September 13

For today’s edition of Take Your Vinyl To A Concert I give you Yes and Toto:

Look! I got photo bombed!

Look! I got photo bombed!

The bands just co-headlined at the local concert venue for our summer outdoor concert series.

Toto opened the show. Steve Lukather and company put on a great performance. I have to admit that with both of these bands I am NOT a hugely knowledgeable fan. I know the FM radio Greatest Hits stuff but as far as their back catalog, I am pretty clueless.

My first recollection of Toto was on an older cousins turntable. He had the debut album which had the single Hold The Line which was receiving major airplay in the summer of ’79. Other top 40 radio staples followed including Rosanna and Africa.

The back catalog Toto, I had never heard before. I would describe most of it heard here as prog-lite.

The highlight of the Toto show, other than the hits that everybody stood and sang to, was a solo performance of a bluesy tune by Lukather that morphed into a 15 minute jam on the Jimi Hendrix song Little Wing.

Totototototo!

Totototototo!

After a freakishly short set change, the intro for the band Yes begin and the house lights dimmed. I hate to say it but what followed was the highlight of the show!

When the house lights came up… there, in the middle of the stage, with a spotlight pinpoint, was Chris Squire’s bass guitar front and center. The sound system then went on to play a slow, bassy, Jon Anderson sung, Chris Squire heavy, song while a video of Chris and the band through the years played.

Not to say that the rest of the concert wasn’t good or didn’t have a stellar moments, but that particular tribute to the recently deceased Squire was touching and profound. The crowd was on its feet and the applause was sustained and genuine.

When the band took the stage I, and many others, were wondering who was actually going to be appearing. Next to original guitar player Steve Howe was there along with Jeff Downes on keyboards and a young Anderson vocal clone named John Davidson on lead vocals. The bass player turned out to be Billy Sherwood, who was with the band previously in the late 90s.

Yesssssss!

Yesssssss!

Once again, not being a huge Yes fan, I was all set to dump my Yes records at the used record store until we got tickets for this show. I didn’t know what to expect. The opening half of the show was fairly obscure and progressive FM rock radio sensibilities… although the band did play a 20 minute interpretation of the Simon and Garfunkel song America.

Towards the end of the noodely set, the hits started to appear. I’ve Seen All Good People was the first truly recognizable Yes song that I heard. Steve Howe played what appeared to be a 12-string lute for the intro and, from the first notes, the crowd recognized it and responded.

Owner Of A Lonely Heart and Roundabout followed shortly after.

Unfortunately, duty called and I had to leave the venue at that point to work the night shift. So I did not hear what followed Roundabout or the encore.

I have to say that the band seemed a little loose. Maybe a little directionless with the absence of Squire? Toward the end, when the most recognizable songs we’re being played, things really seemed to tighten up.

Sherwood’s playing, and his awesome bass rig, stole the show on the most recognizable tracks.

At that point I think Chris Squire must have been looking down and smiling.

RIP Chris!

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