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Fragile, At The Robin, Dudley, June 22nd 2001

Ah, The Robin, after the gale force sound of the Fleece Fragile were back at one of their adopted homes. Steve has since said that this may have been his favourite ever gig, but what did the crowd think? Steve Gould sent us an in-depth review while John Chivers vocalist/drummer with Midlands band BAiT and Robert Crump also sent us their thoughts of the show.

Pictures by Steve Gould.

 

 
 

"If you closed your eyes . . ."

Having been a Yes fan for many years, I was eager to see Fragile in action as I'd missed them on previous visits to The Robin and for the princely sum of £6, turned up ten minutes before they took the stage to a full house of enthusiastic Yes fans. As Yes have been around for over 30 years it was interesting to note the varied age range of the audience…..

The band duly arrived at a few minutes past 9pm to the familiar sound of Stravinsky, Yes are a hard act to emulate due to their complex time structures and Jon Anderson's rather unique vocal talents so when they launched into Siberian Khatru the professionalism and musical skills of the band were in evidence from the word "go" and I knew we'd be in for a very entertaining evening.

Over the next two and half hours we had a varied set which mixed classic YES old and new, from Yours Is No Disgrace right up to Owner Of A Lonely Heart ( "remixed" and mellow ). The Yes Medley ( apparently a concert fave ) at 42 minutes long was spectacular and included many highlights from Yes' successful past - synth solos from Revealing Science Of God and Drum solos from Ritual, we had the lot !! Is there no Yes classic this band can't turn their hand to ?? A bonus was the inclusion of a track from the album the band have taken their name - South Side Of The Sky, rarely performed live by Yes, expertly done and great to hear again after all these years, as fresh as ever.

We were given every track from The Yes Album ( with the exception of A Venture ) and Fragile was covered well with Heart Of The Sunrise and Roundabout, even The Fish !!! Nice to see the Rickenbacker bass in action, deftly handled by Jon Bastable. If you closed your eyes you'd have thought Chris Squire was on stage - fabulous.

Keyboards have come a long way from the early Yes days with advances in digital technology so it was curious to see a rather "condensed" keyboard array from the days when Rick Wakeman took the stage to 13 moogs, 4 mellotrons and a couple of hammonds for good measure ( and probably a partridge in a pear tree !! ). The ethereal sound of the Mellotron played a key part in Yes music during the 70's and early 80's and I for one miss the spine chilling sound of this glorious instrument, but having spoken with various keyboard players over the years ( including Gonzalo Carreras after the gig ), it would appear that they were not without their problems, tuning in particular. Key mellotron moments were amply filled with string synth and gave a more up-to-date feel to the music on offer this evening.

During the usual "meet the band" session, covered admirably by lead singer Steve Carney, we were entertained by the various band members in a unique way - from Jethro Tull, to Supertramp, to Pink Floyd, to Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and even good ol' ELP, a pot pourri of musical influences that gave a nice aside to the evening and took that "serious" edge off the proceedings. After all, we were there to have fun and enjoy ourselves, why not the band - Tom Dawe is obviously the band showman with plenty of rock 'n roll strutting and those trousers…………

And so to our lead vocalist, Steve Carney. How did he perform ?? Well, as I mentioned earlier, Yes and indeed Jon are a hard act to follow and on this occasion I can safely say that all six members of the band gave of their all with a very professional, very authentic feel to the performance, but as for Steve - he has a unique and powerful voice which, without trying to emulate Jon, covered his vocal range extremely well, unlike Trevor Horn on Drama…. ( never mind TH, stick to producing matey ). If ever Jon decides to call it a day and hang up his kaftan, I feel sure Steve could quite easily audition to wear the shoes of a true Yes frontman.

So did they achieve their goal of convincing us of their authentic Yes sound ?? That's a definite YES and I for one look forward to seeing Fragile again in November when they visit the Midlands prior to the next major Yes Tour ( bank loans available now, but for a few quid check out this superb six piece who's love of Yes Music is more than evident ). Full marks, a superb evening.

Steve Gould

 
 

 

"Atmosphere Was Fantastic"

Just wanted to drop you a line to compliment you on last night's show at the Robin. The atmosphere was fantastic.

Having seen the band last year at the same venue, I can honestly say that there was a big difference in last night's performance. Not that the gig last year was bad, but clearly the new line-up at the time was trying to gel. It has now had time to settle down and has clearly benefited from regular gigging.

The musicianship last night was tight. Compliments to all of the band members. As a drummer/vocalist myself, it was particularly enjoyable to witness Mitch's playing and singing again. Gonzalo was much more 'under control' last night compared to last year and his performance really was a highlight of the show for me. Full marks to the Iberian Wizard!

Just one thing - you can smile you know, Jon! ;-) Honestly - fancy wielding a Ricky 4001 and not even looking like you enjoy shaking peoples' rib cages!

By the way - are there any plans to pursue your original material, be it under the Fragile moniker or some other?

I'm very glad I came along to see you guys again and will be back in November (my own gig schedule permitting!). All the very best for your future dates.

John Chivers

You can find out more about John and his band on their website http://www.baitband.com/. 

  
 
 
 
 

"Scintillating"

On Friday (22nd June 2001) I went to see "Fragile" at the "Robin" Dudley. I'd never seen a tribute band before, but when a "Yes" one came along curiosity got the better of me, as I've been a "Yes" fan since 1972.

Well "Fragile" passed the test with ease. Most of the material they played is drawn from the "Classic" era of 70-73 and it was particularly nice to hear "South Side Of The Sky" as I've seen "Yes" several times in the 70's but they never played it. The "Rabin era" was not ignored with a few numbers from "90125" including a scintillating version of "Cinema".

In the true "Yes" tradition there were also "solo" performances including "The Clap"

So in short, if you fancy wallowing in 2 and a half hours of sheer nostalgia for around £6 go along and support these guys.

Bob.

Robert Crump

  
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