Ferneham Hall - Fareham 29 May 2003 by Marc Harry

Just got home from another great night out. This band gets tighter and tighter, the music is now played with all the confidence you'd expect from guys after 6 weeks on the road. If they are tired they hide it well, while the humour on stage tonight was very evidently that of a bunch of guys who are thoroughly enjoying each other's company. (My favourite moments were the 'Musical Statues' in 'The Realisation' and Rick & Lee's shadow/mirror tactics in Merlin. My sons just loved the blow up guitars and hammers...well, so did I actually!)

Maybe I'd been spoilt by sitting in the middle/front at Guildford but it took me a bit longer to settle into the show tonight way over on the left. I missed the full effect of the stereo PA and a lot of Ant's guitar was coming from the right speakers. As I'm a bit deaf in my right ear this was a shame as it was hard to hear him clearly at times. That said, he is clearly enjoying every minute...I reckon he played as fast as Frank Dunnery at times tonight!

On the other hand, Lee was superb tonight - my younger son was mesmerised by his 'laserbass', me just with his playing. He seems to be able to switch styles with so much ease 'being' Mark King one minute and, yes, he really did sound VERY much like Chris Squire when he wanted to tonight. I also noticed he has a personal quest to get as many Yes-song quotes into his bass part in Starship Trooper as possible (listen, in particular, for Heart of the Sunrise and Silent Wings of Freedom....)

Tony's drum solo was about ten minutes long tonight, holding the interest well, considering...and the light show which accompanied it was stunning.

Ashley's voice gets better and better - who was it didn't think a voice could stand a tour like this??? He is now very comfortable with the 2 Out There songs and can concentrate more on power and musicianship rather than on merely accuracy as he did just a few weeks ago. His voice on No Earthly Connection and Arthur was quite stunning and these segments were the highlights of the show for me.

I mentioned the sound already and it was my only (minor) gripe tonight - there just seemed to be a bit more muddiness in the mixing, although it could have simply been where I was sitting...and the miking of Wop's drums seemed a little uneven, the acoustic tom toms getting completely lost most of the time. The overheads picked up the cymbals brilliantly and there were mikes on snare, bass & hi hat but I lost the 'middle'.

Great to see some friendly faces at the gig as well, people whose faces I recognise without knowing their names but a special well done to Jon & family who drove all the way from Suffolk for the show.

Rick, keep this band together, please...and do it again as soon as you can. Music to my ears!