When is a Yes Just a Maybe?

No, this post is not about a serious subject like sexual assault. It’s another concert review. I attended the Yestival last night.

yestival poster


Am I a Yesticle if I attended the Yestival? I don’t know about a “full festival experience” per the pic, because I didn’t see much of the concert behind the 6 foot high privacy fence.

I loved Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but that group is 2/3 dead. I adore Todd Rundgren, but he either plays a “hits” setlist or some odd electronic music like he rolled out last night. And I am not a huge Yes fan. So why did I go? If I sat behind a 6 foot tall chain link fence with some privacy screening in the public park directly behind the general admission seating, the concert was free. It sort of looked like this except a concert was on the other side …


If I wanted to actually see the concert, I stood up to see views like this of tiny people on stage …


Hi Todd, I think? Otherwise, I could clearly see the light show through the fence and the sound system was crisp and loud. I chose the free option. As an added plus, you could not smoke inside the paying concert area, but you could smoke in the park where we sat. I don’t smoke, but I enjoyed the freedom to be able to start if the mood struck me during the show.

Carl Palmer started the show with a brisk 25 minute set of recognizable ELP tunes in a homage to his deceased bandmates. That is really about all I can say for his set.

I was hoping, hoping, hoping for a “hits” set from Todd Rundgren with “Love of the Common Man,” “Hello It’s Me,” “I Saw The Light,” etc. Nope. He rolled out newer electronic music that gave the concert a 1980’s disco feel. Weird. But I had some great times in 1980’s discos, so some of it was enjoyable for me and he ended strong with “One World,” “Hello It’s Me,” and “Just One Victory.”

Going to see Yes, I realized that I would not be seeing Rick Wakeman play keyboards or hear Jon Anderson’s soaring vocals. They are elsewhere with other people playing Yes tunes under another name. Last night I knew I would be hearing Steve Howe on guitar, Alan White on drums, and a new Jon on vocals. Is that deceptive getting a new vocalist with the same first name and spelling as Jon Anderson? I wasn’t quite sure that they should be calling themselves Yes. If Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr toured along with some other folks, I would approve of them using the name “Beatles” since John and George are deceased. But if Keith Richards and Charlie Watts started touring while Jagger, Wood and Wyman are still alive, they could hardly bill themselves as the Rolling Stones. I felt the same about this Yes line-up. Perhaps they should be calling themselves Maybe rather than Yes. But the new Jon’s vocals were just as soaring (maybe more?) as Jon Anderson’s, perhaps because he is younger. We went to hear the beautiful harmonies of the 70’s group America a couple years ago. Once they started singing, it was obvious that their voices were shot. People all around me were looking for sharp objects to pierce their eardrums. It was still an effective show as all the rats in the old theater abandoned ship once America started wailing.

Last night, Jon 2.0 was just as amazing to hear as Jon 1.0. There may have been some confusion thanks to the name of the vocalist last night, but Yes never sounded better. Forget the Maybe. Yes it is!



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