Concert Review: AWR

Menora Mivtachim, Arena, Tel Aviv, March 7.

EX-YES members Anderson Rabin Wakeman (ARW) perform for elated fans in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: YUVAL EREL)
EX-YES members Anderson Rabin Wakeman (ARW) perform for elated fans in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: YUVAL EREL)
The only time I saw Yes was in 1977. But due to a chemical malfunction, I ended up missing most of the show exploring my navel at the top of the bleachers.
Redemption came by way of AWR – a band consisting of Yes founder Jon Anderson, longtime keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who was with the band for some of its most momentous work, and guitarist Trevor Rabin who joined Yes for their 1980s resurgence thanks to his song “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”
Despite lacking two mainstays of the original lineup – guitarist Steve Howe and late bassist Chris Squire – the veterans, adeptly aided by drummer Louis Molino and bassist Lee Pomeroy, faithfully recreated the swirling, complex prog rock sound of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Tuesday night at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv.
Between Wakeman’s regal cape and 360-degree battery of keyboards, the 10-minute guitar- synthesizer duels, Anderson’s precious miniature harp and finger bells and the endless good vibes, the best and worst of ’70s musical experimentation and excess were proudly on display.
Anderson’s pristine high voice was still as strong as a siren, as he led the band through inspired versions of Yes touchstones like “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “And You and I” and “Long Distance Runaround” that veered from delicate acoustic guitars and harmonies to instrumental histrionics.
Rabin was more than proficient in Howe’s critical role and Wakeman was like a potion-making wizard, who instead of pointing his finger to create magic, simply put them on the nearest keyboard.
An encore of the band’s “Stairway to Heaven” – “Roundabout” – left the middle-aged fans in the mostly filled arena ecstatic after two hours plus of virtuosity, nostalgia and affirmation that there would finally be no stigma involved in taking those old Yes albums out of storage.