Given that the week started so sadly with the death of Ronnie Barker, it has ended on a high note – literally.
evening I took a trip to Birmingham’s Symphony Hall to see Jon Anderson
of Yes on his solo tour of Europe. I wasn’t sure whether or not I was
going to go initially, but this morning I bit the bullet and decided it
was worth going, given that it would be the first time I had seen Jon
Anderson solo and there was a slight chance I would finally get to meet
him, having been a fan of Yes and each member’s solo work for seventeen
years. I had no problems getting a seat, given that I was going alone.
I went on the motorbike, parked up about an hour before the gig started
and walked round to the Symphony Hall, which is currently fronted by
the rather impressive Birmingham Eye (big wheel).
I paid the obligatory visit to the merchandise stand, where I bought a
t-shirt and got a free poster, and noticed a sign announcing that Jon
Anderson would be at the stand after the gig to sign merchandise.
Finally I would get my chance to meet one of my musical heroes.
The gig itself was excellent. Jon played a mix of material from his
solo albums, his work with Vangelis, and of course a few Yes songs. For
the main part, he played his custom-built MIDI guitar, which triggers
drum loops, keyboard chords, and sequenced bass-lines as he plays each
chord – quite interesting to see this technology in action. The guy is
61 this month and is still a pioneer in music technology! Even if I
didn’t like the songs he played (I did), I would have enjoyed the whole
After the gig I went back to the merchandise stand and duly queued up
to meet Jon. There were quite a few people in the queue and I got
chatting to a young couple (in their 20s) in front of me and a couple
behind me (in their early 40s). I asked the guy behind (Chris) if he’d
mind taking a picture of me with Jon and offered to return the favour
and email him the picture. Turns out that Chris is a photographer and
has worked with several bands, so I mentioned that BAiT could do with
some professional pictures in the near future and he seemed very keen
to do a photo session with us, so I’ll look forward to that.
After approximately 45 minutes, it was my turn to meet Jon. I asked him
to sign my ticket, which he kindly did, and then offered him BAiT’s two
most recent albums, The Full English and South Of The Delta, as a gift.
He thanked me, then agreed to have his picture taken with a ‘fellow
Northerner’. As I walked away, he called after me and, having observed
that I was wearing my bike leathers, asked if I was on a motorbike, and
told me to go easy. Nice bloke and a very down-to-earth in person.
I can thoroughly recommend a trip to see him on his tour, should the chance arise.