Posted on: Friday, September 26, 2003
Enter another realm with the mystical art-rock band
The members of Yes, from left to right: Chris Squire, Rick, Wakeman, Steve Howe, Jon Anderson and Alan White.
Photos by Robin Kaufman Yesworld 2003
By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
Yes in 1984, from left, Trevor Rabin, Alan White, Chris Squire, Jon Anderson and Tony Kaye, doing its part to promote mousse use.
Gannett News Service
with The Honolulu Symphony
8 p.m. Saturday
(877) 750-4400, 792-2000
Twenty-minute opuses about lost civilizations and topographic oceans. Instrumental solos rivaling the entire length of a 50 Cent show. Majestic choirboy-on-psychedelics vocal acrobatics soaring high enough into the stratosphere to meet and greet alien visitors.
Oh, yes, children. Yes, that most underrated collective of progressive rock behemoths this side of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, is bringing its eternally cosmic musical spaceship back to Honolulu. After riding out the 15 years since its last visit somewhere beyond Mars' Valles Marineris, the pioneers of '70s arena rock will jam with the Honolulu Symphony Saturday at its first orchestrally backed concert since 2001.
Bring something caffeinated, a soft pillow and some Dramamine. It's going to be a loooong ride.
• • •
Drummer touches on 'Lonely Heart,' Lennon memories
We reached longtime Yes drummer Alan White at his home in Seattle earlier this month, a day away from leaving for shows in Japan, Australia and, eventually, Hawai'i.
Why Honolulu for the only symphony show Yes is doing on this tour?
Well, it's on the way back. (Laughs.) And we haven't played there for such a long time. The ... (Honolulu Symphony) offered themselves and we thought, 'How great! We've got all the music for everyone. Why not perform some of these songs with the orchestra?' We'll do some ... with the orchestra and some without them.
Do you listen to bands like Radiohead or the Flaming Lips and think, 'Man, that's prog rock!'
Yes. ... We were having a (band) meeting or a conversation somewhere in Europe ... and saying, 'Well, look at Radiohead. They would handle it this way.' And they were actually eating around the corner from us. So we went and said hi to them, and it was kind of a very funny chance meeting. My son listens to Radiohead a lot.
I'm a member of the generation that discovered Yes with "90125" when "Owner of a Lonely Heart" hit No. 1 and the band's videos were all over MTV. So I've got to ask, why doesn't the band play anything from "90125" on tour? Do you guys hate it that much?
You had to ask that question, huh? (Laughs.) Well, I think you might find our visit great because I think we're actually going to do 'Owner of a Lonely Heart" on this tour. We're planning on it right now. We didn't play it on the last couple of tours, but we're planning on doing it in Asia and Australia.
After 30 years together and recognition as one of the bona fide pioneers of the art- and progressive-rock movements, Yes has yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. How difficult has that been for you guys?
Oh, it's a sore subject. (Laughs, a bit wearily.) A lot of fans are really, really upset about that. I do think eventually, the band will end up there. ... I've been there many times and actually know the director. Ahmet Ertegun, who had the band for years on Atlantic Records, is one of the guys that (inducts) people in there. I think one of the main guys is ... Jann (Wenner) the editor of Rolling Stone. For some reason, somebody at some time turned him off ... and he's one of the main influences. I don't know if there's a problem there. ... We'll see what happens. I know the wheels are turning.
You played drums on "Imagine" and "Instant Karma." Any stories from three years of drumming with John Lennon in Plastic Ono Band?
Yeah. I was a very young guy at the time. ... He saw me playing one night (in a club in London) and basically invited me to play in Toronto with him. And at the time, I really thought that was the way rock 'n' roll was — that it was a natural step. I didn't think about the fact that I was actually playing with John Lennon in his first (band) since the Beatles. Only years later (did) I look back at what it was, (see) it as part of the history of rock 'n' roll (and start) thinking, 'Wow! Did I really do that?' (Laughs.)
