By BOB BUSBY
Yes, featuring ARW, one of the two factions of the pioneering progressive rock group brought its act celebrating Yes’s 50th Anniversary to the Greek Theatre.
ARW stands for Jon Anderson – lead singer, Trevor Rabin – guitar and vocals, and Rick Wakeman – keyboardist extraordinaire. Anderson who founded Yes in 1968, was unceremoniously booted from the band in 2008 when he had developed health issues, the result of which was the formation of a second band playing Yes songs.
The 13-song set list featured an array of songs covering Yes’s different eras and extensive catalog, opening with the 1983 instrumental “Cinema,” which garnered the group’s sole Grammy. From the same album 90125 next up was the catchy “Hold On.”
What followed was the evening’s first “classic Yes” offering, the ever popular fan favorite “I’ve Seen All Good People/Your Move.” The other classic Yes songs interspersed throughout the set included “And You And I,” “Perpetual Change,” “Heart of The Sunrise,” “Awaken,” and of course predictably “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” and “Roundabout.”
They did the song “Changes” also featured on 90125 which upon it’s release in 1983 was a runaway smash hit providing Yes’s only #1 single “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” and an unusual situation where the popularity was provided by millions of new fans unaware of the band’s history and thus pre-existing catalog with iconic Yes classics.
Overall, the entire two-hour set list was performed well to an avid and eager audience, very much looking forward to hearing leader Anderson sing. At 73 and considering his health issues, Anderson’s famous soprano voice may no longer be able to hit the highest notes he once did however he still sounds fine, and as I heard a woman say, he still is a captivating “Pied Piper.” Again and again I heard that Anderson’s presence was the reason for people attending. It was for me too.
I thought the rest of the band for the most part did a good job. Wakeman on the keyboards is still the jaw-dropping wunderkind he was 50 years ago. Rabin is a talented guitarist, I however don’t think his playing holds a candle to that of Steve Howe who’s touring with the other entity currently touring as Yes.
Highlights of the night? “Perpetual Change” and especially “Heart of The Sunrise.”
Cinema Hold On
I’ve Seen All Good People
And You and I
Rhythm of Love
Lift Me Up
I Am Waiting
Heart of the Sunrise
Owner of a Lonely Heart / Sunshine of Your Love
Watch Yes at the 50th Anniversary Show at The Whisky a Go Go, courtesy of Jonas Gray: