looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

Yes, North American Tour (second leg), Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas

Can't escape the puns... or the MORONS.

We were a little late leaving the house - I'd decided to cook spaghetti and it needs time, you can't rush it - but as it turned out we were fine time-wise.

The Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas has a very nice 2000-seat venue called "The Joint" which was aptly named considering the *cough* ambience. We had basically the best seats: third tier, which means a way back, but up a couple of levels; but the very front row of that tier. This meant that if we were the kind of people who trek back and forth to the bar every 10 minutes (see MORONS above) then we would very easily be able to accidentally dump the drink contents on the heads of the people in the back row of the second tier. And they get to pay $25 more for that privilege.

We had the two seats nearest the center aisle, so got to enjoy the rest of the row pushing past us to get to the bar. Oh well.

The show kicked off a little after 8:00pm, with the whole band looking kind of tired, as though they'd just got off the plane. A lack-luster version of "Siberian Khatru" started off a little slowly, and never really came together - was it the sound mix? Timing? Hard to say. This is a shame because SK is a favorite of mine and deserves better.

Jon was wearing a bandage on his hand but he took it off at the end of this song. Perhaps all his banging on the tambourine loosened it up?

"Magnification" was next, going straight into "Don't Kill The Whale". A nice transition, very heavy and the band was playing tightly by this time.

Uh oh... Next up was "In The Presence Of" which is ok but nothing special. Very languorous piece, sucks the energy out of a concert.

The vocal rounds of "We Have Heaven" - heavily supported with vocal backup tapes - segued nicely into "South Side of the Sky", another favorite of mine and they pretty much nailed it. Why must people inist on TALKING LOUDLY throughout the quiet piano bit? Why? (See MORONS above.)

Steve Howe played a couple of solo steel guitar pieces and proved he still has the speed and dexterity of a top-class finger-picker.

After a 10-minute intermission, Jon Anderson came out. He was more spaced-out than usual, but played a solo number called "Show Me".

Rick Wakeman played a solo spot consisting of 16 bars each from all "Six Wives" and some "King Arthur".

The rest of the setlist was "Heart of the Sunrise", "Long Distance Runaround/Fish", and "Awaken". The encore was "Starship Trooper".

There was a funny bit during the encore, when Steve switches to acoustic for the hillbilly fingerpicking part, he started playing and no sound came out! Jon was holding the note, "Shared....aaaaarrrred" and then Rick picked up the plinky riff on piano for a few bars, then the guitar tech came running out, gave the acoustic guitar a "boff" with his fist, and the sound came back and Steve picked up the riff again. Pretty funny.

What was wrong? They didn't play CLOSE TO THE EDGE! They had done so on every other date so far on this tour. Why not here? My only guess is that Jon's voice was giving him trouble - which it was - and they skipped this to cut him some slack.

Apart from "Long Distance" and "Starship" it was essentially the same setlist from the previous two times I'd seen Yes, so this was kind of a shame. Still - bonus concertgoers can't be choosy.

How do you detect a MORON? On the way filing out the door they say things like "Well, I actually enjoyed that!"