Progressive rock legends YES make a welcome return to Tyneside to mark their milestone 50th anniversary.

Formed back in 1968 YES have undergone numerous lineup changes throughout their extensive history. The current incarnation of the group features YES stalwarts Steve Howe, Alan White and Geoff Downes at the helm along with their newest recruits Billy Sherwood and Jon Davison on bass and vocals respectively. Subsequently, the group were deservedly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.

Following the band’s incredible 2016 UK tour, which included a full airing of their much celebrated Fragile and Drama albums in full, YES are back out on the road again showcasing key numbers from their impressive songbook.

Tonight the band perform in front of a packed out audience at the prestigious Sage Gateshead. Of course, YES has a long association with the North East of England due to the fact that drummer Alan White is a County Durham lad himself. 

With a back catalogue spanning an impressive 21 studio albums, it’s always going to be difficult picking a setlist for a show like this. This evening’s celebration of the group’s beloved music focuses on their early years with the core of the setlist taken from their 1969-1977 period. YES open the show with “Yours Is No Disgrace” and “I’ve Seen All The Good People” from their eponymous debut album, which in turn sets the tone for the night ahead.

Tonight’s musical extravaganza comes complete with complimentary visuals at the rear of the stage which perfectly accompany each track in the band’s marathon almost three-hour show.

Following an incredibly infectious performance of “South Side of the Sky” lead guitarist Steve Howe takes centre stage armed only with his acoustic guitar as he delivers a stunning rendition of “Mood For A Day”. 

As the group walk their fans down memory lane they take a moment to reflect on the contribution of the late great Chris Squire. Throughout the show, Billy Sherwood perfectly executes the bass lines laid down by Squire with compassion and respect. Likewise, frontman Jon Davison’s phenomenal vocal range fills this acoustically perfect room at the Sage Gateshead all night long, particularly during the likes of the classic “Wonderous Stories”.

The second half of the show centres on the progressive rock masterpiece Tales From Topographic Oceans. This is an album which witnessed great commercial success for YES being the first album to be certified Gold on pre-orders alone. The band’s seminal long-player topped the charts in the UK for two weeks as well as reaching Number 6 in the US. 

This evening YES perform two sides of their groundbreaking concept album in full including the epic “Revealing Science of God” and an incredible performance of “Ritual”. During the latter parts of the previously mentioned song Alan White takes over from former Asia sticks man Jay Schellen and delivers a hard-hitting drum solo.

A crowd-pleasing two-song encore of classic YES numbers follow, that includes both an uplifting performance of “Roundabout” that has the whole room on their feet singing and clapping along, before “Starship Trooper” brings the show full circle and closes out a career spanning YES show at the Sage Gateshead. The band leave the stage to a standing ovation from the North East faithful.

In this day and age, it’s very rare that a group gets to hit their 50th anniversary and tonight’s show is a testament to the musical talent of YES that has catalysed the group’s success and excited the band’s loyal fan base since 1968.

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Event Date: 18-Mar-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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