, she hadn’t heard of them (of course). I gave her a brief history of the band, compared them to some other groups she had heard of, namely Metallica, Rush, QR and the like. She explained that she’s gotten into a lot of good music thanks to opening bands. She told me that she was looking forward to DT’s performance, shook my hand and walked back to her post.

The park was 2/3 to 3/4 full as DT teared into their set. They got rabid applause from numerous sections of the crowd. The majority of the crowd stayed seated, but it was cool to see clusters of fans here and there, standing and cheering, hootin’ and hollerin’ as DT went through “About to Crash.” I was in a cluster of about a dozen fans and we stood and cheered throughout the whole performance. The obvious Yes fans sat patiently and curiosly. Some looked a tad bored, but that changed once DT gave them a kick in the ass by ripping into a surprise Yes cover, “Machine Messiah.” There were 2 Yes shirts a few rows in front of me. As soon as they recognized Machine Messiah they turned to each other and their jaws dropped in astonishment. They stood up and didn’t sit down again The crowd gave DT a standing ovation after “Stream of Consciousness.” I believe the crowd was won over by that point. We lapped it up, even during slower selections like “The Spirit Carries On” and “Solitary Shell.” Solo sections by JP and JR left the crowd mesmerized. I heard numerous comments like “Who the hell are these guys!?” DT concluded their set to generous applause and a standing ovation.

Yes

The Roger Dean set was not used tonight, and probably won’t be for the rest of the outdoor/casino shows. Yes came up and began with “Going for the One,” followed by “Sweet Dreams” and “I’ve seen All Good People.” Sound quality was great, but was lowered considerably during ISAGP. Several fans kept shouting at the band to “TURN IT UP!” The yelling was more annoying than the lowered sound volume.

There were a lot of older fans in the crowd, complete with eye glasses, receding hairlines and old concert shirts that were either too old or too small now, but that’s ok. Much to my surprise, there were quite a few spanish speakers in the audience. Hell, they were to the left of me, to the right of me, and some louder ones a couple rows back. Jon thanked everyone for coming, and even acknowledged the visitors from surrounding areas like LA and Mexico. A bunch of fists including mine shot up into the air in recognition. I’ve run into some latino Yes fans at the Guitar Center where I work. They voice their approval whenever I’ve got Yes playing over the kickass Bose “speaker on a stick” sound system. They have a deep appreciation for Steve Howe’s intricate acoustic work. Many of these shoppers are lovers of the Martin and Cordoba Acoustics and now I see why.

The rest of Yes’ set consisted of “America” which I was hoping they wouldn’t play. Never cared for it, that’s all. The set was typical of what they’ve been playing the rest of this leg, EXCEPT: “Close to the Edge” and “Starship Trooper” were left off to my disappointment. “Yours is No Disgrace,” “South Side of the Sky,” “Awaken” as well as “And You And I” did make the set thankfully. The acoustic set was very entertaining, particulary the reggae version of “Long Distance Runaround” and the Chicago Blues versions of “Roundabout” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” but why the hell would you close a show with “Every Little Thing” ??? All in all a great 3 hours. I’m very glad I finally caught Yes, one of those great progressive rock pioneers from Yesterday, no pun intended. Special thanks to the late Keith Ashley Kitchens who introduced me to Yes. I greatly appreciated those chats. You’re sorely missed, man.

Jon Anderson of YES during the YES/Dream Theater Tour