CONCERT REVIEW: Jon Anderson’s Yes show no signs of perpetual change in Clearwater

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It was only last year – – This past Saturday to be exact – – when prog legends Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman brought Yes music to Clearwater. But this was Yes like you’ve never heard before. Steve Howe and Alan White were not present in any way. It was the three mentioned, along with Louis Molino III on drums, and from Jeff Lynne’s ELO’s backing band, lefty Lee Pomeroy on bass.

In April, rather than new music, the second US leg of their tour was announced, where they wanted to hit some towns they didn’t play last time around. But they must have loved Clearwater’s energy so much, they came back. Oh, and not to mention like, three other dates in Florida. (in order, Melbourne, Clearwater, West Palm Beach, and Miami)

Like last year, the show’s beginning at precisely 8:00 alerted us with a symphonic rendition of the main riff of Perpetual Change. Following the backing members, Rabin in his black t-shirt, and Wakeman in his wizard cape (because why the hell not?) walked out from opposite sides and hugged to the roar of the audience. The four ripped right into 90125’s Cinema, and the night began.


In the middle of the song, Jon Anderson came fluttering out, completing the lineup. As he hopped onto his platform so he could reach the microphone, the opening riff of Perpetual Change could be heard.

Many changes were made from last year’s setlist to improve, or deteriorate, the fans’ wants. I’ve Seen All Good People replaced with the Fragile album track, South Side Of The Sky, and off their massive 1991 reunion album Union, Lift Me Up replaced with another Rabin-era song, Changes. Really, the only major blow was the removal of The Meeting, an Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe song, which was replaced with I Am Waiting, off of 1994’s Talk.

But who’s anybody to complain? Anderson bolted out the 12 songs played in two hours, Rabin shredded out a solo running roughly four minutes near the end of Hold On, and Wakeman pounded out an organ solo just as long in the middle of their 20 minute 1977 epic, Awaken. And you can’t forget about the backing members either. Pomeroy got a number of bass solos, some of which could convince you that original Yes bassist, the late Chris Squire was present. Molino smashed out hits with an energy that greatly differed from what original drummer Bill Bruford or current drummer of Steve Howe’s Yes, Alan White had.

But the part of the show that was perhaps most unexpected was the jam session at the end of their main set. Following the end of their smash hit Owner Of A Lonely Heart, all five of the guys began to play solos, change key, and even stop to listen to the backing members. When both guys finished, they received a “thumbs up” of approval from Rabin. Last time around, Rabin and Wakeman simply walked off stage and into the first five or six rows of the audience. But hearing Yes simply jam out, and do a brief cover of Sunshine Of Your Love by supergroup Cream was better for a fan who just came for the music.

Anybody can run up and touch Rick Wakeman’s glittery cape, but not many get to hear Yes cover Cream.

“Some of these songs were written 42, 3 years ago,” Anderson stated following the end of South Side Of The Sky. “That’s before most of you were born!” Most of the fans in the house were either in their 30s and had grown up in the Rabin era, or in their 40s, 50s, even 60s, who got to know Yes during, or perhaps before, Wakeman’s time. There was also not a soul who grew up with Anderson’s replacements, Benoît David or Jon Davison.

The show wrapped up with an encore of Roundabout, which excluded Squire’s bass solo. It had just about everybody in the nearly sold out house on their feet, singing and clapping along to the kings of prog. Will the guys tour together again? It’s very likely – – With new music on the way, a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction earlier this year, and a name change to Yes feat. ARW, (as oppose to simply ARW last year) perhaps this won’t be the end of the road.

And even if it is, there’s always Howe and White.



Clearwater classic rock fans, get ready to have a hole in your wallet

Alice Cooper’s last Clearwater show was in August of last year
Foreigner rocking the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater on August 2.

Brought down about the cancellation of the Scorpions and Megadeth concert on Sunday? Well, here’s some good news. Another hard rock/heavy metal legend will be in the Bay area on his 2018 tour, and he just released a new album a few months ago.

Alice Cooper will give Ruth Eckerd Hall “a paranormal evening” on March 23, 2018. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10am on, and will start at $48.75. Or, perhaps you’re a big enough fan to pay $743.75 for the “front row insanity package,” which includes a post show meet and greet. Insanity indeed.

But that’s not all.

Only a few days before that, on March 18, Foreigner will also rock Ruth Eckerd with a Rock Symphony Orchestra. Tickets for that go on sale at a currently unknown time and date, as Ruth Eckerd has not officially announced the show yet, but it appeared in their 2017-18 season guide released today. However, when tickets go on sale, prices will start at $53.25. It seems like a lot, but if this show is anything like the breathtaking 40th Anniversary Tour stop in Tampa back in August, it will be worth every penny.

The Moody Blues coming to Clearwater

When it comes to prog rock, it’s been a good year for Florida. We’ve gotten Steve Howe’s version of Yes in February, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters in July, and next week we will get Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin, & Wakeman. But another prog group released a legendary album that turned 50 this year. They embarked on a tour promoting its birthday, but went no further southeast than Georgia. But they have added another leg.

