Fragile, At The Horn, St Albans, May 24th 2001
Once again breaking new ground Fragile swept into St Albans to make their debut at the Horn Reborn, a compact venue capable of generating a great atmosphere. And that's just what happened! We're privileged that Pam Bay who heads up The Steve Howe Appreciation Society, Andrew De Witt, Ricahrd Maida and Esther Bailey were there give us their view of the band and the night's performance . . . there were also a few e-mails!
At long last I caught up with Fragile at The Horn, St Albans having not seen them for 2 years - and WOW! They are so much tighter now, their musicianship has developed to perfection - an absolutely excellent show of YES classics.
Siberian Khatru; All Good People; South Side Of The Sky; Perpetual Change; a fabulous version of Owner Of A Lonely Heart; Wondrous Stories; the YES medley - Long Distance Runaround; Gates of Delirium; Soon; Hearts; Yours Is No Disgrace and finally Starship Trooper and Roundabout, kept the enthusiast crowd well entertained for 2 and a half hours.
I can appreciate that many YES fans prefer only YES - but hey, Fragile are a tribute to YES music, they love YES music as much as YES fans. It's a great night out, meeting old and new YES people, and enjoying those familiar YES songs performed extremely well.
Incidentally, I'm sure Steve Howe would be well pleased with Clap - the first time I have heard this live not performed by Mr Howe! A gesture too from the crowd, who took time to personally thank and congratulate Fragile for a great evening.
I look forward to the next time - when I will ensure to wear trainers on my feet - this ancient YES fan is out of touch with pub gigs!
(Steve Howe Appreciation Society)
If you'd like to find out more about the Steve Howe Appreciation Society then I'm sure that Pam would be delighted to hear from you : email@example.com.
The journey was definitely worth it!
I am so truly astounded by the amount of hard work that has obviously gone into the playing of these highly complex songs. And I am also totally impressed by the musical quality of these songs that this hard work has produced. The combined talents of these guys is awe-inspiring. The seeming ease with which they sailed through the more obscure masterpieces as South Side of The Sky and Perpetual Change left me with my jaw to the floor.
I am too young to have seen Yes in their heyday, so I am very grateful to these guys for bringing to life the songs of a band that I have always loved and admired. When I heard that there was a Yes tribute band I was sceptical. I couldn't believe that anyone could possibly do Yes justice. But I was gravely mistaken. Fragile are a breathtaking experience!
On the M25.....
Would the keyboard player have a knee-long blond wig and cape? Would thebass player be bedecked with costume jewelry? And the lead singer wearwhite pyjamas? Never having been to a 'tribute' band gig before I didn't know what to expect. I didn't want a band who were pretending to be Yes, a sort of Abba Gold for prog-rockers. Just the music needs to be ok. You know, notes played in the right order and at the right time - that sort of thing.
Through the door......
So I'm not alone. Thank goodness. Other people like Yes too. Lots of them. Orange juice or two and into the back room. Usual mountain of equipment.......deep hum & Yes samples followed by six guys on stage. Not a blond wig in sight - a good start. Five minutes later I'm grinning like an idiot as Fragile were crashing into a note perfect 'Siberian Khatru' - These guys are good. Very good. The rapt attention paid by the packed audience followed by loud applause told me that I wasn't the only one who was thinking this.
Close to the Stage.....
I should have guessed it right from the start. Everything about this operation exudes quality, from the website to the drum solo from 'Tales'. Not only content with doing note-perfect copies of Yes songs, Fragile keep to the Yes tradition of 'looking over the horizon' and have developed ideas of their own. Each of them has bucketloads of talent, and you could single out any any member for that 'tingle down the spine' award, however I found the lead vocal and backing vocal harmonies particularly breathtaking. As a group, they inject an undefinable energy into the music - and by that I don't mean speed or loudness, but rather a kind of freshness. (At this point I was going to use a simile involving the phrase 'new car smell', but I thought the lads wouldn't appreciate it. So 'freshness' it is).
Fragile....Better than Yes?
Which brings me to the only time I saw Yes live - on the Drama tour, Southampton Gaumont, with Trevor Horn on vocals. Musically they were good, but Trevor was seriously struggling with the range needed for some of the songs. Comparing the two gigs, Fragile definitely win with flying colours.
A two and a half hour set, great sound, great songs. A great night out.
We saw you for the first time last night and it was brilliant. Thanks for a great show. Next time you are near Tring, Herts we will bring a whole crowd of people along.
Although we had to dash off at the end we like the way you mix with the audience post show. Do you do private gigs ?
Once again, keep up the good work. We will spread the word locally anyway. Have to bring the wives next time so we can both have a drink and not worry about driving !!.
Ray Ellis & Neil Fraser
Doesn't appear to be a "feedback" or "contact us" type facility - this was the closest it gets maybe.
Anyway - just wanted to say what a great concert tonight at Horn Reborn in St. Albans.I haven't been to many gigs for years - saw Yes once at Hammersmith in 70's!
Thoroughly enjoyed it and thought they were all excellent and created a great atmosphere.
I play a few Steve Howe tunes myself including "Clap" and thought the guitarist did very well - but would be better keeping it to a beat - it sounded rather rushed. That's trivial because the whole thing was superb - good luck to all of them.
I was going to do a full length review but having read some of the other write ups, it seemed pointless to try to re-invent the wheel, so I'll be more concise.
The St Albans gig was the 5th time I have seen Fragile. The first two occasions were at the Croydon Cartoon, in June and August last year. The third was at the LA2 with Pallas and the fourth at the Boat Race in Cambridge. Whilst I would say these shows displayed some growing pangs within the group, they also displayed the potential each of you had to offer. It is quite clear you have been very busy these past six months for the St Albans gig presented a Fragile that was very tight and very confident. The addition of South Side of the Sky & Perpetual Changes to the live set were most welcome, and both were performed with great proficiency.
I tried to convey my compliments to your keyboard player in rather broken Spanish after the show. I am half Andaluscian on my mother's side and attempted to put into the practice the few words I know, only to confuse him completely, I fear. My apologies. In any case, me le gusta mucho....and I look forward to seeing Fragile hopefully in Southampton in July or London in September.
Until then, hasta luego!
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