• I'm going to push back a bit on some of these comments above. I understand what many of you are saying; I just flat out don't agree with some of it.



    Progatron , in your post above quoting my last one, well, you proved that you haven't really followed the band closely for at bit. Jay Schellen has been part of the touring bad for Yes for over three years, and frankly his playing is phenomenal. Why was he asked to join in the first place? Because Alan had back problems that were so severe that he finally had to have surgery on his back, which led to his missing the 2016 tour and accepting a supporting role for the years since. (We also know from our own Phil Collins how difficult it is to come back from neck and spinal difficulties. Frankly, I'm surprised both are still able to perform to a degree.) Alan has much more difficulty walking than playing - when he is actually behind his kit, his playing is fine. I'm a bit puzzled too that he plays on that side kit while Jay plays on the main kit during some sections of the show; the optics of it certainly aren't great. To be honest, I think Alan is still hopeful he will recover enough to play full shows again - if he felt that he would never get there, I think he would have already retired.


    A lot of people have difficulty with Jon Davison's singing. When he first joined, I had the same (but mild) reservations. The show I saw on Wednesday, however, he was the best I have ever heard him. In fact, I consider him to be one of the stars of that evening. He really delivered that night, it was really the best I have ever heard him perform. (I'll speak more about the absence of Jon A. below.)


    I also saw the "classic 5-man" reunion (my personal favorite permutation of the band too) at virtually every Philadelphia and NYC area show from 2002 to 2004 - I saw at least five shows, but it may have been six. The shows on those tours were indeed great; however, if you were bothered by the tempos you heard recently, they were playing slower tempos even back in 2002. They haven't approximated playing at original 70s tempos since the 90s - they were still getting there for the reunion tour in the early 90s (one of the best shows I have ever seen), they were there for the "Keys To Ascension" shows, they were there during the "Open Your Eyes" tour (terrible album, stellar tour), but after that tour, they started slowing down. You might say, "Well, they're even slower now". No doubt, but they only sound "plodding" compared to the 70s playing - which is only logical: they are all a lot older. They aren't all that much slower now than they were a decade and a half ago.


    Backdrifter , I was once a "No Anderson, No Yes" Yes fan myself. (As far as Wakeman saying the same comment, he has never played in a Yes without Jon despite the band's myriad personnel changes, so what else would he say?) Anyway, when they decided to tour without Jon in 2008, I abstained with prejudice; I was "proud" to miss that tour.


    Then, I watched some of the videos after a while. Benoit David was doing quite a decent job with the vocals; he wasn't Jon A., to be sure, but he was far from sounding dreadful. The rest of the band sounded as good as they had in the past. The more I watched, the more I felt like a chump for not at least giving this new version of the band a hearing in person, and not just copping out by passing judgment at a distance by only watching videos on YT. I said if they make a new album and I don't dislike it, I will see them in person and decide whether Yes is still for me. Well, they released "Fly From Here", I not only didn't dislike it, I loved it; I went to the show (in Sheffield, if I remember correctly), and I concluded that I still had my band. (I should note that Alan's back troubles really started acting up on this tour - the tempos were a bit slower on the faster songs (but not annoyingly so) and Alan started looking "winded" after shows - it was only later that I found out it was more from trying to hide wincing in pain than from exhaustion.)

    Of course, during that tour, Benoit managed to blow out his voice; thus, the Jon Davison era began. (I was dubious about him too, especially after their releasing "Heaven and Earth", which I did not really care for at all. The saving grace for the beginning of his era was that they started doing the whole album tours - I loved those. Songs that had rarely been played got live versions again, some got played for the very first time.) A final comment on the Benoit David era - the "Live In Lyon" CD they released from that era of the band is one of my very favorite Yes live albums - yes, seriously. Is it as good as YesSongs or YesShows? No, of course not. But it isn't massively distantly behind them either - very dynamic and well-played music.


    I also saw ARW twice and they were very, very good. One of the things that tickled me the most about that tour is that the old 70s purists finally had to be at least more accepting of Trevor Rabin's contribution to the Yes story. That must have twisted some of their panties in a bunch - in order to see Jon and Rick together again, they had to see and hear Trevor too. And they all played very well together (Lou Molino and Lee Pomeroy were a great rhythm section as well - I first saw Lee on Steve Hackett's first "Genesis Revisited" tour, so I knew he would be up to the challenge of playing Chris' bass parts.) However, I never felt - not once - like I was seeing a "more authentic" or "better" Yes when seeing ARW than the "official" Yes - I felt like there were two Yeses at the time and that I was a bit spoiled for choice. I kind of wish they were continuing, but they seem to be done for good.


