The band that never stops touring joined forces as a double bill at Verizon Wireless Music Center in Noblesville, IN. here on July 19, 2011. Styx and Yes, yes that’s right, Yes stopped at the former Deer Creek Music Center Tuesday night to a well received crowd of 10,000 in support of these rock icons.
WFBQ/Q95 rock station, home to Bob and Tom and Live Nation, sponsored the concert on a very hot/steamy night that even a few or more $9.00 beers (ouch!) could help cool one off. There’s no better way to show love to a concert crown than to sell beer at scalped prices. But come 7:30, Yes, who opens half the tour, took to the stage with “Tempus Fugit”, the last track in their 6 track “Drama” LP, of which the opening lyrics start with, ironicly, “Yes, Yes, Yes”. That is a song that was co-wrote by returning keyboardist Geoff Downes who was the permanent Keyboardist in the band Asia of which guitarist Steve Howe was a part of after leaving Yes for a short while. By the way, Asia was a cool band in “The Heat of the Moment”.
This time around, the band consists of lead Canadian singer/front man Benoit David who replaces Jon Anderson, bassist Steve Howe, guitarist Chris Squire and Alan White instead of Bill Burfurd, takes over the drums/percussion duties. On a personal note, I have seen “Yes” numerous times in the past 30 years, (yes, I’m old as Tommy Shaw of “Styx”) and each time they kept surprising the sell-out crowd at the now defunct Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana, the last performance of Elvis.
They were long shows because most of their songs were long songs and especially on “Tales From Topigraphic Oceans”, a double album, as we knew back then, with only 4 songs total. This stop excluded that album and some others. But the ones that were visited were fine journeys from “Your’s Is No Disgrace” from “The Yes Album” to “Heart of the Sunrise” off “Fragile”. But the song of the night belonged to “All Good People”, again from “The Yes Album”. Benoit’s vocals are so very close to Jon Anderson’s, that the band did a wonderful job of getting him to replace the then ill Jon Anderson before the last time they took to the road. His vocals reach the high notes and he is right on time with “Owner of a Lonely Heart” off “90125″.
Yes is touring in support of their 20th album in 30 years. it has been over 10 years since they last recorded. The latest one “Fly From Here” was touched upon with the title track. But half the CD (See, I’m up to date from Albums, to CD’s) consists of different parts of the title track. I recommend this CD, by the way, I bought it with my hustlin’ bucks. It wasn’t comped. Yes closed their 80 minute show off with “Starship Trooper”, the third song from their breakthrough album. But it was time for a perpetual change so they left the grateful crowd with smiles and warm beer by the time you got it from the stand to your seats or lawn seats. It was now time for the Grand Illusion to close out the night. Yes is a 4 star show. And you can visit their website at www.yesworld.com.
After 9pm it was Styx who would get a deafening welcome as vocalist/guitarist Tommy Shaw, Keyboardist/vocalist Lawrence Gowan (who is standing in for Dennis DeYoung), guitarist James Young, bassist Ricky Phillips and drummer Todd Sucherman took to the stage to close out the hot July night.
The institution of blazing rock guns of summer tours never seemingly slow down. They just keep touring every summer and this is their 20th straight summer tour as the band pointed out. Indianapolis was one of the lucky cities to book the show and what a treat we were given.
The crowd was treated to a “Grand Illusion” of a night then Lawrence Gowan sang “Lady”. It was a swap back and forth between the three vocalists with James Young doing his fair share. The light show in both shows was amazing but the stage was simple with a back drop screen of videos to go with the mood. Young’s “Fooling Yourself” with Shaw backing him up with the help of percussionist Suchermman keeping the beat. The rapport was excellent as the band explained some of the history especially thier choice of songs and their love for non-stop touring.
“Miss America” came out just fine along with “Suite Madam Blue” and some other gems that brought back some fond memories. Some were skipped but, like “Yes”, after numerous albums/CD’s, and with a wide array of hits, I suppose something has to be left behind. Or, another way of looking at it, Verizon has a 11 PM curfew during the week. Plus, another theory, what would we do when the $9.00 beer runs out? Go out and buy a case for just a little bit more.
So it was time for the 90 minute show to come to an end this summer, but not before “Renegade” was let loose as the hit of the night. By the way, Tommy Shaw has his trade mark shirts, “Oh Mama” and “Renegade” on their Styxworld.com website.
They closed out the show with half a live song and finished it with the rest of the song taped as they threw out swag to the audience. Something they are widely known for. A great night for two great bands. Yes, I still believe some great tour bands that should be paired up are Yes and No Doubt and Styx and Stones (see “Bands That Should Tour Together” in Comedy Central on this site). Wouldn’t that be fun? Sticks and Stones can break your bones, and a $9.00 beer, I will always fear. Thank goodness, I have my hustlin hooker fund. That’s my story and yes, I am sticking to it.
By Hustlin Bob Higgins 4 1/2 Styx stars