So it was great. It was very much a family-oriented thing — a family with John and Yoko and Eric Clapton. Eventually I played on 'All Things Must Pass' with George (Harrison). ... Once you were part of the family you were just accepted and it was great atmosphere to have around you. I'm just thankful it happened to me.
• • •
Yes, Yes and more Yes
Founded: 1968 in Birmingham, England
Music: Progressive rock, art rock
Current membership: Jon Anderson (vocals, 1968-80, 1983-88, 1991-present); Rick Wakeman (keyboards, 1971-74, 1976-80, 1991-1994, 1996-97, 2002-present); Steve Howe (guitars; 1970-81, 1991-present); Chris Squire (bass, 1968-present); Alan White (drums, 1972-present)
Membership over the years has included: Peter Banks (guitars, 1968-70), Tony Kaye (keyboards, 1968-71, 1983-94), Geoff Downes (keyboards, 1980-81), Trevor Horn (guitars, 1980-1984), Patrick Moraz (keyboards,1974-76), Bill Bruford (drummer, 1968-72, 1991-92), Trevor Rabin (guitars, 1983-94), Billy Sherwood (guitars, 1994-99), Igor Khoroshev (keyboards, 1997-2000).
5 best-selling Yes CDs (year released, units sold in U.S.):
1. "90125" (1983, 3 million-plus)
2. "Fragile" (1971, 2 million-plus)
3. "The Yes Album" (1971, million-plus)
4. "Close to the Edge (1972, million-plus)
5. "Yessongs" (1973, million-plus)
Yes on the Billboard Top 40 (peak position, year):
* "Your Move" (No. 40, 1971)
* "Roundabout" (No. 13, 1972)
* "Owner of a Lonely Heart" (No. 1, 1983)
* "Leave It" (No. 24, 1984)
* "Love Will Find a Way" (No. 30, 1987)
* "Rhythm of Love" (No. 40, 1988)
5 music acts spawned by Yes (and the Yes members we can blame):
* Asia (Howe, Downes)
* Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (all four)
* Jon and Vangelis (Anderson)
* Flash (Banks, Kaye)
* GTR (Howe)
5 weirdest Yes song titles:
* "Arriving UFO" from "Tormato"
* "The Revealing Science of God: Dance of the Dawn" from "Tales from Topographic Oceans"
* "The Remembering: High the Memory" from Tales from Topographic Oceans"
* "Cans and Brahams" from "Fragile"
* "Dangerous (Look in the Light of What You're Searching For)" from "Union"
5 truly bizarre Yes song lyrics:
* "As the silence of seasons on we relive abridge sails afloat ... As to call light the soul shall sing of the velvet sailors course on." — From "The Remembering: High the Memory"
* "Tell the Moon-dog, tell the March-hare ... We ... have ... heaven. To look around, to look around. Yes, he is here; Yes, he is here." — From "We Have Heaven"
* "A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace. And rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace. And achieve it all with music that came quickly from afar. Then taste the fruit of man recorded losing all against the hour." — From "Close to the Edge Part 1: The Solid Time of Change."
* "I could not take it oh so seriously really ... When you called and said you'd seen a UFO. But then it dawned on me the message in writing. Spelt out a meeting never dreamed of before." — From "Arriving UFO."
* "I see a man in a white car ... Move like a ghost on the skyline. Take all your dreams ... And you throw them away. Man in a white car." — From "White Car."
3 bizarre quotes from Jon Anderson, Yes vocalist, lead esoteric lyricist and spiritual true believer:
* "The angel said he was happy with the work I was doing and prophesized that in the 21st century I would still be singing the same songs." — To London's Independent in August, referring to a 1977 meeting with a large Jamaican man and a little girl he decided were angels.
* "In the early '90s, a lovely lil' lady from Hawai'i came by who was able to ignite my third eye." — To London's Guardian, in July.
