|Seneca Niagara Casino - Niagara Falls, NY||12 June 2006||by Karl Haeussler|
Life is strange. I first heard about this concert through my youngest son (15) who has become quite the Yes fan. He loves Fragile and Close to the Edge and really wanted to go and hear Rick - even if it was “A Grand Piano” Tour. I had to work that night - I am a Lutheran pastor and we have a regular Monday night service - yet when you see your son showing such an interest in something that means a lot to you...I found someone to handle the service for me!
What a great show! Here is the set listing.
“Buy a Broom.” The first song he ever learned. Set up with some amusing stories about his first music teacher.
“A Glimpse of Heaven.” Set up by a hilarious story from a Strawb’s concert at a girl’s school.
“Catherine of Aragon” and “Catherine Howard.” Before playing these Rick shared some events from many of his own wives. (My son thought these were his funniest stories.)
“Morning Has Broken.” Simply beautiful. Rick is still upset that Cat never gave him any credit - or payment - for this arrangement.
“And You and I.” Rick played an alternate arrangement not used by Yes. This was stunningly beautiful. He shared interesting observations about his Yes mates. He proceeded to answer questions from the “Ask Rick” box set up before the show. One of the questions was whether or not the current Yes line up was getting back together for another album or tour. Rick commented on how quite the room became (as no one wanted to miss the answer)! Rick’s answer: the five of them are setting up a conference call to schedule another conference call to decide what year they will do this!
“Gone But Not Forgotten.” A private piece in memory of his Mum. Rick answered one of my own questions here. I had always wondered why he went to all of the trouble of rerecording “Country Airs” in view of how much he disliked the album. He gave the reason: “It was me Mum’s favorite!”
“Wondrous Stories” and “The Meeting.” A great bit about a visit from Jon and one of his paintings. It included my son’s favorite lines of the night: (from when he first heard “Wondrous Stories”) “Cricky Jon, that’s the best thing you’ve written in donkey’s years!” and, “Jon’s the only person I know trying to save this planet while living on an entirely different one!”
“Niagara Falls” and “After the Ball.” Rick talk about the X-factor and improvisation. He then took six random notes from the audience and did an improvisation titled “Niagara Falls.” He followed that with what he shared was a totally unplanned improvisation in the studio in “After the Ball.”
“Help” and “Eleanor Rigby.” These were done with typical Wakeman flair. “Eleanor Rigby” was given the Prokofiev (jazzed up) treatment. He said he didn’t care what McCartney might think about it for “he never comes to any of my shows!”
For an encore we were treated to a very lively version of “Merlin the Magician.”
Again, it was a great night that both my son and I enjoyed thoroughly!