Fragile, At The Limelight Club, Crewe, October 26th 2000
By Neil Gilbert & David Walker
Crewe was another long trip from the band's homes in and around London. They were there thanks to Neil Gilbert who told us about the venue what seems like an age ago. At the time Neil warned me that he would be hard to please but that he was looking forward to it. Here's what he and his mate Dave had to say about the show.
The Limelight - clearly one of the best organised UK venues - publish a house magazine "Limelines" which has an impressive distribution of over 5,000 copies. The December issue saw a number of letters about Fragile which you can read here.
As Yes fans for thirty years we are at least part qualified for the role of critical commentators regarding any group of musicians purporting to play Yes music.
Do we like Yes? Well. . . yes. We love Yes to an obsessional level reserved for train spotters and the like. To say that we know every note of every song on every Yes album more intimately than we know our respective better halves is perhaps an admission best kept to ourselves lest we aspire to anarakdom. So it was with a mixture of scepticism we greeted the existence of Fragile, Britain's solitary Yes tribute band. It's a fact that there is more musical complexity in one yes song than in a whole album of most bands, although suffice it to say one yes song could easily span a whole album. Neil discovered Fragile by accident while viewing another tribute band's website and took steps to immediately introduce the band to our favourite venue, the Limelight of Crewe.
Introductions over, the band scheduled a gig for a weekday at half term. Not the best opening. So it was with a little trepidation we attended the Limelight on Thursday October 26th fearing a poor turn out and in someway carrying the burden of Crewe's response on our shoulders having been instrumental in luring the lads North. Such was our concern the aforementioned partners were commandeered to boost the numbers.
Our worries were unfounded. The Limelight's stalwart regulars didn't let us down and turned out to the tune of well over 100 and gave Fragile a rousing welcome. Fragile responded by presenting an excellent 2 hour show with some of the best Yes music spanning three decades; classics like Yours is no Disgrace, Awaken, Roundabout, Starship Trooper and Siberian Khatru to name but a few.
Fragile were note perfect and to make that claim of most bands would be praise enough but with the rich textures and changing moods of Yes music, it is indeed, the highest praise.
Percussion is considered the engine of any band but with Yes music it can be considered more like intricate clockwork and Mitch Harwood kept perfect time, whilst adding a vocal harmony to singer Steve Carney, who not only had Anderson's unique sound but even moved like him on stage, and try as I might I couldn't see the strings. The demonic John Bastable produced the punchy and eclectic style of Chris Squire's bass complemented by Tom Dawes' rhythm guitar and snazzy hat. From the back Gonzalo Carreras tickled the electronic ivories with Wakemanesque verve and dexterity whilst Robert Illes delivered what can only be described as an awe inspiring reproduction of Steve Howe's imaginative fretwork. Did we leave anyone out?
By the end of the evening Crewe had adopted Fragile and eagerly await their return. Soon oh soon, we hope.
So how good were Fragile? Over to Dave;
'I usually grade a band's performance by how long I continue to smile after a gig and I'm still smiling. My wife will think I'm having an affair. What she doesn't know is that I am and it's been going on for thirty years. Shhhh don't tell her'.
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