Yes is a bright sort of word. Positive. Affirmative. Assertive. Pro (as opposed to con). It implies an openness, a willingness to accept, the ability to say, well, yes.
Yes is also the name of an English group which played at the Capital Centre last night. In keeping with its name, the group has always been liberal and eclectic in its musical approach.
This performance was no exception. Grand Mahler-esque chords were combined with intricate rhythms, surging rock bass lines and choirboy vocal harmonies. The result was the group's trademark classical-rock sound, filled with technical fireworks and electronic razzle-dazzle.
Regrettably, the musicians did not know when to stop. Many of the songs were inflated, the motifs failing to live up to the bloated arrangements. Guitarist Steve Howe was fast and flashy, but to no particular melodic purpose, and bassist Chris Squire engaged in a solo that was easily 10 minutes too long. Drummer Alan White was as subtle as the material would allow, but his playing was often swamped by both the volume level and the egos of his cohorts. The addition of a new lead singer and keyboardist has not altered the sound for better or worse -- the group is still as good-naturedly pompous as ever.
Yes is in many ways a daring ensemble. Now, if only the musicians could learn to say no to their negative tendencies.