Cleveland Masonic Temple
Friday Rocktober 20, 2023
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto
The names Howe, Downes, Davison, Sherwood & Schellen just about sounds more like a law firm than the powerful progressive entity known as YES. The Masonic Temple in Cleveland, Ohio was the setting for the band’s latest Classic Tales Of YES tour. The 2,500 seat venue was filled to the brim to experience the latest tour which features many tracks seldom played over the years. If you came for an all hits tour you clearly came to the wrong place.
The band touched on nine of it’s twenty-three studio albums. Currently, the band is touring in support of Mirror To The Sky which came out earlier this year. “Cut From The Stars” was culled from it and is one of the highlights from the new album. It was fantastic to see the band dig deep and play selections such as “It Will Be A Good Day (The River)”, a song not played live since 2000. “Turn of the Century” is another song that returned after nearly a decade to the set.
What tale can be complete without digging up Tales From Topographic Oceans. The overly ambitious album released in 1973 was the follow up to the stalwart Closer To The Edge. It was an experimental double album containing just four tracks where each took up a whole album side. The band did a condensed reimagined version which ended the main set with a thunderous ovation.
The band has gone through a few changes over the past few years with drummer Jay Schellen taking over duties full time. He has been touring with the band since 2016. His rhythm section partner bassist Billy Sherwood and him go back having played together in numerous projects and bands through the years. Sherwood has now been the bassist in the band himself since 2015. Vocalist Jon Davison has been around for over a decade now and has grown very comfortable in his role. He can sing the whole catalog as evidenced on this night and does it justice. Keyboardist Geoff Downes has been aboard since 2011. Downes of course was in Asia with guitarist Steve Howe and also played on the Drama album and subsequent tour. That leads us to the maestro Howe himself. He played with such precision especially on the rare tunes which was no easy feat. The encore of “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper”, songs he has played time and time again, you would expect to be a walk in the park but there was even a freshness added to them as well.
I assume Howe will continue to tour as long as he feels he can deliver the goods. That is a good thing for all the fans. It is not about who is in the band today but as long as they can perform up to the high standard that each member over the years set when creating all this beautiful music. Consider it a treat that YES still exists in 2023. Enjoy the ride as they say as you never know when it may end.
Opening the evening was Roger Dean, the same man who has drawn numerous album covers and designs notably for YES and Asia. There was also an exhibit in the main foyer showcasing some of his numerous designs. It was quite interesting to hear him discuss some of his history on art and how he got into designing album covers.
Going for the One
It Will Be a Good Day (The River)
I’ve Seen All Good People
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) / The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun) / Ritual (Nous sommes du soleil)