Yessongs Italy

February 19, 2011 - De Pul, Uden (NL)

Usually it's a lot of fun to watch a great tribute band bringing back nostalgic feelings to many people. In a way they relive a part of their childhood. I've got these feelings for instance when I see the Italian band The Watch perform some excellent music from the early days of Genesis with Peter Gabriel (see review). I wondered if I should have the same feelings while attending a concert of the Italian tribute band Yessongs Italy performing the music of Yes. The band plays the music of Yes that was released on the live album Yessongs (1973).

Robert Illesh
The people that visited De Pul in Uden were in for some great music. A rather large audience had gathered round the stage waiting for the musicians to play the music of one of the first progressive rock bands ever. Unfortunately the original guitarist Giorgio D'Ottavio couldn't make the trip to The Netherlands. Therefore, the other band members asked guitar player Robert Illesh from the British Yes tribute band Fragile to replace him for this gig. He agreed since he's familiar with all the songs the band intended to perform. It was quite a job, because he just met the other musicians on the day of the concert... They'd left Italy at five o'clock in the morning to be in time for this concert. The band had little time for an adequate rehearsal, but when they started with Siberian Khatru I observed that there was no need for a rehearsal at all. The song was performed after the famous intro of Firebird Suite. From the beginning it was obvious that these musicians had been listening endlessly to the music of Yes. Especially bass player Gabriele 'Bibbi' Ferrari approximated the style of playing of Chris Squire while plucking his Rickenbacker bass guitar. Just as on the original album the audience could enjoy a short drum solo during Perpetual Change. Carlo Fattorini succeeded in sounding like Alan White. It was easy to hear that he didn't imitate Bill Bruford because the snare drum sounded differently.

After this piece Robert Illesh performed the standard Steve Howe solo spot. As usual in those early days he performed Mood For A Day on his acoustic guitar which he did very well. He also played the intro for And You And I on his electric guitar instead of the acoustic guitar. The lap steel guitar and the double neck electric guitar were brought on stage as well to make this song sound exactly like in the early days. Before the end of the first set Stefano Vicarelli got the chance to play the original keyboard solo by Rick Wakeman which included excerpts from The Six Wives Of Henry VIII. With the help of the original instruments such as a MiniMoog, Mellotron and Hammond-organ he did an outstanding job. I only missed the golden cape around his shoulders...

After the break the sound of birds made clear that one of the first epics ever written was next. Close To The Edge got an outstanding rendition, but I must confess that I missed the church organ, although Mr. Wakeman played these parts on a Hammond-organ as well. Long Distance Runaround and The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) were above all showcases for 'Bibbi' Ferrari to show his talents on the bass guitar. The next song was introduced as a tune to sing along with and that could only mean that I've See All Good People was on the menu. It was a lot of fun to watch Mr. Illesh play on his baby acoustic guitar. For many people Yours Is No Disgrace was the first introduction to the music of Yes. Also for Robert Illesh as he explained after the show. The song served as a great vehicle to improvise on his electric guitar. In the seventies Yes mostly finished a concert with Starship Trooper followed by the well-known encore Roundabout. No exceptions on the set list in Uden so again the audience could enjoy marvellous solos on the electric guitar and MiniMoog during Starship Trooper. Roundabout was the last chance for the audience to listen to the falsetto voice of lead singer Claudio Cassio. Dressed in white he did a wonderful but difficult job in sounding like Jon Anderson. After Roundabout the people in the concert hall shouted for another encore, but unfortunately none of the musicians returned on stage.

Looking back at this performance I had the same feelings that I had during the concert of The Watch a couple of weeks earlier. Although I didn't relive my childhood again the wonderful decade of the seventies often came to my mind thanks to the well-performed music of Yes by Yessongs Italy.
Click here for audio & video samples

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)


Set 1:
Intro/Firebird Suite
Siberian Khatru
Heart Of The Sunrise
Perpetual Change
Mood For A Day
And You And I
Wakeman Solo (Excerpts from The Six Wives of Henry VIII)

Set 2:
Close To The Edge
Long Distance Runaround/The Fish
I've Seen All Good People
Yours Is No Disgrace
Starship Trooper


Pictures Yessongs Italy (by Henri Strik)

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up:

(left to right)
Carlo Fattorini:
Claudio Cassio:
lead & backing vocals
Gabriele "Bibbi" Ferrari:
bass, bass pedals, backing vocals,
Stefano Vicarelli:
Robert Illesh:
guitars, backing vocals

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