The Limelight Club June 20th 2002
By Matt Isaacs & David Walker
Following on from the triumphant, if under attended Bar Cuba gig in Macclesfield in February, we just had to make the pilgrimage to Crewe see the lads up north again! Two years ago, Fragile played a highly regarded concert in this venue, and I'm pleased to report the audience did this awesome outfit justice this time in both size and volume! Boy, did Steve, Jon, Mitch, Robert, Tom, and Gonzalo deliver tonight?
As soon as the majestic strains of "The Firebird Suite" swept across the room, we knew we were in business when the band ripped into a highly charged "Siberian Katru". From this point I could really witness what Fragile were capable of. As superb as the Macclesfield show was, it was already apparent that they had shifted into another gear for this gig!
A real treat was in store as Mitch soldiered the boys into the rarely performed "South Side of the Sky". A track so intricate and dynamic, the real Yes are allegedly reluctant to project this piece beyond rehearsal stage. The harmonies in the soft mid section were angelic, and Gonzalo raised hairs of back of neck with his stunning piano work.
The mind blowing "Perpetual Change" was a true joy to hear. Steve's voice soared especially during this powerhouse of a song. Robert Illes undertook the unbelievable task of duplicating "The Clap" note perfectly, before the rest of Fragile rejoined for stellar reading of "Close To The Edge".
The Rabin years were represented by the hyper "Cinema", seamlessly segueing into a gorgeous "And You and I". Gonzalo steered the self-written instrumental "Theme" which could easily be mistaken for an authentic Yes piece. I'm sure Rick would encourage Jon and Steve to record this if he ever got the lucky chance to hear it.
"Wonderous Stories" was lovingly executed, as was a heart wrenching "Heart of The Sunrise". As "Yours Is No Disgrace thundered across the club, I assumed this would be the last number of the set. How wrong I was!
"Starship Trooper" took all of us on to another planet, complete with short bursts of Deep Purple's "Strange Kind of Woman" and "Argent's anthemic "Hold Your Head up". Needless to say, "Wurm" was killer. Fragile left to the stage to rapturous applause before the evening was wrapped up with the ever-popular "Roundabout".
Each band member excelled himself tonight. Jon's bass work anchored the sound of the group beautifully. Steve sang his heart out all evening, and clearly enjoyed our response. Mitch balanced his peerless drumming style with some sweeping vocal harmonies with consummate ease. Tom's guitar leads were played with dexterity and fire of both Rabin and Howe. However, the star for me was Robert, who tripped us all out with his enviable flourishes and skill. I mean "The Clap" had jaws plummeting to the ground!
The only comment or question I have to voice to Fragile is 'How about a weekly residency, chaps?'. I need my regular fix of "Fragile"!!
This is probably the Nth review I've written regarding Fragile performances so it's getting predictable and probably boring to read my words but what the hell. A good crowd (Not the best possible) turned out to watch Fragile perform their impressive tribute to Yes.
Let me summarise:
Siberian Khatru: - perfect
South Side of the Sky: - brilliant
Heart of the Sunrise: - excellent
(reaches for thesaurus)
Close to the Edge: Well shiiit, boys. You done nailed this one to a cross and called it a religion.
Perpetual Change: - superlative.
Yours is no disgrace: - outstanding
And you and I: - awe inspiring.
Starship trooper: - amazing.
Roundabout: - Classic genius.
Other assorted pieces: visionary.
As usual, with the individual pieces during Starship Trooper you prove you're all a bunch of smug gits.
Sad to hear you won't be doing the Yes stuff for a while but I have to admit to being excited by the prospect of some original compositions from you. As much as I revere Yes music I think it's a waste of your considerable talents limiting yourself solely to tribute material. Can you throw out any hints on the material. The Theme you play on your gigs puts me very much in mind of Camel - Snow Goose period. I'm sure this isn't the first time this has been said and whether you embrace this or reject it. I will be buying your new work for sure and watching it live as I'm sure will many of the people out there that have already watched your stunning performances.
Live long and prosper.
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