Friday, 6 April 2018

Yes at the Brighton Centre - 21 March 2018

It was an eventful train journey from Birmingham to Brighton, but we'll gloss over that one.  Suffice to say that the seaside sun was shining and the sea was glistening in Brighton Sur La Mer.  Just enough time to have a nice afternoon tea at the rather stunning Brighton Pavilion, which I hadn't visited since I was a child, and which still retains the ability to take the breath away with its wildly extraordinary gilded, carved, camp, Regency Indo-Chinoisery dragony over-the-toppery.

Unlike the sad concrete bunker that is the Brighton Centre. Oh dear.

It is a venue which piteously and relentlessly sucks the very soul from an audience, and consequently from the performance you have come to watch.  Pro-tip for Front Row Warriors - you can purchase a front row megabucks special VIP package ticket in Row A - and Row A is the front row - but beware, the row extends so far out on either side of the stage that there is a very good chance you will be looking at a large curtain rather than the band. I speak from previous bitter experience.  The front row is miles away from the high stage, and the side tiers are in another post code.  It has all the character of a dungeon.  In fact, I'd prefer to see Yes in a dungeon. That's how bad the Brighton Centre is.  If only the Prince Regent had designed it in 1820.  It would be gold dragons a go-go.

This is from the central block of seats in Row A.  Sheesh!

Anyway, I still got some nice photos, I think.

Jon had ditched the suit tonight and has gone for a smart-casual basket weave scarf thing.

Steve is still wearing the same clothes.

Nice shot of Geoff doing backing vocals.  I asked my son why he'd wanted to buy Geoff a drink (see Glasgow), and he said 'Because he's a decent guy, very humble'.

"Now this next song - plastic! Ecology!  All got to live together!  Wooh!"

"Folllooooooooooow!"  Jon sings up to the note, and holds it effortlessly.

Lovely  picture of Steve leaning against a speaker stack at the side of the stage.

Geoff and Steve share a glance during Ritual.

"Hey, mice!  Light your fags!  And....puff!!

Now, there are no photos of the encore.  But do you know, out of that vast venue full of people, how many people stood during the encore?  


And they were both Scots.


  1. Judith I had a very interesting conversation with Jon Hoare on the Sunday afternoon where amongst other things he asked me my opinion about why are audiences so soporific. He mentioned the insidious effect of disengagement through the internet, the flat screen and the carrying of and interrupted relationship that the Smart Phone creates. I am inclined to point to something more fundamental which I reflected on in my journey this winter. The absence of open minded enquiry, engagement and passion replaced by a sense of entitlement mixed with low levels of energy and real passion. Its almost as if people have forgotten how to self start their enjoyment and need to have it spoon fed but forget to react !!

  2. We did think this over during the tour, because it seemed as if the further south we went, the more determined audiences became to sit on their bahookies. The difference between Glasgow and Brighton was night and day.

    Geoff said that the band reckoned it was because the audiences were all getting older, but I don't buy that. It's not the SAME people as 50 years ago. The make-up of the audience is fluid and dynamic, and whilst the bulk are certainly over 50, there are ages right across the board. And the ones who ARE getting up and responding are (cough) in the older bracket.

    Having been in the near-unique position of being at every single concert, I would hypothesise that it is nothing at all to do with age, but with attitude and cultural difference. I'm up on my feet because seeing Yes is a communal experience which needs a communal expression of the energy and passion which the music gives us. It's a direct, mutual communication - us and the band. The band aren't a sealed off, enclosed performing machine on stage, and we aren't just sitting there with our arms folded waiting to be entertained. We are all part of the performance. You don't just 'receive' the performance, you don't just take. You give out, you join in, you become involved, you commit to being there, you engage. That's culturally how I am used to expressing things here in Scotland.

    It's a small country. That means that somehow, everyone knows someone who knows someone else that you know. There's an underlying sense of being a group. It's about the team, the group experience, about everything, about all being together. I carry that sense of community with me, and it is very important to me, and especially so when I am on a Yes tour. That's why we go to every gig. That's what live music and performance is about.

    Obviously other people in audiences didn't feel like that at all - they went there as individuals, they wanted their money's worth, there are clear delineations between the space of the band and the space of the viewer, and they wanted an experience akin to hearing a CD in their living room. That lack of feeling the need to engage in the way I do is, I would suggest, just a cultural difference. It's not wrong, it's just different. I find it very frustrating and odd, but there you are. The people behind in Brighton having their view blocked by me dancing probably also found it very frustrating.

    Anyway, I don't listen to CDs, I only ever hear music live. So I will continue to travel with my friends to concerts, and to get up on my feet and dance, because it's that that makes the whole thing the big, mad, ecstatic, life-enhancing, ridiculous package that it is.

  3. I think all of the reasons Jon put forward have validity but its to what extent and which are the most significant. The Glasgow audience has ALWAYS had its reputation as an emotionally tactile one more so than anywhere else I can think of. I have known about it all the way back to the late 70's so there is a cultural broader issue and its connected to key remarks about my journey. In the South Island everyone knows everyone, everyone pitches in and there is a sense this is ours and WE are responsible for our fortunes. If they do not do anything things will not get done. If a Scottish audience is sat in front of Yes they accept their responsibility that it is a two way thing and both benefit from that so yes its cultural and when in New Zealand I once came across a group of English people I noticed the same thing they want their monies worth and if they do not get it in precisely the way they envisage they become whinging poms, over looking the extra ordinary benefit of taking responsibility, engaging and making it happen or turn it round themselves. Its the same transaction, its the same lack of connection whether its turning some thing round or taking it to another level. The band are not a CD to be played they like us respond which I would have thought is obvious how do you get the best out of anything in life by committing yourself.

  4. Again, well said Michelle.