By Wayne Baggs
Yes, Asia, John Lodge (Moody Blues), And Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy is an all-star prog rock line up. The royalty you might say! Beginning the night with a set from Carl Palmer, the ELP banner is carried proudly. Starting with Karn Evil 9 provided an interesting take on ELP’s music with guitarist Paul Bielatowicz taking on Keiths keyboard parts.

Reminiscent of Gary Moore doing the same on Greg Lakes first solo tour. Arthur Brown was the guest vocalist singing Knife-Edge and his big hit Fire. Carl and Arthur worked together in the Crazy World of Arthur Brown in 1968/69.

Next up another Birmingham musician, John Lodge of Moody Blues fame. Starting the set with Steppin’ in a Slide Zone, he has the crowds attention. Joined by Jon Davison, John finished off with an excellent rendition of The Moody Blues first single Ride My See-Saw.

Next Royalty up is Asia. A very successful prog-rock supergroup formed in 1981. Carl Palmer, Geoff Downes and Billy Sherwood, doing double duty also with Yes, adding newly recruited Ron Bumblefoot Thal doing vocal and guitar started things moving with Go. After a killer version of the Buggles, Video Killed the Radio Star and a stirring version of ELP’s Lucky Man, Bumblefoot puts down the guitar as the other original member Steve Howe joined in for the remaining four songs. Starting with Wildest Dreams and ending with Heat of the Moment bringing the crowd to its feet, it was clear Steve’s playing is as good as ever. Great set.

That brings us to Yes. With an extensive body of excellent albums from the many versions of the band, what will they play? This touring version consists of drummer Alan White, joining in 1972 and keeping the beat ever since, guitarist Steve Howe, joined in 1970, keys Geoff Downes, bassist Billy Sherwood, singer Jon Davison (Now eight years in) and last but not least drummer Jay Schellen. As Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite is playing, Yes takes the stage jumping right into it with a lively No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed, taken from the second album. From which none of these members played on. How cool is that? Fabulous start. The band was tight as ever yet lose allowing for some freedom to jam. The feeling was lively and open. Steve Howe looked to be enjoying the night as we all did. Siberian Khatru and The Gates of Delirium stood out for me as the epitome of the Yes musical experience.

For the encore Yes did their version of John Lennon’s Imagine as a testament to the unsung hero of the band Alan White, the original drummer on that song. Listen to how great the drums sound when they come in after the first verse. That’s the kind of musicianship that gets you a gig with Yes lasting 47 years, cheers!

I must admit I had trepidation before Yes hit the stage having seen the 75 lineup, the 78, the 83 and a few more. That dissipated a few bars into the first song. I’d see this show again, no problem.

The Firebird Suite
(Igor Stravinsky song)
No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed
(Richie Havens cover)
Tempus Fugit
Going for the One
I’ve Seen All Good People
Second Initial
(Steve Howe song)
Siberian Khatru
(Dedicated to Chris Squire)
(Simon & Garfunkel cover) (with Alan White)
Rhythm of Love
(with Alan White)
The Gates of Delirium
(with Alan White)

(John Lennon cover) (with Alan White)
(with Alan White)