Written by Bill Whiting
The return of Yes to Louisville’s Palace Theater on March 17 was largely concentrated on the band’s legendary past as three of their albums, The Yes Album, Close to the Edge and Going for the One were performed in their entirety. Lead singer Jon Davison kept the packed theater’s attention as Yes focused in on “Yours is No Disgrace,” from 1971’s The Yes Album. Guitarist Steve Howe took center stage with an acoustic, and his fleet fingering on “The Clap” drew a standing ovation. “Starship Trooper” was colored by the heavy thumping bass rhythms of Chris Squire, and “I’ve Seen All Good People” had Davison encouraging a hand clap and sing-a-long.
The percussive wallop of Alan White’s drum kit introduced the eastern swing of the half hour masterpiece, “Close to the Edge.” Howe again stepped to the fore front on a loose and breezy drive through the classic, “And You and I.” Keyboardist Geoff Downes added bold accents and frisky frills to the gut punching, hard rocker, “Siberian Khatru.” After a brief set break, Yes took the stage with a change in tempo on the start-stop title track to 1977’s “Going For the One.” Squire’s and Howe’s string bending prowess and fiery soloing pushed “Turn of the Century” to an escalating tension and release heightened level. Davison beautifully conveyed the abundant glow of discovery inherent inside of the glorious marvel, “Wonderous Stories.” And, as Yes reconvened to encore with the chart topping master work, “Roundabout,” it was obvious that the progressive rock ensemble had a winning formula and 2013 tour at the Louisville Palace on March 17. A truly memorable and noteworthy experience.