    Ultimately, what really gets to me sometimes about the criticisms of the current Yes is that those who are so eager to cast aspersions on them haven't seen them actually perform in person. YT videos are merely an approximation of the live experience - they just aren't the same as the real thing. I myself was guilty of this same myopia back in 2008; I had to admit to myself that I was wrong for passing judgment in this way. Frankly, I'm glad I changed my mind - I've seen at least 6 additional shows in person since that "Fly From Here" tour show and I loved every one of them. This band still sounds great live. If they didn't, I'd stop going - I'm not just going for the label.


    I also understand having preferred band members - I pointed out above that the 5-man reunion from 2002 to 2004 was my favorite permutation of the band too (although that was still behind the 8-man reunion of the early 90s). However, while Yes was never as flexible with band membership as, say, Hawkwind, they have rotated players often for literally decades. They haven't had all original members since "Time And A Word", their second album - before they made any of their albums that people know them for. Changing members is part of the Yes DNA - a fact that Rick Wakeman himself pointed out on the "YesStory" video/DVD when he said the could see a Yes extending far into the future long after the original/"classic" members left/died. He didn't see that possibility as the band being inauthentic - indeed, when Benoit David was the singer, his son, Oliver Wakeman, was the keyboard player. (Now, do I personally have the same viewpoint that Rick expressed in that video - no, I don't. If Steve Howe left the current band, I wouldn't accept them as authentic - unless, of course, both Jon and Trevor rejoined the band, then perhaps I might. If Geoff Downes left, Rick, Tony, or Patrick would have to come back. Alan's potential replacement has been in the making for the past 3 years - I'd fully accept Jay Schellen; he's been playing the drum parts brilliantly on the previous 3 tours and the current one. Fortunately, I think Billy is around for a while and, as rightly pointed out above, he does have Chris Squire's imprimatur of approval.)



    People's tastes are people's tastes. If you can't abide them anymore for whatever reason, then don't go. It's just the tone of many of those who leap to criticize them now seems to suggest that anyone else with any "sense" ought to feel the same way. (Let me further point out that I'm NOT directly accusing anyone here of that same narrow-mindedness - I mention here more as an explanation for the length of this post. I've been hearing these shots taken at the band for quite a while, and I think it's time the opposing viewpoint got a proper airing.)


    Finally, let me reiterate this: the show I saw last Wednesday was spectacular - not spectacular on training wheels, not spectacular with an asterisk, not spectacular with fingers crossed behind my back - but spectacular, full stop. In recent years, when they tour, I am usually content with seeing just one show per tour; however, this show was so good I'm seriously contemplating seeing another, even if I have to drive a bit to see it. It was just that good.

    Stepping out the back way, hoping nobody sees...

  • I've seen Anderson-less lineups a couple of times, and enjoyed it. I'm not saying those lineups are bad. But when he is there, for me there is an intangible Yes 'spirit' that feels present more so than when he is absent - no disrespect to Howe, Squire (who I saw in a Non-Jon lineup) or White intended. It's probably also a lot to do with his great likeability as a front man.

    Abandon all reason

  • Progatron , in your post above quoting my last one, well, you proved that you haven't really followed the band closely for at bit. Jay Schellen has been part of the touring bad for Yes for over three years, and frankly his playing is phenomenal. Why was he asked to join in the first place? Because Alan had back problems that were so severe that he finally had to have surgery on his back, which led to his missing the 2016 tour and accepting a supporting role for the years since.

