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Fragile, Live At The Cartoon, Croydon, May 30th 2000

By Dave Bran

Last week Fragile's new line-up took to the stage for the second time and gave their final performance before the recording of their new CD. Dave Bran a long-time Yes fan and "lifelong cynic" went along to see them and was kind enough to send us a review of what he saw . . .

Fragile nail another tune!


"Curiosity and better opportunity"

I have been a "Yes" fan for as many years as they have existed, perhaps not your fanatical attend every Gig type of fan, but averaging an event attendance once a year or so throughout. I have got dizzy at Wembley Arena, and been lasered at the Stafford Cowshed! I have the Album set, the only one I fitted throughout with plastic sleeves, which must say something! I have seen all the incarnations of the band from Wakeman to Moraz to Khoroshev.

A while ago I became aware of the existence of "Fragile", a "Yes" tribute band. Now, as a lifelong cynic, I firmly believe that the real thing has no substitute. My previous exposure to "Tribute" bands comprised watching ten minutes of a "Bjorn Again" (an ABBA tribute band) Gig on TV, hardly likely to make me change my mind!!

Invited to a "Fragile" Gig some time ago , I had to bale out due to work pressure, and at the time was not too bothered at the loss. However, curiosity and better opportunity led me back to attend the Cartoon in Croydon. After all, I consoled myself beforehand, Yes music is so good, there must be SOME bits I'll like………..

"The history and legend of Yes music"

I was told the band had very recently changed line up - not an encouraging sign when handling the complex Yes classics I hold so dear, so I don't know what I really expected from the Gig, but my expectations were certainly not that high……………what a shock I had!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right from the start of the Gig it was obvious that here was a group of talented musicians who care about their craft, supporting and doing real credit to the history and legend of Yes music. They perfectly and sensitively reproduce the "Yes" sound for most of their set, including a terrific and highly accurate interpretation of the highly complex Siberian Khatru.


Robert's debut at the Bull's Head

"In perfect harmony"

However, they are also not afraid of trying their own interpretation of numbers. Now at this point I think I know what you're thinking! Believe me, after a string of perfectly accurately reproduced Yes numbers, when they launched into a softer and more melodic version of "Owner of a Lonely Heart", I visibly winced!

However, this initial reaction did not last, wiped away by the quality of their performance and my feeble brain finally coming to grips with the skill of their interpretation - Hmmm, capable of pulling off more than perfect carbon copies then, Guys.

Then they introduced their own composition…………………and it sat within the set in perfect harmony with the Yes classics…………Geeeez Guys, and this after only a very few weeks together and only one other Gig with the current line up!!!!!!!!!

"Cohesive Power"

I'm no musician, I have got by over the years using a Yamaha keyboard and Atari ST/PC combo to create music via programming skills rather than any musical skill. I therefore don't consider myself qualified to comment on musical technical ability, but I know what I like, and after the Cartoon Gig I like "Fragile" a lot!!

"Fragile" is a good name for a Yes tribute band, but certainly misrepresents the breadth of their ability and robust quality of their output. I will not pick out any one member out for individual comment, as it's the cohesive power of the group that grabs you and gets the adrenalin flowing.

In my humble opinion if you have ANY interest in Yes music they are a "must see" item, my only regret is that I did not find them earlier. Investigate their Web Site - find a Gig near you and Go!!

Dave Bran, June 4th , 2000

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