Yes gets the crowd rocking at Cork Opera House

Yes 50th anniversary tour of Close To The Edge celebrated in Cork
Yes gets the crowd rocking at Cork Opera House

Yes 50th anniversary tour of Close To The Edge at Cork Opera House last night. Picture:Shane J  Horan

While there's no been no shortage of musical veterans stopping in Cork as part of their post-Covid touring, it's a select few artists that can lay claim to a body of work spanning over fifty years, and still be up and running to any degree.

For UK prog-rockers Yes, the fiftieth anniversary of second long-player Close to the Edge comes with mixed emotions, and while the band's current iteration is set on material old and new alike, a video tribute to late drummer Alan White puts things in perspective after a difficult few years for musicians and the industry.

For those of you keeping score, that current, 'official' iteration of Yes features veteran guitarist Steve Howe, functioning as the backbone of a band that also includes American bassist Billy Sherwood, keyboardist Geoff Downes, drummer Jay Schellen and vocalist Jon Davison.

Howe is the centrepiece here, maintaining the crowd's attention while retaining a stoic stage presence that focuses on his guitar pyrotechnics as his bandmates maintain the pace around him as they breeze through the fan favourites, backed by LED screens boasting psychedelic visuals, including 'Yours is No Disgrace' and 'Wonderous Stories' - not that he's shy of the odd sit-down, specifically for a string-shredding rendition of 'Clap'. New material from 2021's 'The Quest' is also present and accounted for, falling in neatly with the band's classics. A thunderous 'Heart of the Sunrise' evokes the band's world-beating form on 1971's 'Fragile' LP to send us to the break.

When they come back, they plunge headfirst into the 'Close to the Edge' LP from start to finish, taking in the 18-minute title-track, a rendition of 'And You and I' that sees Howe alternating between two guitars and a third lap-steel instrument, and a version of 'Siberian Khatru' sees the band greeted with another of many standing ovations from the audience throughout the evening.

A double-whammy of 'Roundabout' and 'Starship Trooper' sends the crowd home happy, and while lineups have come and gone, and their music has been a hostage to the fortunes of fashion, attention and even the band's own complicated history, there's no doubt that tonight, the musicians and fans left standing at this juncture of a long and winding journey have much to celebrate.

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