Yes (June 2004)


Date of Performance: June 14, 2004
Venue: Koningin Elisabethzaal, Antwerp, BE

There's No Stoppin' Yes

Those who thought Yes would be staying in Holland after their gig as top of the bill at the Arrow Rock Festival in Lichtenvoorde, Holland on Sunday 13th June, thought wrong. Although the band had a free day the next day, immediately after the concert the band drove to their hotel in Belgium. Contrary to what most of the fans would expect, although their gig in Belgium took place in Antwerp on Tuesday June 15th, the band stayed at a hotel in Brussels. Whilst Yes Focus in Holland tried to "arrange" something special on the band's free day on Monday, tour manager Paul Silveira sadly had to inform the fans that nothing could be planned as the band had other commitments. Rick, for instance did around ten interviews spread over Monday and Tuesday, talking about Yes and his latest Out There CD and DVD.

Rick Wakeman speaks with students working on a project, in BelgiumI met Rick in Brussels on Tuesday afternoon and instead of being stuck inside a hotel room all day, we went for a walk in the city centre of Brussels. It was wonderful to finally be able to just wander around without the usual stress which comes with being on tour. Believe it or not, but we were just five minutes on the ancient market square when Rick was approached by a girl who asked him if Rick wanted to do an interview! Apparently the girl was a student in her final year of college and a fortnight later she and the pupils from her class had to deliver a documentary to their teachers. Needless to say Rick was more than happy to oblige and delivered a couple of funny interventions. The kids who interviewed and filmed him didn't have the slightest idea who the hell he was!

Rick and the rest of the band left the hotel in Brussels at 6 pm to arrive in Antwerp in time. This time around promotor Clear Channel had moved the band into the Koningin Elisabethzaal, which is situated next to the zoo! With a total capacity of 2,076, only a handful of seats remained empty, but above all, the audience was very enthusiastic and energetic Rick Wakeman on stage in Antwerp, Belgium. Earlier in the afternoon Rick told me that at that particular moment Yes was one of the few bands on tour because everyone stayed at home to watch Euro 2004. "Because our management is American they don't have the slightest idea what goes on in the minds of the Europeans when the European Soccer Championship is on," he said. And he was right, as this time around very few Dutch fans showed up, the Dutch team playing against their rivals Germany that very same night.

As opposed to the gig during the Arrow Festival, this time around all of the Roger Dean stage props were present, which compared to the band's previous visit to Belgium, was a big improvement. The venue felt like a sauna as the tension grew, yet the moment those monumental sounds from Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" filled the place, there was nothing that could stop us! The band seemed to enjoy themselves enormously, but some problems occurred during "Turn Of The Century."yeslive_antwerp_squire_sm.jpg - 15473 Bytes "I couldn't hear what Chris was playing and Chris couldn't hear what I was playing, so we ended up playing different things," explained Wakeman later on. In fact, those technical problems even went one step further when during "Yours Is No Disgrace" the entire audience could see Rick being angry with his technician as one of his instruments failed to work. Luckily this track meant the end of part one so during the fifteen minute intermission, the crew had plenty of time to sort out all of the difficulties.

Anderson White and Squire play acousticWith the band's brand new DVD Yes Acoustic just out, what better way to start the second part of the show than with some acoustic highlights. This came as a big surprise for all of us, and was indeed very much different than the show we saw two days earlier. Hearing a bluesy acoustic "Roundabout" most certainly is a rare experience. With Rick playing a baby grand and Alan playing a very small basic kit, it nevertheless remained Yes all over. Steve Howe even tackled an acoustic "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," which means a lot about compromising!

Steve Howe in Antwerp with YesWith a mixture from a wide range of albums, Yes' set came to a close with "Ritual," which also contained a great percussive segment where Alan White was accompanied by Jon Anderson on assorted percussion and Chris Squire on kettle drums. The audience applauded for more and was given one more treat by means of a rousing version of "Starship Trooper," but before we knew it it was all over yet again.

White and Squire together on percussionSurely one of the better Yes concerts I've seen in my life and I can say I have seen them lots of time in the last thirty years. In front of me sat Mauro Pawlowski, Belgian rock singer extraordinaire, and as I was amazed to see a young guy like himself, who is constantly in the eye of the media as being one of our brighter musical hopes, being present during a prog concert. "I have liked Yes all my life," he said, "as I like their music and think they are a very professional unit. I simply love what they do and have a huge admiration for their technical skills." A bit further to my right sat two men, who after each single song stood up and applauded heavily. Jon Anderson playing live in AntwerpOne of them was singer Patrick Riguelle, whilst the other radio legend Jan Hautekiet. "This brings back huge memories," smiled Jan, "as this is the kind of music from our youth and there is nothing wrong with liking this music." Strange to hear him say that as I tried to convince this guy for years that a weekly prog hour on national radio would be the right thing to do. We're all still waiting though, yet as he was there to see Yes and was so fanatic about it all, who knows?

When most of the punters had gone home, Rick and Alan came into the foyer to say a last goodbye, a gesture that was immensely appreciated by everyone present. The day before it was Alan's birthday, so I bought him a little something: a nice box of typical Belgian chocolates. You know what he said? He looked at the box and said: "Oh, YESsssssssss!"

Setlist:

Firebird Suite (walk on) (Yessongs, 1973)
Going For The One (Going For The One, 1977)
Alan hold on drum solo intro
Sweet Dreams (Time And A Word, 1970)
I've Seen All Good People (The Yes Album, 1971)
Mind Drive Part 1 (Keys to Ascension, Vol. 2, 1997)
South Side of the Sky (Fragile, 1972)
Turn Of The Century (Going For The One, 1977)
Footprints (excerpt) (Keys to Ascension, Vol. 2, 1997)
Mind Drive Part 2 (Keys to Ascension, Vol. 2, 1997)
Yours Is No Disgrace (The Yes Album, 1971)

Intermission

Rick keyboard solo intro
The Meeting (Acoustic) (Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, 1989)
Long Distance Runaround (acoustic) (Fragile, 1972)
Wonderous Stories (acoustic) (Going For The One, 1977)
Time is Time (acoustic) (Magnification, 2001)
Roundabout (acoustic) (Fragile, 1972)
Show Me (acoustic) (Ultimate Yes, 2004)
Owner of A Lonely Heart (acoustic) (90125, 1983)
Second Initial (Steve Howe solo) (Not Necessarily Acoustic, 1994)
Rhythm of Love (Big Generator, 1987)
And You And I (Close To The Edge, 1972)
Ritual (Tales From Topographic Oceans, 1974)

Encore:

Starship Trooper (The Yes Album, 1971)

Total time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Added: June 23rd 2004
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: yesworld.com
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