Yestival, Foxwoods Grand Theater Ledyard, CT Thursday August 10, 2016 Reviewed
What the hell was I thinking?
What on Earth made me think I would in any way find joy in a concert containing three bands whose members are older than my oldest relative.
What possessed me to shell out hard earned coin? Goldstar, I blame you. Goldstar is an app that offers up 50% off tickets for shows in your area.. for $17.50 plus fees I got to see Carl Palmer (of Emerson Lake and Palmer)… wait. No i didn’t get to see him but I’ll get to that. Rounding out the geezer trio was Todd Rundgren, and then headliner Yes.
First Palmer. For some reason I thought he was second opener when in fact he was first. Arriving a the venue at 7:23 because show started at 7 and who the hell wants to see Todd play his new shit, I expected to cozy up and prep for Carl banging out ‘Karne Evil 9’ and all that.. instead I got the last 3 min of ” Fanfare for the Common Man”, with pops propped up alone on the stage behind his kit. W… T… F. A half hour set? Yes. So I missed what I came to see.
Wait it gets better
Palmer was followed by John Cazale. You remember him right? Fredo from Dog Day Afternoon? Ok, no it was actually Todd Rundgren sporting the largest forehead I’ve ever seen other than Cazale. My cheap Goldstar seats were so for away I could get a decent picture but here is some pizza dough that truly resembles his current aesthetic
Before all you jumbo sized weirdos with scraggly ponytails light your torches and come after me its time for some tough love. Todd sucks. He got up there as if he just ate Roy Orbison and gave us a full 40 min of tripe with ONE ‘hit’ that he destroyed by putting ‘a new spin’ on it. “Hello Its Me” should have been “Hello I must be going” because had it not been for the do wop dames in the background I would have burned my eyes out with the flashlight on my phone just to detach myself from the pain. He may have had his day but its gone. His voice is shot his band was bored and the only thing worth paying attention to was the girls wig changes. Most tunes from his God awful “White Knight” album carry lyrics from a man so far out of touch he should stay there. Sing me a solo Todd.. so low I cant hear it.
Yes? When Steve Howe came on stage I held my breath. He appeared so frail he was like Fu Man Chu. I kid you not like the guy was made of rice paper with chopstick thin legs. I honestly thought he was going to fall over. But but.. wait for it…
He was fantastic. Charismatic and engaged this literal crypt keeper carried more sex appeal and charm than the 46 yr old Jon Davison. ( I’ll save him for last). Howe not only was the showman he had his own little rug to stand on. I’m not sure why but it was odd. The premise of Yestival is the band plays one song from its first 9 albums. The problem with Yestival is they picked some dogs as representation. They could have made wiser and less ‘deep cut’ choices- but what they did play, was played well. But Davison is no Jon Anderson so basically it comes across somewhat Karaoke. A band is its voice, its as simple as that- so Yes isn’t yes anymore.
I cut out early. Between missing Palmer and still being incredibly grossed out by Rundgren I knew I couldn’t give Yes the clarity it would require to review properly. I don’t want to hate them. It’s like punching your great grandfather in the dick- ya just don’t do it.
The Hartford Courants pre show announcement sums up Yes and the progressive rock movement best “Anything that angers that many people has to be doing something right”.. Amen Brothers.
Palmer: Absent Zero Grade
Rundgren: D for doughboy
Yes: B for Be respectful