* "There are evolved people on this planet. I don't doubt that there is a universal people out there living on different kinds of levels. I've been lucky enough to appreciate nature and to understand there is a devic world. There is a fairy kingdom. That's what I know and what I believe in. That's my life." — To Melbourne's Sunday Age, in January.
12 things you might not have known about Yes:
* Original vocal inspirations were the harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel, and pop/soul vocal group The 5th Dimension. The band's first American hit was a 1972 cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "America," which peaked at No. 46 on Billboard's Hot 100.
* The band's first big break was an October 1968 gig at London's Speakeasy Club, filling in for Sly & The Family Stone.
* Opened for Cream's November 1968 farewell concert, and Janis Joplin's April 1969 show, both at London's Royal Albert Hall.
* First American tour was as opening band for Jethro Tull, 1971.
* The angelic-voiced Anderson's falsetto/soprano is self-trained.
* Yes still holds the record for most consecutive sold-out nights at Madison Square Garden: 16. In second place: Led Zeppelin.
* MTV-era Yes mates Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes were former members of The Buggles, whose "Video Killed the Radio Star" was the first video broadcast on MTV.
* The title of the band's largest-selling album to date, 1983's "90125," was taken from the disc's Atco/Atlantic Records catalog number.
* Yes has won only one Grammy Award — for 1984 Best Rock Instrumental for "Cinema" from "90125."
* In spite of key member comings and goings over the years (in particular Wakeman and Anderson), Yes only "officially" broke up once — in 1981, for a year and a half. The band split into two factions in 1989, when Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe formed their own supergroup called, uh, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. Litigation ensued over use of the name Yes, which Squire and White (who with Rabin and Kaye were actually touring as Yes) owned. Both sides eventually made nice, joining forces again in 1991.
* Bass player Chris Squire is the only founding member of Yes who has never left the band.
* A "Lord of the Rings" fanatic, Jon Anderson told Entertainment Weekly in 2002 that he'd written six songs with a musician specializing in 17th-century music and submitted it to "LOTR" producers for inclusion in "The Two Towers." Alas, they were submitted too late for consideration. Don't hold your breath for them in "The Return of the King."
Yes was last in Honolulu ...
* On: Wednesday, March 30, 1988, 8 p.m., at Blaisdell Arena, as part of the Big Generator Tour
* Members: Jon Anderson, Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire, Alan White
Yes with the Honolulu Symphony, Sept. 27, 2003:
* Saturday evening's Yes orchestral show will be the band's first with our symphony, but not its first symphonic gig. Touring behind its symphonic studio album "Magnification" from July through December 2001, the band performed 69 shows in the United States and Europe with full orchestra. One of the shows was recorded for the DVD "Yes Symphonic Live."
Our favorite Yes fan sites:
Forgotten Yesterdays: A Comprehensive Guide To Yes Shows. www.forgottenyesterdays.com
Pete Whipple's amazingly detailed Web site lists the dates, locations, Yes players and, most importantly, set lists of every Yes show since 1968. Yes fans worldwide have also sent Whipple photos of ticket stubs, programs and posters, and offered synopses of shows, detailing everything from audience reactions to the quality of that evening's rendition of "Don't Kill The Whale."
Virtual Jon — Yessongs Big Generator. www.eilands.com/vjon/
With just three words (an object, a place, and a person) of your choosing, a virtual Jon Anderson composes an existential Yes song just for you or your sweetie. What follows are a few snippets from the song we were presented with after entering our object (gnomes), place (Palolo) and subject (Jennifer Garner):
"Sliding under Phebes embracing softly near happy gnomes. To need to love wondrously inside Hades ... Angel forever will be light. Easy gnomes being under Palolo. Jennifer Garner can sometimes be open. Wondrously Jennifer Garner happily lightly ascending gnomes to rearrange easily at Palolo."
— From "Hearing Slowly Near Warm Gnomes" by Virtual Jon.
Reach Derek Paiva at 525-8005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.