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Fragile, At The Fleece, Bristol, June 16th 2001

By Nick Bowden with Photos by Ian Nichols

After over a year of trying Fragile finally touched down in Bristol for the first time ever taking their two and a half hour "Going for 2001" show to the "prog desert" of the South-West! We were doubly fortunate to receive this excellent review from Nick Bowden and some stunning photos by Ian Nichols!

Read Dr Prog's Review of the show with pictures by the Bastables.

Read Andy Thomas' Review of The Show

 

Fragile On Stage At The Fleece 

 
 

 

Too Good To Miss  

Having only heard the three very brief MP3's that can be found on their web site http://www.yestribute.com and after reading some fantastic reviews, the opportunity to see Fragile finally perform in my home town was too good to miss. I purchased their CD entitled Live At The Half Moon upon arrival and waited.

 As the band walked on stage to the familiar strains of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite I knew I was about to witness something special. There were a few puzzled faces as the 2 minute 'Silent Spring' intro to 'Endless Dream' opened proceedings in fine style. Perhaps next time Fragile will perform this wonderful epic in its entirety. They then launched straight into a faithful rendition of 'Siberian Khatru' making it look all too easy. The vocal talents of Steve Carney handled the high notes with comparative ease although without Jon Anderson's distinctive accent and the backing vocals from rhythm guitarist, Tom Dawe and drummer, Mitch Harwood were particularly effective. Steve then announced how pleased the band were to finally play in Bristol after the promoter had cancelled last year's gig at the last minute.

 

Tom Dawe - Effective Backing

Steve Carney
 
 

Jon - Immaculate Twang!

 

Reggae tinged??? 

A slightly simplified 'I've Seen All Good People' was then followed by one of the highlights of the evening, the rarely performed 'South Side Of The Sky', a surprisingly close rendition to the original given its complexity. 'Heart Of The Sunrise' then enabled Jon Bastable's immaculate bass playing to come to the fore although I felt his sound was perhaps a little too twangy. An excellent 'Clap' courtesy of Robert Illes paved the way for 'Perpetual Change', another highlight, superbly performed and every bit as satisfying as seeing YES perform this song at Cardiff last year.

Fragile's own composition 'Theme' followed, an instrumental in a style reminiscent of Camel that blended perfectly with the other material. Next up was the much heralded, laid back, reggae tinged, claptonesque 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart', at least that's how others have described it. I think it may take a few listens to really appreciate it, so buy the CD and judge for yourself. One hit single followed another with the rarely heard 'Wonderous Stories', before one of my all-time favourites, 'And You And I' although it was slightly marred by a few sound problems.

Gonzalo - very talented
 

 

"Sung as it should be" 

With no time for an interval Fragile continued with the all too brief 'Cinema' before embarking on their piece de resistance, the YES Medley, a 35 minute journey of wonderment incorporating 'Long Distance Runaround', 'The Fish', minus the vocal part, the ending from 'The Gates Of Delirium' including a keyboard/vocal 'Soon', not unlike the YES version on 9012Live - The Solos and a frenetic keyboard solo from the very talented Gonzalo Carreras, formerly with Galadriel, including excerpts from 'Six Wives' and 'Ritual'. The medley continued with the opening few minutes of 'Hearts' to just before the first chorus which brilliantly segued into the keyboard solo near the end of 'The Revealing Science Of God', leading to Mitch's drum solo based around part of the extended workout in 'Ritual', before ending with a full and rousing 'Yours Is No Disgrace'.

No surprises with the choice of encores, but 'Starship Trooper' was incredibly doubled in length with the inclusion of snippets of classics by other artists, wonderfully performed, including Thick As A Brick (sung by Robert), Comfortably Numb (sung by Mitch), Whole Lotta Love and Paranoid (with Tom Dawe's guitar powering through) and Karn Evil 9. The final encore was, of course, 'Roundabout' in which it made a pleasant surprise to hear the "In and around the lake" segment sung as it should be, like the original. Tagged on the end was the instrumental finale to part 2 of 'Endless Dream', an appropriate conclusion to 2½ hours of total enjoyment.

All in all, a magnificent performance and while not quite the same as seeing the real thing in a large arena, supported by countless personnel, the intimate setting of The Fleece and the undoubted ability within the band, made this a night to remember.

Nick Bowden

 

Thick as a Brick!

 
Utter Madness! 
 
Read Dr Prog's Review of the show with pictures by the Bastables.
Read Andy Thomas' Review of The Show
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