Fragile, At The Standard, London, Sep 21st, 2001
By Paul Harvey, David Carter, David Watkinson & Chris Jones
Fragile returned to the Standard in London to play in front of the biggest crowd that had seen the band there. In amongst that crowd were David Watkinson, author of the new Yes book, Perpetual Change, David Carter, Paul Harvey and long-term Fragile devotee Chris Jones who has seen the band more times than most of the band have! Each of them give their views of the show, the photos are courtesy of David and his digital camera!
Fragile At The Standard
What a night it was at The Standard! After a good warm up set from Tea For the Wicked there was only a short wait before the Firebird suite could be heard and my friend Caroline and myself made for the front. (Being Jon Anderson sized I did not block anyone's view!) Siberian Khatru was first up after a brief introduction piece (from the Talk album?) The quality of playing, warmth and great timing showed and confirmed that this was going to be another excellent night of wonderful Yes music.
It was just great to be part of a very appreciative audience of Yes music fans that stood transfixed, occasionally swaying and singing to favourite songs. I think Steve and the band were a bit overcome with the wonderful reception. They deserved it. It is very difficult to pick out a stand out track because all the pieces were well played, but Fragile's version of 'South Side of the Sky' was spot on, as was 'You and I' and a very dynamic 'Heart of the Sunrise'. 'Yours is no Disgrace' was also very good with excellent vocal harmonies. I wasn't going to write this but several times I found tears in my eyes from the emotion of hearing wonderful music. This was something only Yes themselves had managed to do before now.
Tonight was the first time I had heard the 'medley' and it worked very well with extracts from Ritual and a very moving 'Soon' from G.O.D. In future it would be great to hear 'Awaken' or even 'In the Presence of.. from the superb new Yes album 'Magnification'.
Normally I wait for bands to play in the 'London area' before I see them, but I think I'm just going to have to travel to see Fragile again, I'm not sure I can wait till next year! And that is despite having tickets to see Yes twice at the end of the year!
I would like to thank Simon for a very readable web site and to Gary for giving me a lift tonight! And once again thanks to the band for another great night!
This time won't be a full one as my wife and I had to leave due to us having to get back to our son at a decent time. Never the less here we go. This was my second visit to see the band at this venue and it was clear from the outset that at was holding considerably more people this time around, about 250 I would say. We chatted to the band before the show and all seemed to be as ease and looking forward to performing a full set once again. They came on at about 10.10 p.m. and went into Endless Dream from Talk, then All Good People which went down well as a typical Yes sing-a- along, my personal favourite came next South Side Of The Sky, now can anyone tell me why Yes can't play this then? Fragile can and do a bloody good job of it, so come on Yes, DO IT! Jon was featured in the next, Heart Of The Sunrise a Yes classic if there ever was one, then Clap and fittingly we exited as Perpetual Change began, did you know there is a new Yes book out now with that name. So if you are a fan of Yes, once again, do go and support them, its like a Yes gig, go on then tell me a better night out if you can. Keep up the great work lads.
Classics were performed brilliantly
Was it really two and half years ago that, leaning against a pillar at The Standard in Walthamstow, I first saw the embryonic Fragile playing only their fifth gig, performing what must be some of the most complicated music in rock history? Doesn't time fly? Especially when you're having fun. Admittedly, that night, I was liberally laced with a few pints, but that was due to the occasion (he says!). And, to cap it all, Peter Banks was playing a few numbers with the band. What I knew about Yes music at that time could probably have been written on the back of a postage stamp, but Fragile certainly changed all that. A (Yes)friend had suggested that I go along to see this 'amazing' band, and I will forever thank him for that. I was reluctantly dragged home after the gig but, fortunately, had time to shake hands with a few of the guys, rip a flyer off one of the walls, and vow that I would repeat the experience if fate allowed. Luckily it has done, many times.
Two and a half years on, the experience is still the same, only better. This band are still 'amazing'. Playing their only London gig this year brought it all back to me. The line-up has changed a couple of times but, now things have settled down, this has only served to improve matters dramatically, and the band now appear very much more relaxed and in control of the music. And, at the same time, they are obviously enjoying themselves. It is hard to appreciate that the band are only doing this as a part time project, such is their professionalism and enthusiasm. On that basis alone it is truly 'amazing'.
Okay, we could go back to that old chestnut that I hear all the time: "But they're only a tribute band. Why should I bother?". I can assure you that Fragile are not 'only a tribute band'. They are a great band of very talented musicians. They would have to be. As I have said, they are playing some of the most complicated rock music ever written. Admittedly, written by someone else. A band that have lived and breathed together over many, many years, producing some fantastic music. But not unplayable by any other musicians, as some Yes fans assume. Fragile have proved that. And only doing it in their spare time. And they also have the added problem that Yes are still touring and recording as I write. Other tributes - Genesis, Floyd, Zeppelin, Beatles, T-Rex, Abba (I think I've gone far enough!) etc. - have it relatively easy. Their bands are either no longer in existence or are 'resting'. The only chance to hear their music live is to see a tribute band. Yes are still touring, but how often do you get the chance to see them? And what does it cost? Fragile 'fill the gaps' better than you can imagine. Okay, they are not Yes, but that's fine. They are a tribute to Yes music, and that's where fans who expect a clone band get confused. Fragile are what they should be, and they do it very, very well.
Fragile were ably supported at The Standard by Tea For The Wicked who, I should imagine, attracted many of their own fans. Nevertheless, the size of the crowd that night was larger than expected and they were certainly not lacking in enthusiasm for both bands. The fact that it was Fragile's only London gig this year probably had something to do with audience numbers. Anyone reading this who has been disappointed by the lack of gigs in London this year should remember that Fragile are playing at Southend, St. Albans and Colchester which are not a million miles from the capital. It's worth the trip! I could go through the set list but it has been done many times before. I can only say that Fragile were on fire that night and played one of the best sets I have heard. The outstanding number for me was Wonderous Stories. The vocal harmonies from Messrs. Carney, Harwood and Illes were amazing, helped in no small way by the tremendous sound quality. Thanks, The Standard! Fragile rose to the occasion and the reaction of the crowd, and produced, for me, an amazing performance. There's that word again! The crowd were nearly as enthusiastic as those the band get in the Midlands, and that's really saying something! The audience, as usual, were left screaming for more, but Fragile had more than supplied the goods that night.
We'd like to say how much we enjoyed your fantastic show at the Standard on Saturday; you truly surpassed yourselves! You lot just get better every time, and it must have been obvious how much the audience loved you - it was like the Last Night of the Proms.
Hey you even managed to do Wonderous Stories, and you needn't have worried - it was note perfect. (Could have used a bit more Percussion in that one though !) "South Side" was a superb addition, too. "Changes" is a song i think a lot of people would like to see you play; any chance? And it would be really good to hear "Owner" played in it's original form again now - you're wasting such a damn good riff !!
Anyway, Fragile are one of the few bands worth going out to see these days, and long may you guys continue to play together.
You are all much loved !
Best wishes, David and Lucy Carter.
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