The trio of Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman, and their ARW tour finally arrived in South Florida a week later than originally planned. The second show of the tour was supposed to occur on Oct 6th , but Hurricane Matthew arrived on the east cost of Florida that day, forcing the band to reschedule to Oct 12th. The audience was probably better off for it, with the band now having five shows under their belt. The audience was treated to a splendid night of nostalgia and incredible musicianship, celebrating the brilliance of Yes.
There were many questions being whispered among the audience; could Trevor still play, could Jon still sing, what is Rick Wakeman wearing? But the band answered all of these with aplomb. Each performed as if transported from 30 years ago. Recently crowned Prog God, Jon Anderson, showed why he is a musical treasure, and one not celebrated enough. Jon acting as conductor, waving his arms in synch with every drum fill, odd-time change and transition, commanded the stage like a true legend. Few voices in music are as majestic and flawless, even as he enters his 70s. Rabin showed he can still shred like he did back 20 years ago before he left the stage to produce movie soundtracks, and added his clean, crisp vocal harmonies. Wakeman, dawning a cape, danced along the keys like only he does. Not to be overlooked, the rhythm section of Lou Molino on drums and Lee Pomeroy on bass, were completely locked in and gelled perfectly with these prog giants.
With a sparse stage setup, mostly just the band and a simple backdrop with lighting, the focus was on the songs. The group ran through a set mostly comprised of 70s era classics, with a few Rabin-era songs mixed in. At first this seemed surprising with some noticeable songs like Changes and the complete Talk album omitted. However, the mix of older and newer material blended nicely and seemed in line with most of the audience who were thrilled to hear Jon sing I’ve Seen All Good People, And You and I and Long Distance Runaround again. There was no feeling at the end that the show was any thing less than fulfilling.
The set opened with the 90125 instrumental Cinema before diving into Perpetual Change. Hold On followed and sounded like it was lifted off the record. Trevor Rabin left most of the singing to Jon, with the exception of Lift Me Up from the Union album, where he sang lead, and yes, he hit all the high notes. By the time the band got to Rhythm Of Love, they were a rolling and in a groove. The highlight of the set had to be Heart of the Sunrise which came off as perfect as ever, the band hitting every sharp turn and Jon nailing every glorious word. Lee Pomeroy took center stage for Chris Squire tribute in the form of The Fish and did so in superb fashion and true reverence for the late Squire.
The set was not without its imperfections, as Jon forgot the words for a minute in Awaken and the band got lost for a few seconds as they jammed away on the ending of Owner Of A Lonely Heart. But they smiled through it and Jon even sang the forgotten verse after the song ended. You could tell they were just happy to be together on stage and nothing could damper the moment.
The show ended with the obvious encore of Roundabout to a gleefully enthused crowd, who sang every word. With no opening act, the two hour show was as enjoyable a Yes concert as a fan can see. There is no denying the dynamic on-stage presence of these prog legends, who vow to keep on going, long after this tour is over. This is a show not to be missed.