YES: In the Present Toronto Show

Benoit David has a powerful voice and I was amazed at his resemblance to Jon Anderson as well. This man could give YES another 10-15 years of touring life. The song selection was much better than some recent YES gigs. Adding rarities like “Machine Messiah”, “Tempus Fugit” both not played live since 1980! “Onward” from the 1978 album Tormato and “Astral Traveller” from their second album Time and a Word. Excellent choices in my book. The rest was standard YES concert fare with “Close to the Edge”, “Roundabout”, “All Good People” etc…but the man can sing exactly like Anderson with the same accents and he reaches the high notes. Although his voice did crack during “Machine Messiah”, overall, he was excellent.

Steve Howe was also fantastic changing guitars whenever it suited a particular song (which was often). Chris Squire was on fire and Alan White gave a good solid performance. Oliver Wakeman was kept behind the keys and did his job well with a lot less of the flamboyance of his father. Obviously making sure he played the parts faithfully especially the piano bit on “South Side of the Sky”.

I have to say I walked out very satisfied knowing that YES music lives on…

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YES: In the Present Rehearsal Photos

All credit to Paul Silveira who took these shots of YES rehearsing in Hamilton, Ontario for the http://www.yesworld.com website. These were most likely taken on November 1st. Not enough close ups for me except the nice one of Steve Howe. Perhaps they didn’t want any close ups? I’m looking forward to tomorrow night at Massey Hall and a future DVD from the tour.

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Jon Anderson: YES, He’s Not Happy

Yes frontman Jon Anderson says his bandmates royally dissed him by announcing they will tour with a replacement singer. Anderson, who is on doctor-ordered bedrest for the rest of the year after suffering acute respiratory failure in June, states he is “disappointed and very disrespected.”

Source: http://www.spinner.com

Well, it’s really a shame that the other guys didn’t contact Jon about this. But I’ve got my ticket for Nov 5th Massey Hall, because, with all due respect, Jon Anderson in Yes does not make it Yes…it’s the sum of many parts which might not include Jon (remember 1980?). I love Jon’s music and maybe the band could have even asked him if he didn’t mind but apparently, he no longer has a corporate stake in Yes, therefore he has less say in the matter. I’m interested to hear this version of the band. I am a fan of the Drama album and this is the first chance in a long time that we might get to hear some “Machine Messiah”.

Nov 4th Update: It seems that Jon has recanted his public disapproval (even though it has now been widely documented) and has made peace with the band over the decision.

YES Tour ’08 Resurrected (then Cancelled Again)

According to several news sources, Jon Anderson will be replaced on vocal duties for the next Yes Tour. And it’s starting here in Ontario! The replacement is a fellow from a Yes Tribute band from Montreal, Quebec. Chris Squire saw him on Youtube doing his Anderson type stuff and gave him a call. I have no problem with this. I hate to say it, but I enjoyed a Genesis Tribute show (Turn It On Again, Feb 2008 @ the Danforth Music Hall) more than the real thing (Genesis @ BMO Field Sept 2007).

Sometimes these drastic changes bring fresh life into a band (like when Phil Collins took over for Peter Gabriel…I also wish the Ray Wilson Genesis had toured over here and I still want to hear some live stuff from that 97-98 tour). Also, the setlist should be very interesting. Squire wants to play some songs that Jon has no interest in fronting (Drama stuff) and Yes has plenty of material to cull from.

Anyway, I hope it works, and I plan to check it out. Yes to the music!

Update: They are going to play Massey Hall on Nov 5th.

Update: February 2009, due to Chris Squires health issues, the tour has been cancelled…lucky I got to see them when I did.

YES Unplugged: Jon Anderson in Concert

The Music Hall Toronto, March 29, 2008

I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting myself into last Saturday night. I am a big Yes fan and was debating within myself all week “Should I save my 2008 concert budget for the summer Yes concert or take a chance and see a Jon Anderson solo show?” I’m happy to announce that a JA solo show is a unique experience for a Yes fan. The songs were beautifully stripped down to the basics of voice and acoustic guitar. Because the concert started during the “Earth Hour” the first part was lit by a few candles on stage which made it a coffee house atmosphere! Gorgeous songs recreated for a single voice and guitar. Even intricate recordings like “Starship Trooper” were reduced to the core elements (obviously without the “Wurm” section). The real power of the night might not have been JA’s distinct voice (which is in excellent shape for for a man just entering his 6th deacde) but the songs themselves. Simple chord strumming with pure joy and not missing any of Steve Howes or Rick Wakeman’s intricate solos or Squires bass lines. The man comes across as a real gentleman and has a great stage precence.

Photo by wayne
Since I originally posted this article on Yestalk.org…the Yes 2008 Summer Tour has been cancelled due to Jon Anderson’s sudden respiratory illness. I hope he will have a speedy recovery and be able to perform again solo or with Yes.