CONCERT REVIEW: Yes – Live at College Street Music Hall


One down and one to go, another town and one more show. If you are a child of the seventies you probably remember Yes from the album Fragile (Atlantic Records) If you are a child of the eighties you probably remember them from their hit record 90125 (Atco Records). Released in 1983 it contained the classics ‘Leave It’, ‘Owner Of A Lonely Heart’, ‘Changes’ and ‘It Can Happen’. It stands as a testament to the band’s prolific catalogue that they didn’t feel a need to include any of these in their set at College Street Music Hall in New Haven, CT when the Classic Tales Of Yes tour came to town.

This is a retrospective tour and chooses representative pieces of music from all of the band’s years of existence. It might not be the biggest hit from any album, but a piece that shows the character of the band during that moment in time. Yes has been around for a long time and has a lot of music to choose from and time constraints might mean a fan doesn’t get to hear their favorite. No matter, this show is bound to please and have something for everyone.

Yes was around in the days where 8-tracks and vinyl were the norm.  One of the greatest advantages of the vinyl era was the large space available for album artwork.  The more interesting the artwork, the more likely your band would get a coveted spot in the record store window and posters inside. This would lead to increased sales and increased popularity.  Yes understood this well and used the artwork of William Roger Dean for almost all of their album covers. He was so important to the band’s success that he opened the show and had prints of much of his work available for sale at the venue. A brief presentation with William Roger Dean explaining his journey and the inspiration for and stories behind much of his artwork for the band. 


No band lasts as long as Yes has without a few changes and only Steve Howe remains from the original line up. Howe is largely credited with being responsible for the band’s progressive sound and at 76 years old he hasn’t lost a step when it comes to playing the guitar. The show started out with Howe expertly playing a steel pedal guitar on ‘Going For The One’ and at other points he played several different guitars and a mandolin. Closing your eyes could easily confuse you into thinking no time had passed and the band was still in original form. 


The current singer, Jon Davison sounds remarkably like the original singer Jon Anderson who left the band due to health issues but now tours in support of his solo work. Slightly built and soft-spoken Davison leaves those impressions behind when he starts to perform. His voice is clear and hits the notes with ease. This is something not many people can do. He easily makes the transition from delicate to robust in ‘I’ve Seen All Good People’ and plays rhythm guitar for most of the show.

On keyboards is Geoff Downes who joined Yes in 1980 and also was part of Asia along with Steve Howe. He sits behind Howe and is surrounded by keyboards on three sides with an opening toward the audience. There are times he plays two separate keyboards on either side and reaches between the two while facing everyone. Contributing to the band’s sound, Downes features prominently in several songs including the two encores of ‘Starship Trooper’ and of course ‘Roundabout’. 

All of this rides on the back of a rhythm laid down by bassist Billy Sherwood and drummer Jay Schellen, who combine to drive the unique sound and style of Yes. 

Everyone together produces a sound that is almost indistinguishable from the earlier incarnations. The only real difference is the improvement of technology and better fidelity .If you have enjoyed Yes in the past, you will enjoy this show and if you have never seen them,  there is no better time than now. The tour will continue into November with dates throughout the country.


Yes setlist:

Going For The One

It Will Be A Good Day (The River)

Machine Messiah

I’ve Seen All Good People

America (Simon & Garfunkel cover) (Instrumental)

Time And A Word

South Side Of The Sky

Turn Of The Century

Don’t Kill The Whale

Cut From The Stars

The Revealing Science Of God (Dance Of The Dawn) / The Remembering (High The Memory)




Starship Trooper


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