ST. PETERSBURG - When legendary rockers often take the stage, they just put in a shortened set of 90 minutes or so. They are punching the timeclock, and adoring fans are just grateful to get a glance of them.
That was not the case with the British rock band, Yes, which played to a packed show of 1,500 fans at the outdoor venue, Jannus Live, on Friday night. The group played a 2 1/2-hour show, taking their aging fan base down memory lane.
It was a solid production of perfectly composed music, quite a gift for Yes lovers. Yes was formed in 1968, when many of the fans at the Friday night show were just entering adolesence. On Friday night -- 43 years later -- they took the audience on a journey into the past, playing "Roundabout" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart." It was a pleasant and mellow ride.
Although the band lacked lead singer Jon Anderson and original keyboard master Rick Wakeman, the group's imitators fit in like perfect puzzle pieces. Canadian Benoit David took on the lead vocals, while Rick Wakeman's son, Oliver Wakeman, made Pop proud on the keys. At this stage in their career, the group is paying tribute to its legendary career, hit songs -- and fans.
A number of well known musicians who come through Jannus seem to play the diva card on occasion. Yes was certainly not guilty of that shortcoming. With every right to hold themselves on another level of stardom, the members seemed just as humble as one would have guessed them to be back in '68.
They praised the crowd's enthusiasm throughout their packed show.
From fans who probably had Yes influence from their parents to diehard followers like Larry Henry of St. Petersburg, the base was that of a predominantly mellow mood. Larry Henry started listening to the group from their first album on and has been to almost a dozen shows over time. He was quite impressed with the additions of David and Wakeman. "They are about 85 to 90 percent accurate," said Henry.
An estimated 1,500 tickets were sold for the Yes show. With that, concert goers had the option to bump up their admission status for an additional, but affordable charge, where they were given access to the VIP balcony to see Yes from a different perspective. An open staircase gave VIP pass holders the freedom to roam from the upstairs to the courtyard as many times as desired.