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Fragile, At Robin 2 Bilston, March 9th 2002

By Steve Gould & Steve Lacey with Photos by Steve Gould

Fragile have been regulars at the Robin in Dudley since 99 and so it was probably inevitable that the band would eventually make the extra few miles up the road to the Robin 2 at Bilston. The show was excellently captured not only in words by the two Steves but also in pictures by Steve Gould's camera . . .

 

The unholy trinity . . . 

 
 

 

Carrying The Mantle - Steve Gould 

Fragile proudly promote themselves as "The UK's Yes Tribute Band" and with such a prestigious badge to wear, they carry the mantle above and beyond. Focussing on the period 1971 - 73, frustrated Yes-ites starved of live performances could do far worse than check out their next concert in your area.

This was the third time I've seen these guys, but the first time at this venue. The evening started promptly at 9.00pm to an enthusiastic crowd of YES followers and the familiar strains of Stravinsky.

Having spoken with the band last year, I was curious to hear the new material. The stage was decorated on both sides with their new backdrop and as Mitch took his seat behind the drum-kit sans hair I knew we were in for a great night !!

Kicking off with a very competent "Siberian Khatru", the band were well into their stride very early on. Steve Carney has been fighting off Laryngitis recently and performed the entire set on painkillers. It's a testament to his vocal prowess and skill that the audience wouldn't have known if he hadn't told us!! Due credit at this point to Mitch and Bob who provided worthy harmonies throughout the evening.

Having ditched the famous 45 minute "Yes Medley" at the end of last year's Going For 2001 tour, the gap was competently filled with the epic "Close To The Edge" complete with twittering birds and waterfalls!!

Throughout the 2 ½ hour set we were entertained with most of "The Yes Album", "Fragile", "Close To The Edge", "Wonderous Stories" and the band's own unique instrumental composition "Theme" which improves with every subsequent airing and wouldn't be out of place on any Camel album. It is reassuring to hear that Gonzalo is hoping to release a solo project during the next six months with collaboration from other band members. I'm sure it will be well received by all.

 

Flute, manic stare & hat!

 
 

Steve Takes A Stand

A second live CD is also on the way from the band "Live In Helsinki", the first 500 copies come complete with a free packet of Rye Crackers!!

Although Fragile have a very obvious respect for the music of Yes, due to the faithful and note-perfect reproduction, I always enjoy the part of the evening when we're introduced to the band, as they get to show off just how talented and versatile they are. Having flogged "Aqualung" to death, Robert Illes has now moved on to "Living In The Past" complete with flute, manic stare and hat! Gonzalo hammered at "Trilogy" by ELP accompanied by Steve, a superb rendition of "Dazed And Confused" that Robert Plant would have been proud of, "Hold Your Head Up" by Argent, "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel - is there no end to the repertoire of this band!!

A group of people can only function, grow and work together if there is a synergy of talent, egos and personalities. This is a band that performs very well on an and I suspect , off stage. Tom Dawe is the eternal clown and motivator, Jon Bastable - silent, serious, but dedicated and confident. Mitch Harwood - solid focal point with the strength of experience, Robert Illes - along with Gonzalo, one of the more recent acquisitions. A very quick learner, able to improvise (especially when one of his guitar's strings broke!) and adaptable. Gonzalo Carreras - a lover of Supertramp, one of Spain's better exports - a natural performer, good humoured and a worthy successor to the keyboard crown established by Tony Kaye, Patrick Moraz and of course, Rick Wakeman. Finally, Steve Carney - What can we say, the band's front man (complete with cheesecloth kaftan and tambourine) with a wonderfully expressive and powerful vocal range that holds its own with any musical style.

All in all, a kick-ass combination of musical experience and ability that once again gave us all a true evening of Yes music topped off with good humour and solid musicianship. Roll on June at Robin 1…

Steve Gould

 

Fragile Guitars!

 
 

 CHICDB Conquer The Black Country

OK so it doesn't quite roll off the tongue, but it worked for ABWH didn't it? Carney, Harwood. Illes, Carreras, Dawe and Bastable came to the Robin 2 in Bilston and as usual produced a polished (especially Mitch's new haircut!) and powerful performance. From the spine tingling 'Firebird Suite' into 'Siberian Khatru' beginning, through to the 'let's boogie' ending with 'Roundabout', the set was packed with wonderful reproductions of classic YES tunes.

The removal of the excellent YES medley from previous tours was hardly missed, mainly due to the inclusion of a beautifully executed Close to the Edge, which was well received by the crowd. Special mention here for Steve whose vocals were excellent, despite suffering from a throat infection. I was personally glad to hear 'South Side of the Sky' and 'Heart of the Sunrise' hadn't been dropped from the set, particular favourites of mine.

The self penned 'Theme' continues to grow and sounds better and better with each listening. A well-timed guitar string breaking gave Tom time to practise his guitar roadie skills, while Robert gave us a splendidly performed 'Clap'. Guitar returned in time for a rousing 'I've Seen All Good People', which finally got some of the audience dancing!

Amazing Technicolou Dreamcoat

 

More Stage Pictures

 
 

The Man From Wham?

AThe now familiar, but still magnificent, 'Starship Trooper' closes the set before the encore. It was good to hear some changes to the individual intros, I particularly enjoyed Robert playing the flute on 'Living in the Past', Ian Anderson being an old boy at my school in Blackpool.

Following the rock'n'roll 'Roundabout' it was time to finish. The use of the outro from 'Endless Dream' to allow each member of the group to leave the stage to their own applause, is brilliant. I don't know why YES themselves haven't used this for their stage shows.

I've just read through this review and realised that I've used at least 10 different superlatives, this band deserve every one and many more. I'm off to the YESHOO message boards to spread the news and finally get Fragile the recognition they truly deserve.

On a light note, here's a thanks to the band in anagram form!

Rev.Enact YES, Stable Banjo, Which Doormat, Atom Dew, Carlo Razes Organ and Bertie Rolls, thanks again for brightening up the Black Country. See you back at the Robin 1 in June if not earlier.

Steve Lacey

 
Thankyou!
 
 
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