Yes / Asia - July 14, 2009 at the Uptown Theater - Kansas City, Missouri

From Aural Innovations April 2010 update

Believe this was my sixth time of catching a Yes concert. Myself as well as several friends and acquaintances spoke about this show maybe a month or so in advance as well as compare notes and experiences of catching past Yes concerts. Have to admit I assumed that I wouldn't have had the memorable time that I wound up having - because of original vocalist Jon Anderson having to take an extended (maybe permanent) break from touring with the band. Yes played a fantastic twelve song set in about two hours. Opened up with "Firebird Suite", "Siberian Khatru", the staple "I've Seen All Good People" and "Tempus Fugit". Then came "Astral Traveller", "And You And I", "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and a truly out-standing Steve Howe guitar solo. I admit - I'm not that familiar with each and every one of these songs but it was a delight to hear them played live - especially in a smaller venue like the Uptown Theater, which holds around 1,800. Next up, there was "Machine Messiah", the FM radio favorite "Roundabout" and "Heart Of The Sunrise". The encore was a high energy performance of "Starship Trooper" where all five band members appeared to be having the time of their life. Wanted to mention that their new frontman / vocalist Benoit David managed to ' fit ' in rather well. I mean, I don't think he tried too hard, plus the fact that he didn't attempt to emulate Jon Anderson at all. That shows true creativity, I thought. Heard a few people after the show comment how bassist Chris Squire was more or less the frontman of the current line-up of the band for this tour. At times, it sort of appeared that maybe Squire and David were both trying to be the group frontman. Either way, I thought this gig was definitely one of the best shows I attended in 2009, for I saw a total of twenty three concerts. Rest of the Yes personnel - Alan White on drums and Rick Wakeman's son - Oliver Wakeman on keyboards. If Yes returns to my area anytime when I'm still above ground, I will be there for sure. Art rock is alive and well.

Opener was Asia - with all four original members - Steve Howe - guitar, John Wetton - bass & vocals, Geoffrey Downs - keyboards and Carl Palmer - drums. Is this cool or what? I could swear when I first heard the radio spot for this show, thought it was a gag. This was my first time of seeing Asia play live - as this was only their third appearance in my town since they formed in 1982. Asia's set list couldn't have been better - Started off with "Wildest Dreams", "Only Time Will Tell", "An Extraordinary Life", the Buggle's hit "Video Killed The Radio Star" and King Crimson's stellar "In The Court of The Crimson King" (I mean - how often does one hear that song played live?). Before the show started, I ran into a pal I haven't seen in awhile and we were both thinking and wondering if John Wetton's live presence would be up-to-par - with him having a couple of heart surgeries in recent times. Fact is Wetton sounded just as brilliant as he did when Asia released their first two albums in the early ' 80 's. By this point, I was in total concert bliss as Asia carried on with "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes", "Don't Cry", Emerson Lake & Palmer's "Fanfare For The Common Man" (with Carl Palmer playing an incredible drum solo), "Sole Survivor" and "Heat of The Moment". It rarely gets any better than this. This show made my summer.

Reviewed by Mike Reed

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