Concert review: Yes at Birmingham Symphony Hall

Over four decades into their career and age does nothing to slow down prog rock supergroup Yes, as they showed last night at Birmingham Symphony Hall.


Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Concert review and photos by Ian Harvey

Over four decades into their career and age does nothing to slow down prog rock supergroup Yes.

The band returned to Symphony Hall after a two-year break and finally with a new album under their belt - their first in a decade - with a performance both powerful and majestic.

Click on the image to the right for our concert photo gallery

Other than ex-Buggle Geoff Downes returning to keyboard duties after replacing Oliver Wakeman, this was the same line-up that played here in November 2009, with singer Benoit David clearly having grown in confidence and stature after replacing Jon Anderson three years ago.

Yes hit the ground running with a storming Your Is No Disgrace and there followed an almost two-and-a-half hour set that took in much of the band's history, from the sublime Wonderous Stories to Tempus Fugit via masterpieces such as And You And I, I've Seen All Good People, Starship Trooper and Roundabout.

As ever, Chris Squire's huge, cavernous bass underpinned the whole Yes sound, with Steve Howe still astonishing with his guitar playing, a unique style mixing fluidity with staccato stabs.

In a sign of real confidence, most of the new album, Fly From Here, got an airing, including the 25-minute suite which makes up the first half of that recording, and was received very well by the sell-out crowd.

The comparatively youthful David was an energetic presence on the stage and while on first hearing him two years ago he sounded like an Anderson clone, now he injects much of his own personality into the songs, although in truth he did seem troubled by some of the higher notes on the otherwise outstanding Heart Of The Sunrise.

Still, judging by the audience reaction, this was a triumphant return.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Comments for: "Concert review: Yes at Birmingham Symphony Hall"

David Kyle

Hi, Well just back from the Yes concert in Glasgow, 12th Nov 2011...been to see yes loads, of course Iam a big fan, however something special happened tonight that I have never seen before...the fans were let loose.....this is something most fans dream of...standing right in front of the stage watching them play..!!!..The band never expected it...but you could visably see them change..!!!! from a normal concert (usually older audience) into something really special... all the old foggies like me in the crowd were aloud to dance and sign with the band, standing in your seat is one thing but, watching the band close up is another. ........It was fantastic.....(well done to the staff at the Armadillo)......and you know what ?...the

band loved it...well done Glasgow.


Yeah, a good audience response to a good show. Definetly a Glasgow thing though, in Edinburgh they would still have been in their chairs. Overall a fine performance, excepting the "senior moment" in starship trouper then AW forgot to stop playing and they all looked at each other thinking "what comes next". I know that they were promoting the new album but I would have preferred an epic from the back catalogue. A word on Steve Howe, he plays twice as well as someone half his age; he truly is a master, a real joy to listen too, and gives hope to the grey brigade.

Phil Weitzen

A shorter set in Glasgow but equally impressive ... despite what the NJNY (No Jon No Yes) brigade have to say , this is a great Yes lineup promoting a great Yes album. In all honesty , I dont miss the Wakemans ... I feel that Mr Downes style suits the current set up perfectly ... the song selection was excellent and the playing and singing superb.

LONG LIVE YES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brian Hamilton

I saw Yes at Glasgow at the weekend, sadly, I thought they were the best Yes tribute band I'd ever seen. They played a great show, however, I thought the songs that were missing were better than the ones they played! There were a few mistakes throughout, but on the whole, it was very well played, just a pity Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman weren't there! Worst version of Starship Trooper I've ever heard! I've not missed a show since I watched their 3 nights at the Glasgow Apollo in 1977, but I won't be back to see that line-up. My disappointment was obviously in the minority, but I didn't get fooled the first time I read The Emperor's New Clothes either! Sorry that I couldn't enjoy it as much as everyone else, but I have to be honest with myself.


Yes, the Glasgow gig was pretty good and I pretty much agree with everything said above. The standout stuff was the new stuff. Well done Yes.

Frank List, Nashville

wow...i saw Yes this summer here in Nashville--my 100th YES concert, as they warmed up for Styx...and they turned in a great performance, simply because of who they are...but it kinda bummed me a bit to see them warming up for another band.

SO glad their energy continues, and the new album is indeed a triumph.

as we say in the Old South, "If it got any better, i'd hafta be twins to stand it!"

vic tripaldi

come on yes give it up accept the fact that your time has come and gone , its over old men ....get your old age and enjoy your selfs, enough of this , 1971 was great but it is 2012 now...

Purple Wolfhound

... and your point is what exactly?

Another full house at the Apollo in Manchester last night suggests there are plenty of people who appreciate their music, irrespective of the age of the performers. Long live YES!

Try our beta site!

We’re getting ready to launch our brand new website for and we’d like to give you a sneak preview.

We’re still applying the finishing touches, so please bear with us if something’s not quite right.

We'd love to hear your thoughts, good or bad, via the simple feedback button that you'll see to the right side of every page.

Try the beta