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Yes at the Royal Albert Hall live review

Live Review

Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London

Yes honour Chris Squire and raise the roof at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall

Fragile and drama are about right. The last time this writer saw Yes in concert, it was in Prague in 2014 and Chris Squire was in fine, hair-flowing, flamboyant form. Less than two years later, he is gone, and instead of the bass behemoth onstage there is a spotlit space which he would have once occupied, his trademark white Rickenbacker positioned on a stand as Onward, the ballad from Tormato, plays over the PA and images of Squire, against a backdrop of celestial colours and constellations, are projected onto a large screen.

Anyone who has followed this mighty recording and performing unit these past four or five decades will have witnessed the fragility of existence and the drama of uncertainty being played out, but never so poignantly as here, within the awesome majesty of this cathedral-like venue.

But the band play on – you could convincingly argue that they are as much ciphers for the music as flesh and blood
humans anyway – with a show of two albums: their divine 1971 opus Fragile, preceded by possibly their most divisive: 1980’s Drama. Alan White, in a smart titfer, looks like an extra from The Sweeney. Geoff Downes makes a concession to flash with his fancy spangly white shirt. Jon Davison is dressed as an astral pixie, and Steve Howe gives new meaning to the phrase ‘old head on young body’ with his silver mane and wizened features atop a skinny frame and pipe-cleaner legs. Billy Sherwood assumes the Squire role with aplomb, not forcing the issue, but enjoying the fact that the two albums being showcased tonight provide ample opportunities for impressive bass creativity.

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