Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Yes in Boston 10/18/1997

Orpheum Theatre
Boston, MA
Saturday, October 18, 1997
Section Orchestra, Row H, Seat 109

I remember it was already getting dark when we got to Boston. We got to the theater and met up with some other friends. There was no real plan. We ate at a nice restaurant down the street. I would rather have eaten at a quicker place - it turned out that show was starting earlier than we thought and we had to rush through eating.

The Orpheum is one of those grand old theaters in need of renovation. It offers good sightlines and good sound, but it's really looking run down. We had odd seats - Kevin, Roy, and I got tickets together, but they were all behind one another, like the same seat, but different rows. I got seats like this three times during this tour, but never before or after. The entrance from the lobby took you through an enclosed area and actually placed you in the middle of the orchestra section, rather than the back. We were a few rows back from this entrance in a raised area. Directly to our right was the outside of the lobby-tunnel.

Brian had much better luck with seats. Yes' management really came through for the fans on this tour. They had recently launched the YesWorld website and arranged to get amazing seats for each concert set aside for fans. Literally things like front-row center for face value. Tickets were put aside on a first-come, first-served basis. Fans would pick up the tickets and pay at the box office. Unfortunately, I was not able to take advantage of this. I didn't own a computer and, since I was out of school, only had access on days when I was on campus for my part-time job. It never lined up with the ticket reservation times. Also, this is Yes. They didn't get this organized and announced until tickets had already gone on sale for the shows I was going to. Sadly, this ticket system only lasted for this one tour; it was hard to manage and some fans would reserve tickets for shows they didn't attend. Brian sat in the front row, which is so fitting for someone who traveled so far.

This show's setlist is pretty similar to the previous night's in Hartford. They dropped No Way We Can Lose for Heart of the Sunrise. The setlist order is relevant to this story, so I will list it here:

Open Your Eyes Ambiance Track
Rhythm Of Love
Siberian Khatru
Open Your Eyes
And You And I
Heart Of The Sunrise
Leaves Of Green
Khoroshev Solo
Children Of Light
Long Distance Runaround/Whitefish/Alan White Solo/Ritual
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
The Revealing Science Of God
I've Seen All Good People
Starship Trooper

Chris Squire was a hero that night. During And You And I, I noticed security taking away a big burly guy. They exited through the "lobby-tunnel" near my seat. The song Heart of the Sunrise started. Heart of the Sunrise begins with a several minute long instrumental section, with the melody on bass guitar. It's fast, heavy, and precise. This is a big spotlight section for Chris, and he and Alan were the only people on stage for this part of the song.

Heart of the Sunrise is one of my favorite songs. It shows off Yes' absolute mastery of dynamics. There are heavy fast parts, slower calmer parts, but they all interweave to build tension. I've heard too many newer prog bands do the heavy and lighter mix, but just for its own sake. It's like rambling or reading a book with no plot. Even though I might get tired of hearing it live sometimes, Heart of the Sunrise has just a perfect arrangement.

At this point, I was dancing in my seat, getting into the song. The burly guy broke away from security and ran back into the theater. He ran on stage! and sat down by Alan's drum platform! He knocked over Jon's lyric stand, and Jon's lyric cheat sheets went flying. I didn't know what would happen, this guy was big and unruly. The security guards were just standing by the edge of the stage. Chris was still playing. Chris turned around and saw the guy. Chris Squire always has control of the situation. He walked over to the guy and shook his hand. It instantly diffused the tension - either the guy was happy to get attention or knew that that was it, but he let security lead him off stage and away this time. The amazing thing was, Chris never stopped playing the song and never missed a note, even while stopping to deal with the crazy guy who jumped on stage.

All of this took place in about five minutes. The rest of the band came on stage tentatively. What were they getting themselves into? The whole audience was engrossed by the drama on stage. The tension and release of the song was multiplied by the tension and release we had just witnessed. The music was so powerful! Chris got a big applause after this one!

The audience was in the palms of their hands for the rest of the show. Jon has a penchant for forgetting or messing up lyrics. It's part of his charm. I'll joke that it's his fault, for coming up with such strange lyrics in the first place. I love to sing along with the words, but I have no idea what they mean:

Past present movers moments we'll process the future
But only through him we know
Send flowered rainbows
A piece apart chased flowers of the dark and lights of songs
To follow and show all we feel for and know of
Cast round
You seekers of the truth accepting that
Reason will relive and breathe and hope and chase and love
For you and you and you.

