Review - Yes @ Saratoga's Mountain Winery (8/31/16)

Geoff Downes (Photo: Kevin Keating)
The fact that no founding members of the seminal prog rock band, Yes, were on stage last night at Saratoga’s Mountain Winery made little difference as the current line-up of Steve Howe (gtr), Geoff Downes (keys), Billy Sherwood (bass), Jon Davison (vox), and filling in for Alan White while recovering from a recent back surgery in July, Jay Schellen (drums), made their way through the Drama and Tales from Topographic Oceans albums — the original recordings of each included Steve Howe, Alan White and Geoff Downes, who joined on Drama.

Steve Howe (Photo: Kevin Keating)
The night kicked off promptly at 7:30 with the band launching into Drama in its entirety. And just before a short intermission, the band finally got people out of their seats with their first top 40 hit of the night, “I’ve Seen All Good People.”

Jon Davison (Photo: Kevin Keating)
Once back from the break, the 10-minute-plus “And You and I” attempted to re-engage an audience who had also just taken a break to load up on wine and cheese — and the crowd started to get back into the performance as Tales from Topographic Oceans began. But it wasn’t until the band’s encore which included “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper”, that the audience was worked back into a frenzy.

Billy Sherwood (Photo: Kevin Keating)
This tour is definitely aimed at the harder-core Yes fan — offering an extremely rare opportunity to hear deeper tracks that you’d not normally hear on the standard ‘greatest hits’ tours. And both Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood sound incredibly similar to the original members they’ve replaced — Jon Anderson and Chris Squire — each of whom (IMHO) defined the ‘sound’ of Yes with Jon’s alto tenor vocal range, and Squire’s driving bass technique. Big shoes adeptly filled by Davison and Sherwood.

Only three dates on the tour remain, so if you’re reading this from Reno, Paso Robles or San Diego, you’re still in luck, but act fast, or stay tuned for future tour announcements here.

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