Pop: Never mind the Pixie bollocks

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Like Alice Cooper, who I saw late last year playing the same game, it's interesting to note that former forces of the 1970s are bowing to market forces and giving receding fathers of four exactly what they want: music with built-in cobwebs which reminds them of sixth forms back in the progressive mists of time. Yes play all tracks that the most backward-looking heckler might request, much to the very apparent delight of a capacity audience.

Older and more technically proficient than they were then, they are able to noodle nonchalantly. Hulk-sized bass player, Chris Squire, flicks at his instrument, expending little effort in making it grumble magnificently. He pads about the stage looking like a northern wrestler - his crew-cut an admission of follicle loss ignored by guitarist Steve Howe, who looks ridiculous and mad with his patented George Martin cut. Howe plays as if he's had an extra finger grafted on to each hand. That's not a complaint. Vocalist Jon Anderson dresses in waistcoats that would have a blind man reaching for his sunglasses. Together with drummer Alan White these four form the original late Seventies line-up. Anderson's voice still makes those testicle-defying high notes.

Only two tracks from a recently released LP were apologetically dropped into an endless blend of Yes classics from LPs like Close To The Edge and Tales Of Topographic Oceans. These records were panned in their day for scaling melodically and structurally pretentious heights but they are obviously still held dear by this appreciative pre-crumbly audience. The fall-outs and in-fights are smoothed over in Anderson's polite introductions but Rick Wakeman is still missing. He is replaced by some grade-mashing youngster who plays with an equally ridiculous bluster.

That this group survive in any form after starting out in 1968 is fascinating. And that they play tracks from the 27-year-old Yes album with an almost punkish verve is some kind of marvel.

Yes will never make the Book of Cool, but for me and all the pre-punk pubescents here tonight, this Pixie bollocks which masks more look-mum technical flash than the average journalist would admit to enjoying, is the perfect expression of a miss-spent and honestly uncool provincial youth.

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