The Moody Blues, along with “a Rock Symphony Orchestra,” will play the entire Days Of Future Passed album at Ruth Eckerd Hall on January 13. Tickets go on sale this weekend, and start at $68.75. Though The Moody Blues are down to three original members, now’s your chance to see them. After what happened this week in the music world, I think it’s safe to say that we should go to any older musician/band’s concert that comes to town that we love. Who knows? This could be the last time The Blues ever tour.

Thomas Earl Petty: 1950-2017

To the late Tom Petty.

What can I say? You were one of my first inspirations to love music. You were also one of the best concerts I ever went to only months ago. I am speechless, numb, and gutted beyond words that you have left this world so soon. I wanted to see you at least one more time. But the Great Gig in the Sky now has one of the most legendary musicians of all time.

If only one knew the impact he had on me and millions of others. He was really the first rock and roller I enjoyed growing up. I am so thankful that I got to see him live with Joe Walsh before he passed. I had the time of my life that night. Sure, he was just a celebrity to some of you, but sometimes, a celebrity as Tom can have a massive effect on you as a person. I always knew that we’d lose him eventually, but never so soon.

As if this year wasn’t bad enough, the world is now a sadder and lonelier place, and everyone is going to miss you more than words can describe. Rest in peace.

Thomas Earl Petty: 1950-2017

– Josh Dezern, 10/03/2017

And so begins the month of the concert…

Yes feat. Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman in Clearwater last year
Toad the Wet Sprocket making their EPCOT debut in October of last year
Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Leslie Mendelson will open for legendary singer of The Who, Roger Daltrey at Ruth Eckerd Hall on October 30

It’s October 2. Merry Christmas, y’all.

This is the month that I will be attending three different shows, two of which I have seen in the past. Here are what, where, and when they will be.

10/11: Yes featuring ARW, Ruth Eckerd Hall

10/21 or 10/22: Toad the Wet Sprocket, EPCOT

10/30: Roger Daltrey with Leslie Mendelson, Ruth Eckerd Hall

This month will involve part of two of my top 10s, along with a free show at Disney’s Food And Wine Festival that I may get to attend more than once.

I hope to see you there.

Mike Love’s Beach Boys coming to Clearwater for the fourth time within four years

When someone asks me who my favorite composer of all time is, I usually say Brian Wilson – – the genius behind Pet Sounds, and the founding bassist of The Beach Boys, quite possibly America’s most beloved band. In spite of two dates at St. Pete’s Mahaffey Theater, Wilson (who now tours with original guitarist Al Jardine and frequent collaborator Blondie Chaplin) hasn’t been to Clearwater since his 2013 tour with Jeff Beck. But his cousin, original lead singer Mike Love, along with Bruce Johnston and the new incarnation of The Beach Boys, stop here consistently. And now, they’re back.

The Beach Boys will play Ruth Eckerd Hall on February 13, 2018, for the first time in fourteen months. Their last Clearwater shows were in December and February 2016, followed by January 2015. Tickets go on sale on this Friday at noon, and will range from $45-$75. 

Fear not, Tampa Sheerios. Ed Sheeran is coming to play where the Bucs do

 Did you see teenage heartthrob Ed Sheeran throw his VMA shoes into a Tampa crowd on August 29, or were you like me, and missed getting a ticket? Well, it doesn’t really matter now. The Shape Of You singer has announced a tour in late 2018 of much larger football stadiums across the United States rather than hockey arenas. And Tampa is on that list.

Ed Sheeran will rock Raymond James Stadium on November 7, 2018. But why does he want to play Tampa again? The answer is simple: Tom Petty once described us as “some of the greatest music loving people [he’s] ever played for.” And plus, the ticket demand was ridiculously outrageous, which is why it’s better for Sheeran to play Raymond James – – It’s basically three Amalie Arenas in one.

If you missed him this year, and really want to see him, your chance to get tickets is now. His website has the verified fan system set up as of now, and you can sign up for a code to get your presale code until the day tickets go on sale, October 12.

Tony Bennett concert in Sarasota has been postponed

Source: Jay Cridlin, Tampa Bay Times
Tony Bennett played a show at St. Pete’s Mahaffey Theater in March of this year.

Last night was an opportunity for Florida people far and wide to go see Tony Bennett at Sarasota’s Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. But unfortunately, due to Hurricane Irma, the venue made an announcement regarding the 91-year-old legend’s concert.

“Due to the uncertainty of Hurricane Irma’s impact on Sarasota, the Tony Bennett Concert scheduled for Friday, September 8, 2017 has been postponed. A new performance for Mr. Bennett will be announced for 2018.” If you didn’t have a ticket, here’s another chance for you to get one. But knowing Tony, when he plays Sarasota next year, he’ll likely also have dates set up for the Mahaffey in St. Pete, or Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.

