An Evening Of Yes Music Plus was recorded Sept. 9, 1989 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountainview, California. This performance is sure to please any fan of the ABWH album, and especially fans of the classic Bruford era of the band, since it focused mainly on The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close To The Edge albums. I know those are my three favorites. The ABWH album is also solidly represented by five songs - and fairly long ones at that.
This performance definitely has a certain charm that distinguished it from the legion of other Yes concert DVDs that are floating around. To begin with, the show starts off with Jon Anderson strolling through the amphitheatre crowd, as he sings a medley of songs, "Time And A Word," "Teakbois," and "Owner Of A Lonely Heart," that are accompanied only by some light keyboards and acoustic guitar from Colbeck and McDonald. Anderson, who is wearing a garish white suite that appears to be borrowed from either Siegfried or Roy, eventually makes it to the stage, after being groped by all of the adoring fans as he strolls by.
Steve Howe takes a short solo spot next and proceeds to work some of his six string magic with two of his best known acoustic arrangements, "The Clap" and "Mood For A Day." Rick Wakeman takes the stage next, climbing inside his enclave of no fewer than nine keyboards and proceeds to amaze the crowd with snippets from some of his best solo compositions. At first I though that TV hero "Dog The Bounty Hunter" had joined the band, because Wakeman sported a spiked, blond mullet that only those two guys could get away with. This solo spot, and the rest of his performance this night simply blew me away. I have never been enthused by keyboards as I am with guitars.
Wakeman's solo section leads right into a majestic piano intro to the first band song of the night, "Long Distance Runaround," and it is here that Bruford gets to show off some considerable improvising throughout the song. Bruford's drum kit was entirely electronic, except for a single acoustic snare drum. Its makeup was of Neil Peartian proportions. Viewers will be amazed by the overhead shots of his entire kit, shown throughout the performance. My only real gripe with the performance was that the electronic timbre may have served some of the new material well, it definitely did not do justice to most of the classic Yes songs.
"Birthright" is the first full offering from the new album and it carried an atmospheric African vibe throughout. Next up, they deliver two thirds of the great Close To The Edge album beginning with a gorgeous "And You And I" and a little later following with the epic 20-minute title track. They may as well have thrown in "Siberian Khatru" to seal the deal, but I am not complaining.