Wednesday, July 8, 2009
UFOS ARRIVE IN LA
But last night's YES & ASIA combo concert at LA's Gibson Ampitheater was pretty close. Far out prog-rock music! An abstract Roger Dean stage that looked like solar sails! Ten minute songs with a billion notes! Not one, but TWO long, 70s-style drum solos from both CARL PALMER and ALAN WHITE! And... thanks to Asia, TONS OF HITS!!!
Man, what a night...
That's Yes pictured above with new vocalist Benoit David, a Canadian newcomer who did an awesome job filling the big shoes of master singer Jon Anderson. Highlights of the set were "Machine Messiah" from the never-played DRAMA album, as well as blistering versions of "Starship Trooper," "Astral Traveller," "Heart of the Sunrise," and--of course--"Roundabout."
I know what you're thinking. Yes must've kicked Asia's ass, right?
HOLD ON, NOW.
Dude... ASIA ROCKED THE HOUSE!
No, that is not a typo. They were BRILLIANT.
Knowing that they were the opening act and only had 70 minutes to do their thing, they blew through their classics ("Heat of the Moment," "Wildest Dreams," "Only Time Will Tell," "Sole Survivor," etc.) and some new material, plus some surprise gems ("Video Killed the Radio Star!!!") with high intensity and a joy that was both clearly palpable and highly contagious!
"Machine Messiah" might have been my favorite song by either band last night, but I'm telling you... 2nd, 3rd, and 4th were all Asia hits.
And no, the two bands did not get together at the end of the night to play a song together (bummer). This is despite the fact that guitarist Steve Howe (below) plays in BOTH bands... AND the fact that Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes used to be the keyboardist for Yes and actually played on the original version of "Machine Messiah!"
Throw in the fact that a recovered Jon Anderson is currently doing his own solo tour in Europe and it makes you think there's some kind of rivalry going on between all these guys.
Oh, well. Last night it was me and the rest of the audience that won.
Now if EMERSON, LAKE, & PALMER would just get back together...