On another note, I hope everyone stays safe during the wrath of Irma. It’s going to be quite disastrous, but I know that Floridians are strong, and we’ll get through this together.

– Josh Dezern, 9/9/2017

YES, it’s true…


Once again, I will officially be reviewing Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin, and Wakeman on October 11 at Ruth Eckerd Hall! This will be my second time seeing them and my first time reviewing them over here. I reviewed them for my school paper last year as a sophomore, but needless to say, nobody, even my journalism class director, didn’t really pick up on it. But I thought that perhaps you would. I walked in that venue thinking of Yes as sort of a mediocre band. But I walked out with them in my top 10. Barely edited for accuracy, this was the first concert review I ever wrote last year, following ARW’s first Ruth Eckerd (and second overall) show that I was invited to the night before it happened. And keep in mind that it was mainly directed towards stupid teenagers who probably hadn’t heard of Yes.


In today’s generation, a typical teenager enjoys rap and autotune, and a lot of them don’t know of some amazing music of the past. I’m the only one without a silver head at the concerts I go to, because I have an odd taste in music. This year, with the passings of David Bowie, Glenn Frey of the Eagles, and Prince, a load of people, including myself, have learned to never take anybody for granted, and this is why now is the best time to see some rock legends live before they pass away. Friday night, however, in Ruth Eckerd Hall, stood three gentlemen, two in their 60s and one in his 70s, playing a reunion concert. And you know what? The gentlemen sounded just like they did since the beginning.

The former members of the progressive rock band YES, Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman have embarked on a world tour as ARW. Anderson still has his truly soprano voice, Rabin still shreds out the guitar solos like a master, and Wakeman played more than five keyboards and a keytar that night, sometimes two at once. They decided to kick off the tour in Orlando on Wednesday night, and were scheduled to play a show in Hollywood, FL, but had to cancel because of Hurricane Matthew. Rabin and Wakeman opened with the iconic Cinema from Yes’ 1983 album, 90125, as Anderson came running out with his Mickey Mouse gloves. The new reunion band gave its audience of about 2,000 people an electric ride through songs such as Hold On and the classic Rhythm of Love. About three quarters of the way through, as Rabin walked offstage for about two minutes, Anderson and Wakeman played a four minute song from when they were a part of a different incarnation of former members of Yes in the late 80s, which featured both of them, as well as guitarist Steve Howe and original drummer Bill Bruford. The piano accompanied song, The Meeting, which was written “at midnight, under the stars” according to Anderson. The band wrapped up the evening with their nearly 20-minute epic, Awaken, from their 1977 album Going For The One, and perhaps their most iconic song, Owner of a Lonely Heart, along with an encore of Roundabout.

“You’ll never hear a finer show,” lifelong fan Rodney Wademan stated at the end of the show. Concerts are always amazing to attend, especially if they’re somebody who has aged and still has energy and talent, because thirty years from now, if the artist has passed on, you’d have a bit of a bragging right, because you will have experienced something that your children, and possibly even your peers, unfortunately, never will get to. But with the way that all three members of ARW look and sound, even after almost 50 years, they could stay alive for another 50.


Let’s hope for Ed Sheeran’s “Subtraction” tour

Image result for ed sheeran 2017

I couldn’t make it out to Ed Sheeran’s Tampa show tonight.

Tickets on TicketMaster went fast (and I mean, like, within an hour of the tickets going on sale) and I just don’t trust resale sites at all. Based on a little seat mishap that happened when I went to a Tom Petty concert in May, I couldn’t take a chance and allow what happened there to actually happen in reality. Nonetheless, I still wanted to try my luck, and show up to the venue’s box office to try and get a ticket, even a nosebleed, at the last second.

Here’s why I decided not to.

  1. It’s a waste of gas. I live about 45 minutes away from the venue, so just to drive out there, withholding the chance of not getting a ticket, and then driving another 45 minutes all the way back home, is pretty redundant if you ask me.
  2. Ed Sheeran is only 26 years old, and it seems like he’s always on tour. It’s not like this is Paul McCartney or The Who, when every time, there’s a chance that it could be your last chance to experience them live.
  3. It’s very likely that in another three years, he’ll release something along the lines of “-” pronounced “subtract” or “subtraction.” So my next chance to see him will probably be a tour promoting new material, like all of his before.

Usually, he does two US legs on one of his tours, and he’s currently on the first one. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s getting Florida out of the way this leg, with upcoming shows in Orlando and Miami as well. However, if in the event he returns to the US on this tour, and he decides to play Florida again, (hopefully on a weekend) I will be there with bells on. If you’re seeing him later this tour, or are seeing him in Tampa as I type this to you, I hope you have a fantastic time. He is a bucketlister for me, and it would be a real heartbreaker if I never had another chance to see him live.

But his fans are in the love with the shape of him, and based on Teddy’s wins the other night, they’re not going anywhere.

– Josh Dezern, 8/29/2017