    Yes, I'm fully aware of all of that, as I do indeed follow the band closely. I just don't see them live in person anymore. My comment "who?" still stands - you say that if Steve Howe left, you would no longer acccept them as authentic. So we all have our breaking points, it seems. If some guitarist you'd never heard of came along and played with them for three years, could I just say the same thing you've said about Alan/Jay? My point there was that after Squire's death, we were down to just Howe & White as the only longstanding members, and then a few years back we even lost most of White's performance too, to be largely taken over by Jay Schellen. Is he a great drummer? Yes. Can Jon Davison sort of sound like Jon Anderson? Debatable, but he hits the notes at least. Is Billy Sherwood a good replacement for Chris? Well, he does his job with the utmost respect to his friend and mentor, and I like him, but there is no replacement for Chris. Is Geoff Downes a solid keyboardist for Yes? Well, I think he's great at what he does, and some of those epic tracks are a tall order, so my hat is off to the guy for soldiering through them every night. He is a completely different kind of player from the Wakemans and Moraz's of the world though. My point is that for me, Howe/Downes/Sherwood/Schellen/Davison (with a pinch of White) is just not Yes. If it is for other people, great! Enjoy. I'll continue to buy the live CDs to at least support the band in that small way, even though I play them once and on the shelf they go: In The Present, Like It Is: Bristol, Like It Is: Mesa, Topographic Drama, etc.

    People's tastes are people's tastes. If you can't abide them anymore for whatever reason, then don't go. It's just the tone of many of those who leap to criticize them now seems to suggest that anyone else with any "sense" ought to feel the same way. (Let me further point out that I'm NOT directly accusing anyone here of that same narrow-mindedness - I mention here more as an explanation for the length of this post. I've been hearing these shots taken at the band for quite a while, and I think it's time the opposing viewpoint got a proper airing.)

    Well I'm glad this isn't aimed at anyone here. If you read my post, I think you'll find that I was respectful to the band while also offering my honest take on them in 2019. There is no 'leap' to criticize, my points are all made after careful consideration. I don't go anymore, I happily offer my seat to someone else who will be more appreciative of the show. I saw my shows, now it's someone else's turn - maybe a new, young fan who didn't get to see what I did, but at least they get to see this lineup, which is better than nothing. But me? I will stick with my own personal Yes memories of Anderson/Squire/Howe/Wakeman/White.

  • Prog magazine issue 110 will feature Rick Wakeman, discussing among other things "what happened with ARW" according to Burning Shed's email.


    Also in this issue, Robert Fripp, Caravan and 'the most influential albums in prog'.


    The covermount CD features Gandalf's Fist - !!! ^^


    I now nothing about them but find the name hilarious. It sounds like a spoof prog band name in a comedy show.

    Abandon all reason

    Edited once, last by Backdrifter ().

  • Prog magazine issue 110 will feature Rick Wakeman, discussing among other things "what happened with ARW" according to Burning Shed's email.

    While, I had no interest whatsoever in seeing them perform 'live' I would have liked to have heard a studio album by ARW. When Yes did their eight-man-lineup Union tour, Rabin and Wakeman got on famously and in a perfect world the next Yes album would have had Wakeman onboard. But this band is blighted by politics and so it never ended up happening. A shame really.

  • Yes released Fragile on this day, 11 November in 1971.


    My favourite track is South Side of the Sky, for me possibly the best thing they ever did.

    South Side Of The Sky is a pretty terrific song. I love the very Bruford drum fill to start the song. The middle section is tremendous with the harmonies, always love hearing that part.


    For me Fragile is what got me into this band. Particularly Heart of the Sunrise. My first listen of that song turned me into a Yes fan instantly.

  • South Side Of The Sky is a pretty terrific song. I love the very Bruford drum fill to start the song. The middle section is tremendous with the harmonies, always love hearing that part.


    For me Fragile is what got me into this band. Particularly Heart of the Sunrise. My first listen of that song turned me into a Yes fan instantly.

    Yeah HotS is another great one. The version on Yessongs is absolutely incendiary, them at their peak on stage. But as with everything on Fragile the original has some of the best bass/drums of any rock music. The Squire/Bruford combo was sublime.

    Abandon all reason

  • Yeah HotS is another great one. The version on Yessongs is absolutely incendiary, them at their peak on stage. But as with everything on Fragile the original has some of the best bass/drums of any rock music. The Squire/Bruford combo was sublime.

    It sure was an amazing combo and I think Fragile may be the best example of what they were capable of. That early section in HOTS with Squire's bass part, the mellotron chords, and Bruford playing all around the rhythm is quite a moment. I love the sound of those drums on that album! Roundabout, South Side, The Fish, all good stuff from the rhythm section.


    Though CTTE had some moments... What a band at that period. It may have been brief, but that lineup was something special.