Jon got through the whole thing without his lyric sheet, only to sing the wrong number of "and you"s at the end of the song.

This was our goodbye to Brian and Jean. They got a hotel in the city and they were going to sleep. This was the same weekend as the Boston Regatta, so they were lucky to get a room there. The only hotel we could find was 20 miles north of the city.

I dubbed this tour the Fall Theater Tour, but only some of the shows were in true city theaters. These are my favorite venues. Hartford was an amphitheater, and Hershey and Fairfax was both small stadiums. The true beauty of the urban theater was apparent when we went outside. There was no private parking place for the tour bus, so it was sitting outside on the street. The whole band would have to walk outside and past me to get on the bus. I've never had this kind of access to the band. All we had to do was wait.

I was wearing my denim Yes jacket. My friend Bill airbrushed it for me when I was still in high school. Within a month of getting it, I went to a promo appearance by Roger Dean, and he offered to autograph it for me. I've since tracked almost all of the other Yes members and had them sign it too. About a year after this tour, I got worried about it getting too worn or rained on, and I decided to retire it. I haven't looked at it much in the last few years, but I just took it out to photograph it. The airbrushing and some of the signatures look great, but the denim is getting miscolored in places and some of the autographs are fading.

I was only missing Trevor Horn. But Yes had a new member in 1997, and I had to get Billy Sherwood to sign it. Billy had played with Yes as an extra musician on the previous tour, but this time he was a full-fledged member. Even though I went to six shows on that tour and met all the other guys, this was my first time meeting Billy. Billy struck me more as a fan who got to play with the group than someone worthy to be a member of Yes. Like Trevor Rabin, he was a controversial member of the band - he brought his own sound to the band and we fans wanted our Yes to sound like Yes. Super nice guy, he was always enthusiastic to talk to fans.

He was the first member to come out. We were the only ones waiting outside. I asked Billy if he would sign something for me, and he said he wanted to drop some things off in the bus and then he'd come back out.

He came back out. It wasn't rushed at all. I had time to explain my jacket, show it to him, show him some of the autographs, and then ask him to sign it. I think he really got a kick out of it. He remembered me and said hi every time he saw me.

Here are some pictures of my jacket and signatures.

Roger Dean was the first person to sign my jacket. It was his idea.

Billy's signature is the biggest. Took up most of the upper arm.

Chris also came out. There were a few other people around, so I didn't get to talk to him much. I told him how well I thought he handled the stage-jumper incident. Everyone was tired, so we left then.

We drove up to the hotel north of Boston. The next day, we did the tourist thing in the city, going to Boston Common and the bar that was the exterior for Cheers. We stayed that extra day in New England because we were hoping Yes would add an extra night in Boston. I think it was on their original itinerary as a possibility. It didn't happen. Kevin was a big Primus fan, and Primus were playing in Providence that Sunday night. That's why we were heading back to Providence for that last night. He played a tape for us in the car. I hated it and decided I'd rather stay alone in the hotel room than go to that show. Roy decided he'd spend more time with me. By the time we got to Providence, Kevin was tired and didn't want to go to the show either.

This was the Motel 6 leg of the tour. We stayed in Motel 6 on Thursday and Friday, and we were now checking back into the same Motel 6 that we stayed in on our first night. I looked through the phone book, and we found a restaurant in Warwick that looked interesting. It was a seafood place right on the docks. We all headed out for dinner together.

Back at the hotel, something really weird happened. It was Sunday night and I turned on X-Files. I didn't watch the show all the time, but we were too tired to go out and do anything. It was the episode where Mulder wakes up in a Motel 6 in Providence and doesn't know how he got there. We were watching this in a Motel 6 in Providence! It wasn't filmed on site, but when we told the staff about it the next morning, they said it was a rerun and they knew about it.

Kevin, Roy, and I left for the airport. It was hard being in a long distance relationship, but not this week. I was saying goodbye to Roy on Monday, October 20th, and I'd see him next on Friday, October 24th for the Philly shows.


Anonymous said...

Rhea, I'm not sure how you do it but you remember much more of this than I do. Thanks for bringing back those great memories from 10 years back. Kevin

Rheayes said...

Thanks Kevin. I'm amazed at how I can keep all the different shows and cities straight! I did have to do research on some details.