Yes at 50 – Live at 20 Monroe Live, Grand Rapids, MI – 6/29/18

Yes, Live at 20 Monroe Live, Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 29, 2018

Setlist:
Set 1
Intro: The Firebird Suite
Close To The Edge
Nine Voices (Longwalker)
Parallels
Mood For A Day
Leaves Of Green
Fly From Here, Part 1: We Can Fly
Sweet Dreams
Heart Of The Sunrise

Set 2
Perpetual Change
Does It Really Happen?
Soon
Awaken (featuring Alan White)

Encore (featuring Alan White and Tony Kaye)
Yours Is No Disgrace
Roundabout
Starship Trooper

Players: Steve Howe (guitars), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Jon Davison (vocals, assorted instruments), Billy Sherwood (bass, backing vocals), Alan White (drums), Jay Schellen (drums), and special guest, Tony Kaye (keyboards)

Last night was my first time seeing Yes, and I got to see them with fellow Progarchist Rick Krueger and a couple of his friends. In the grand scheme of things, I’m a newcomer to Yes’ outstanding music, having started listening to them about five or six years ago. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to see Chris Squire live. Steve Howe was near the top of my list of people I wanted to see live, and I’m happy I had that opportunity last night. The show was amazing. The band was tight, and it was  difficult to tell the difference between their live performance and the albums. The biggest difference was the bass actually boomed, unlike on the original recordings. Just looking at the setlist, you can tell this was a very long show. It started at 7:30pm and ended a few minutes shy of 10:30pm, with a 20 minute intermission. We got our money’s worth, to say the least.

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Bryan Hears a Who! Roger Daltrey Live at Ravinia – 6/23/18

Roger Daltrey, Live at Ravinia, Highland Park, Illinois, June 23, 2018

Setlist: Tommy (whole album except for instrumental “Underture”)
Who Are You
Baba O’Riley
Always Heading Home (new solo song from Roger Daltrey)

Players: Roger Daltrey (vocals), Simon Townshend (backing vocals, guitars), Frank Simes (guitars, backing vocals), Loren Gold (keyboards), Jon Button (bass, backing vocals), Scott Devour (drums), Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by Keith Levenson)

Landscape view of the Ravinia pavilion and stage from the back left of the pavilion.
Pre-show – I’ve just about given up taking photos with my phone during concerts because they always look like garbage, and it distracts both me and other audience members from the music

Roger Daltrey’s performance of Tommy was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event. One of the benefits of being a younger fan of progressive rock is the thrill of seeing many of the classic prog and classic rock bands on their 40th and 50th anniversary tours playing their classic albums. I’ve seen Ian Anderson perform Thick as a Brick, The Moody Blues perform Days of Future Passed, B. B. King doing a greatest hits show, Dennis DeYoung doing greatest hits of Styx, Kansas doing greatest hits… next week I’m seeing Yes for the first time, and I’m seeing the other Yes (Anderson, Wakeman, Rabin) in September. I’m proud to add Roger Daltrey of The Who to that list. And he played the greatest rock opera of all time! It was a fantastic evening, to say the least.

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The Pillars of Prog, Part 2 – Nights in White Satin

Musically, the British are much better than us Americans at admitting the failures of modernity, especially as it relates to how we interact with each other as humans. Steven Wilson so brilliantly lamented the isolation of the city in his 2015 masterpiece Hand. Cannot. Erase. Before that, Andy Tillison of The Tangent masterfully critiqued the contemporary 9-5 lifestyle in 2013’s Le Sacre Du Travail. Long before either of these artists, however, The Moody Blues commented on typical modern life in their 1967 concept album, Days of Future Passed.

In part 1 of this series, I argued that King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” started progressive rock as we came to know it. I still stand by that remark, but I’ll add that The Moody Blues were certainly an integral pioneering band in this genre. Looking back, Days of Future Passed is certainly a progressive rock album, but it is not prog as Yes, ELP, or Genesis later popularized the sub-genre. King Crimson sparked a very particular sound that The Moody Blues likely influenced but did not directly spark. What Black Sabbath did for heavy metal, King Crimson did for prog. With that said, Days of Future Passed deserves attention in this series. Specifically, I’m going to look at “Nights in White Satin,” the most well-known and probably most influential track on the album.

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1984 Came and Went: Streaming as a New Form of Censorship

A week and a half ago, Progarchy’s brilliant editor-in-chief wrote an editorial about music streaming services. I agree wholeheartedly with his reservations regarding streaming music. Brad attributed his luddite ways to being 50. Well, I’m 24 and I think streaming music is hogwash, so age has nothing to do with it.

For one, I like having a physical CD to look at. I like the artwork, and being able to read the lyrics is important to me. In comparing my own reviews with other writers out there on the internet or in magazines, I’ve noticed I focus on lyrics more than most, so that just goes to show the importance I place on reading the lyrics.

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Are We Headed Into a Prog Recession?

Has anybody else noticed the relative quiet in the progressive rock world lately? I can’t just be me. Sure, Spock’s Beard has a new album coming out soon (and it is good – I’ve heard an advance review copy), but it seems like all the “big” names are taking it easy. Of course, Mike Portnoy is currently touring with Sons of Apollo as they play their brilliant debut album, so that explains the lack of newer material from his other bands. Even Muse has been quiet lately, although they claim they’re going to record some new music this year. That still leaves me wondering what the heck has happened to Moon Safari, Mystery, or even little known band Persona Grata, whose 2013 album “Reaching Places High Above Me” was fantastic.

Where is everyone? Am I selfishly shouting to an empty room?! ENTERTAIN ME!!! Ok, I’m exaggerating a lot. I know most of these people have full-time jobs and family commitments that keep them from pursuing what they love, but I still see a bit of a genre-wide drought from the more prominent names thus far in 2018.

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My Tribute to Colin Tench

I recently wrote a tribute to Colin Tench over at the Dutch Progressive Rock Page. I also reviewed his two most recent albums, which he released under the Colin Tench Project banner. While I only ever “spoke” with him via email, he was great to interact with. He was so supportive of Progarchy, which we greatly appreciated. It was truly sad to see him go.

Read my full tribute and review over at the DPRP: http://www.dprp.net/reviews/2018-020/.

RIP Colin.