July 7, 2011
By Joseph Suto
For the first time in their combined years, Styx and Yes teamed up for a double bill tour. Thursday evening at the CMAC the two bands put on a performance that should give every tour package a run for its money this summer.
Up first on this night- the bands are swapping opening/closing spots throughout the tour, Styx bolted out of the gate with a powerful Blue Collar Man . Led by guitarists Tommy Shaw and James Young, the band showed they keep getting better with age. The band continues to tour quite frequently which has resulted in very tight playing. This show was only the 3rd night of the tour, but the band was spot on as though they were in mid-tour form.
Stellar performance of the night goes out to drummer Todd Sucherman who was a beast behind the kit. Some people say drum solos are bathroom breaks but I would love to see Todd get a chance to play one sometime. Bassist Ricky Phillips, the new kid, has now been in the band for eight years. Ricky and Todd have really solidified the rhythm section.
Suite Madame Blue was one of several highlights of the night. Keyboardist Lawrence Gowan tackled the song with great precision. The masterpiece of the set proved to be Crystal Ball. It was the song that Tommy brought with him when he joined the band and became the title of the 1976 album. The band closed out their set with Fooling Yourself, Miss America and Come Sail Away- all three from 1977’s Grand Illusion album.
Yes closed out the show at CMAC. Yes now features new lead singer Benoit David, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe and Drummer Alan White. Rounding out the group, returning after a thirty year absence is keyboardist Geoffrey Downes. Downes last played with Yes in the 1980-81 era. Coincidentally enough the only other era of Yes to not feature original singer Jon Anderson.
Despite being a bit under the weather David proved to be a worthy successor to the departed Anderson. The way David moved on stage, he did not let that bother him one bit as he swayed about. Overall the band sounded good and looked like they were enjoying the moment.
At first glance several fans might balk at the package. All in all this may be the summer package to match in quality and musicianship as both bands proved Thursday night in Canandaigua. Both have gone through numerous modifications over the years. Sometimes personnel change can lead to a positive as it appears to have taken place with both bands.
Styx Highlights- Crystal Ball, Suite Madame Blue, Blue Collar Man
Yes Highlights- Starship Trooper, And You And I, Yours Is No Disgrace
|Blue Collar Man||Tempus Fugit|
|Grand Illusion||Yours Is No Disgrace|
|One With Everything||Heart Of The Sunrise|
|Too Much Time On My Hands||I’ve Seen All Good People|
|Lady||Fly From Here- Pt. 1- We Can Fly|
|Lorelei||And You And I|
|Man In The Wilderness||Owner Of A Lonely Heart|
|Suite Madame Blue||Roundabout|
|Fooling Yourself||Starship Trooper|
|Come Sail Away|