San Jose, CA, 3rd August, 2011
The Blog is late I know…here’s catch-up on the penultimate show…
So it was off to Silicon Valley today for the multiple bill with Styx, Kansas & the Greg Kihn Band. Surprisingly LAX was fairly quiet out of the South West terminal. All round fairly effortless, and only a quick 45-minute hop to San Jose.
You can probably imagine that with the 4-band bill, it was all fairly hectic and chaotic back-stage. The Shoreline Theater is a huge venue, sandwiched in between Google & Youtube HQ’s. And there’s no mistaking when you arrive in this town, what it’s all famous for. Yes indeed, there’s no doubt that computing is its’ staple diet.
Now this was a great gig – and a massive noisy crowd, possibly the biggest of the tour so far. I’d have estimated it at around 16,000. OK, so let me run down the bill: Greg Kihn Band – Didn’t actually see them as they were on at 5.30, and we didn’t get there until 6.30. However, I did bump into none other than Robert Berry in the catering area, who had been playing with them earlier. Now that name might not ring a bell for some of you, but I can tell you that he was a member of the 2nd version of GTR after Steve Hackett had left, and slightly more famously, as a member of ‘3’ with Carl Palmer and Keith Emerson. After those 2 outings, he turned his attention to jingle writing and became very successful in that field, particularly in his home-town San Francisco area. Anyway it was good to see him after some 25 years or so. He didn’t actually look that different to be honest.
Well next up, Kansas. Now I’ve got a lot of time for the Kansas boys. Having supported them on several occasions in the past. ‘Dust In The Wind’ has always been a goosebump tune.
And tonight finally, we said our farewell to the Styx-insect dudes – lots of high fives ‘n hugs ‘n all that. They weren’t a bad bunch of geezers to be honest. Enjoyed their company.
Ya know, one thing I’ve noticed on my travels this time, is how happy most Americans appear. You obviously bump into a few exceptions, but generally speaking, there seems to be a genuine wave of bonhomie. Personally – I like it. See, in my opinion, the British are largely a right miserable and cynical bunch. The main difference can be described as follows: When you meet a British person, they’ll usually say to you: “What do you want?” When you meet an American, it will be more than likely “How can I help you?’ In fact, I have to apologise for being part of a pretty rude race! But being British (can’t help it), I’ll continue with some rudery…
Now I’m suspecting that a few of my more extreme Yuppet chums will be rather dismayed to note the increasing number of positive reviews of the recent shows that have been coming in of late, and, that they will note I’ll shortly be taking my leave of you for some time. Because some of these people had already issued the last rites on the band, revelling in the negativity, judging their remarks or comments largely on some shaky, low-resolution Youtube footage or similar of the shows. I’ve seen quite a few of these from this tour and they really are quite bad for the most part. It doesn’t do any justice largely to the ‘way it was’. How anyone can pass a global opinion from that showing is beyond me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to avert the gaze of scrutiny, or deflate any poor reviews or challenge the right to anyone’s opinion, but at the same time, it does need to be kept in perspective. Yes, we all know those first few shows weren’t great. If you were there, you have every right to state your opinions on that…but how many more fecking times do you want me to admit they were below par? I think you’ll notice now though, that a lot of what was wrong then has been put right. So get off your high horses and deal with it, instead of recycling the same old nonsense, pullll-ease! OK, I’ve said my bit – I need to chill right down. Hey, no way Jose (geddit?), I’m in Mr. Angry mode – it’s one of those days. I’m rounding on my critics!
Talking of rubbish critical publications like Rolling Stone I mentioned a while back, I don’t suppose anyone here has had the misfortune to clock one of the so-called Yes ‘fan’ sites called XXX (I’m not saying it, but it could be similar to a girl’s name). I stumbled on it purely by chance a few days ago. But if not, don’t bother, because if you thought some of the folks over on Progressivears.com were weird, then this one has a collection of freaks and loonies that makes all of them pale into insignificance. (PE, you’ll notice I only said ‘some’ not ‘all’ this time – I know my place, bruvvers . Anyway, I won’t give you the exact site reference, as I don’t wish to feed any oxygen of publicity in the direction of this worthless crap.
But as you probably know 99% of the .alt sites are all to do with sex, porn and bizarre fetishes. The one I refer to is actually not even THAT good. Yeah, the only similarity is that it is probably run by the same type of pervs and paedos usually associated with some of the .alt sites. What I can also tell you is that has very little to do with the music of Yes, despite purporting to be a conduit of information. It is a grim reminder of how the Internet can be used and abused by a handful of no-marks. To be avoided!
But they all know best – these armchair experts, sitting there like ‘Madmen at the screens’! That’s right, they had not seen all the evidence, and yet they, the judges, had already doffed the black cap and passed the death sentence. It was like some kind of a ‘kangaroo court’, if you get my drift Yes that’s right, their stance was that Yes was over, and these folk were only too happy to line up and join in together like some lynch-mob hammering down the coffin lid – or so they thought!
So it must come as something of a great disappointment for them to note that it’s all business as usual over at Yes Central, and that things are on the up. Contrary to some public speculation, the band is alive and well, and making positive plans for the future. I think it was Mark Twain who once wrote: ‘reports of my death have become greatly exaggerated’ or something like that. Sorry chaps – so we could have scuttled off into a corner never to be seen again after some of those reviews (particularly those nasty biased threads on PE & AMY). Thing is if any of us listened to some of the crap that gets talked about you’d never go out of the front door again. So it’s a victory. It’s a major triumph over the vultures who thought they were circling above the carcass of some dying beast, and those who thought they’d pull down the ship with their comments have failed miserably. So they will now be left sniffing the exhaust fumes. That very tiny minority who said they never want to see the band or buy another album again, have been weeded out and sent packing. Au revoir, chums!
What amazes me is that in some of the critiques of yours truly, some people say they can’t hear the keyboards at all, and others say that I got all the parts wrong. I reckon some of you people need to get together and see if you were actually at the same show, or buy some feckin hearing aids!
OK, well I’ll be saying my goodbyes to yas all in the final instalment from San Diego over the next few days.
Finally, I can tell you that I went round the San Diego Zoo the day after the show, and, I had to raise a chuckle when I passed the “kangaroo” enclosure! I think I spotted a friend of mine hoppety hoppety! Come on peops, if you didn’t laugh, you’d be crying!
Cheers me dears,
Be seeing you…