Jon Anderson And The Band Geeks -
Palladium Times Square, New York, USA, Friday, April 21st, 2023
Set List: Yours Is No Disgrace/Perpetual Change/Closer To The Edge/Heart Of The Sunshine/Starship Trooper/Awaken/And You And I/I've Seen All Good People/Ritual/Owner Of A Lonely Heart.
There are bands I never had the opportunity to experience in their heyday, or at all. As a music fan who grew up on Classic Rock, I still missed out on concerts older friends and neighbors attended, until I was old enough to have a golden ticket to music paradise. By then, several of my favorites had disbanded, changed band members multiple times or, unfortunately, lost a founding member.
Granted, I have seen more live music in my lifetime than many but I still pine for the music of my teen years and will revel in the opportunity to see even a hint of their former selves. Jon Anderson fits that bill; his set list was rich, and his backing band, the band geeks, provided perfect musicianship for the evening.
My primary reason for attending Jon Anderson at the Palladium in Manhattan was that YES, are one the bands I never had the opportunity to see in their former glory. They are also one of the bands I associate with 'Laser Rock' at the Hayden Planetarium. I know that there will be some that scratch their heads and wonder what I am talking about; and those that know. Other than the obvious I was also curious to hear Anderson hold his own with a different band and he did splendidly.
While the musicians who accompanied Anderson were an extremely talented assortment, if I closed my eyes, for a moment, it, could have, easily, been YES on stage. The whole set consisted of the best of YES, even though Anderson has a surplus of solo material, he knew what people wanted to here and he complied jubilantly.
The set opened with 'Yours is no Disgrace'. One of the most difficult decisions of a performance, is the opening number. This is the introduction to those not necessarily familiar with a catalog and feeling of elation to those that are. Jon’s voice rang like a crystal bell, it is still crisp and clear as when the song was composed. This set the stage for the remainder of the evening.
Anderson segued, seamlessly into the magical 'Perpetual Change' followed by 'Closer to The Edge', the title track of one of the most owned YES albums and performed perfectly. This is also the time to take the opportunity to mention the Band Geeks, again, including the brilliant Richie Castellano on Bass; who added perfection to this legendary number as well as 'Ritual' which appeared later in the set.
While the entire performance was superb the concert could not have concluded on a better note. The last several selections continue to be those immortalized by YES and delighted generations of fans. 'And You and I' and 'I’ve Seen All Good People' are not only selections I was excited for but watching the audience dancing with each other in unified bliss; proves the power of music.
According to previous set lists, the final choice was slated to be 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart', which I was not adverse to, but felt a twinge of disappointment that 'Roundabout', one of my personal favorites was not to make an appearance. Sometimes the stars align perfectly and I was granted my wish and my own slice of joy.
Music means different things to different people; it creates memories unique to an individual. It makes us feel young for a night or a first concert experience for the person next to us. Jon Anderson probably has his own memories when he performs album tracks that made him and YES infamous.
We are grateful for every night these performers give their blood sweat and tears for us.
By Dawn Belotti