EDINBURGH | GLASGOW | ABERDEEN | INVERNESS | DUNDEE | PERTH

ARW

at Usher Hall

* * * * -

ARW deliver a triumphant celebration of the music of Yes.

Image of ARW

In terms of personnel, ARW (Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman) are Yes in everything but legal name; Jon Anderson himself announces that this tour is ‘a celebration of Yes music’.

On a rendition of And You and I , Anderson demonstrates that his distinctive voice is largely undiminished by the passage of time. He was always able to hit notes that most other rock singers could only attain in their dreams… and he still can. As the song ends, a number of the audience get to their feet, delivering enthusiastic applause.

Anderson announces, ‘I need a cup of tea!’ Oh my! Rock and roll meets tea? If Bob Hope were still around to write Anderson’s script, he would no doubt have added, ‘…but in a dirty cup!’ Unaided by any caffeine stimulation, Anderson and his fellow (starship?) troopers, launch into a dynamic rendition of Heart of the Sunrise. As it builds to its climax, the audience are back on their feet.

During Changes, Anderson and Trevor Rabin trade lead vocal duties back and forth. The song ends with some blistering guitar work from Rabin.

The next segment of the gig is dedicated to the late Chris Squire, as Anderson notes that they met 49 years ago and ‘…were musical brothers for 35 years or more.’ Long Distance Runaround begins the tribute before (just as on The Yes Album), morphing into The Fish.

Squire was an exceptionally talented bass guitarist and the latter song, his signature piece. Lee Pomeroy moves to the front of the stage, playing like a man possessed, albeit with a big grin. While faithful to the spirit of the original, Pomeroy adds some licks to make it his own. The miraculous sounds he manages to tease out of a bass guitar (as Squire did before him) suggest he must have a synth hidden inside. As tributes go, it could not be more appropriate.

The lengthy Awaken follows and is a showcase for this band at their best, full of energy and passion, epic in scale. Rick Wakeman (who is wearing his cape), still dazzles on keyboards. Anderson sounds like he is singing for his life. Virtually everyone is on their feet as it ends.

Owner of a Lonely Heart brings proceedings to a close, somehow morphing into Cream’s, Sunshine of Your Love.

An encore? You bet. Anderson tells the audience to ‘Keep standing up!’ as a funky version of Roundabout is delivered. Wakeman dons his keyboard guitar and he and Rabin jam together from the front of the audience, before following a processional route to the stage, via the back of the arena.

The conquering heroes take their final bows and exit. Was it a damn fine evening? In a word, ‘Aye’, or rather, ‘Yes’.