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Jon Anderson Keeps It Mellow

Graham Clark |
July 9, 2012 | 3:05 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Jon Anderson strums to a contented crowd, 7/7/12
Jon Anderson strums to a contented crowd, 7/7/12
In the heart of Whizin’s shopping mall, Jon Anderson conducted a performance that would have paired well with a dose of Cialis, a bottle of Barefoot, and an outdoor, aboveground hot tub.

It was music to sway your ponytail to: his light rubber reed of a voice floated over the seated audience, which was cordial above all else.

Sunday evening was clearly no surprise for Anderson fans. 40-something ladies, revealing sunny blotches of freckles beneath the straps of black sundresses, cheered and sang along en masse during the choruses.

Men crossed their arms over their t-shirts’ logos, audibly noting which songs and classic Anderson yarns most tickled their fancies.

The one-time Yes frontman’s stories were in no short supply. Anderson took his audience on a winding stroll through years behind the mic, speaking of nights with such legendary characters as a 16-year-old Joe Cocker and Robert Plant, who offered Anderson his first “funny cigarette.”

These stories were worn-in like a soft leather jacket from years of being told and retold.

Overabundant positivity dominated what stage banter was not dedicated to Andersons tales of life on the road. He referred often to “the light,” emanating from the core of all human beings, speaking with the kind of broad amiability usually afforded to cloudy-eyed love gurus.

But darkness has been no small factor in the background of Anderson’s life.

Not only was he stricken with throat cancer in 2008, requiring repeated surgical procedures, he claims to have been slighted by the other members of Yes shortly thereafter.

The group, according to Anderson, chose to pursue a rigorous touring regimen instead of scaling back their commitments to accommodate his ailment.

His physical deterioration was hardly evident, as he strung together hit after hit in an easy listening style.

The only bizarre oddity was the eight plasma screens throughout the venue, which displayed only the album cover of Opeth’s album “Watershed (Special Edition)” for the duration of his performance.

The show included a number of encores, stretching until 10:45 p.m. Then the audience struck back out across the Canyon Club’s spacious parking lot, with only the 101’s dull roar to disturb Agoura Hills’ quiet night air. It was a fitting, smooth coda for an evening stuffed with lilts.

Set list:

1) “Give Love Each Day”

2) “Unbroken Spirit”

3) “Close To The Edge” medley

4) “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”

5) “Big Buddha Song”

6) “Heart of the Sunrise”

7) “No I Never Turned Back”

8) “You Got The Light Of Love”

9) “Long Distance Runaround”

10) “Tony And Me”

11) “Turn Of The Century”

12) “I’ve Seen All Good People: Your Move”

13) “Give Peace A Chance”

14) “Roundabout”

15) “State Of Independence”

16) “Wondrous Stories”

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