YES - ‘In The Present Live From Lyon’
Chris Squire - bass & vocals
Steve Howe - guitar & vocals
Alan White - drums
Benoît David - vocals
Oliver Wakeman - keyboards
Yes was formed in 1968 by vocalist Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire. Anderson was a member of The Warriors with his brother Tony, and had performed on singles under the pseudonym Hans Christian. Squire was part of The Syn, and spent time to develop his bass-playing technique following the band's split in 1967. He formed Mabel Greer's Toyshop in January 1968 that consisted of singer and guitarist Clive Bayley, drummer Bob Hagger and former Syn guitarist Peter Banks. They played at The Marquee club in Soho where Jack Barrie, owner of the nearby La Chasse drinking club, saw them perform. "There was nothing outstanding about them...the musicianship was very good but it was obvious they weren't going anywhere". Barrie introduced Squire to Anderson at La Chasse, where they found common interest in bands such as Simon & Garfunkel and harmony singing. That evening at Squire's house they wrote "Sweetness", which appears on the first Yes album. Banks left Mabel Greer's Toyshop to join Neat Change, but Squire invited him back into a reformed group after the departure of Bailey and the addition of Anderson on lead vocals. Hagger was replaced by Bill Bruford, a jazz aficionado who placed an advertisement in Melody Maker. Bruford first met the band on 7 June 1968 and performed that day at the Rachel McMillan College in Deptford. Classically-trained organist and pianist Tony Kaye, who had been in Johnny Taylor's Star Combo and The Federals, was the fifth and final member to join.
With the line-up complete, Mabel Greer's Toyshop was renamed Yes at the suggestion of Banks. They rehearsed in the basement of The Lucky Horseshoe cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue between 10 June and 9 July 1968. Their first live show under the Yes name followed on 4 August at East Mersea Youth Camp in Essex. Early sets were formed of cover versions of songs by artists such as The Beatles, The 5th Dimension and Traffic. "What covers they were, given the full Yes treatment! We didn't just rearrange a song – we celebrated it with much enthusiasm", said Banks. On 16 September 1968, Yes performed at London's Blaise's club as a substitute for Sly & the Family Stone, who failed to turn up. They were well-received by the audience, including host Roy Flynn, who became the band's manager that night. Spots at The Marquee soon turned into a residency, but Bruford decided to leave in September to study at Leeds University. He was replaced by Tony O'Riley of The Koobas, who struggled to perform with the group on-stage. Anderson and Squire pleaded for Bruford to return, who after being refused a year of sabbatical leave, rejoined for Yes' supporting slot for Cream's farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 26 November 1968.
In early 1969 Yes signed a deal with Atlantic Records. Their self-titled debut album was released in August, and included renditions of "Every Little Thing" by The Beatles and "I See You" by The Byrds, as well as original material. Lester Bangs gave a positive review in Rolling Stone, and complimented the album's "sense of style, taste, and subtlety". Melody Maker columnist Tony Wilson chose Yes and Led Zeppelin as the two bands "Most Likely to Succeed". After a tour of Scandinavia with The Small Faces in February 1970, Yes performed their first major solo concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on 21 March. The second half consisted of excerpts from their upcoming second album, Time and a Word, accompanied with a 20-piece youth orchestra. Released in July 1970, Time and a Word featured the orchestra with band-composed material and two cover songs – "Everydays" by Buffalo Springfield and "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" by Richie Havens. Peter Banks, who had been particularly dissatisfied with using the orchestra and the sacking of Roy Flynn earlier in the year, left the group before the album's release on 2 May 1970. Banks' replacement was Tomorrow guitarist Steve Howe, who was included on the cover of the American issue of Time and a Word, despite not having played on it. The album reached number 45 on the UK Albums Chart, and Howe played his first show with Yes on 15 July at London's Lyceum Theatre.
The Yes Album, the band's third, was released in January 1971. It was the first to solely feature original compositions, which the band wrote and rehearsed in a rented farmhouse in Devon. Howe quickly established himself as an integral part of the Yes sound, and played a wider variety of instruments including the Spanish vihuela. The Yes Album also united the group with their long-serving producer and engineer Eddie Offord. According to Offord, the recording sessions would last for 12 hours or more. Each track was assembled from small sections, typically 30 seconds to one minute in length, which he pieced together to form a complete track. Only after the final mix of each track would the band then learn to play the song right through for live performances. The Yes Album peaked at number 4 in the UK and number 40 on the US Billboard 200 charts. To promote it, Yes embarked on a 28-day tour of Europe with Iron Butterfly in January 1971. The band purchased Iron Butterfly's entire public address system which improved their on-stage performance and sound. Their first date in North America followed on 24 June 1971 at Edmonton Gardens in Edmonton, Alberta, supporting Jethro Tull. Tony Kaye performed his final show with Yes at the Crystal Palace Bowl that August. The decision was made after friction arose between Howe and himself on tour, and his reported reluctance to play the Mellotron and the Minimoog synthesizer.
Yes found their new keyboardist in Rick Wakeman, a classically-trained player who left the folk rock group Strawbs earlier in the year. He was already a noted studio musician, with credits including T. Rex, David Bowie, Cat Stevens and Elton John. Squire commented that he could play "a grand piano for three bars, a Mellotron for two bars and a Moog for the next one absolutely spot on", which gave Yes the orchestral and choral textures that benefited their new material.
Released on 26 November 1971, the band's fourth album Fragile showcased their growing interest in the structures of classical music, with an excerpt of The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky being played at the start of their concerts since the album's world tour. Each member performed a solo track on the album, and it marked the start of their long collaboration with artist Roger Dean, who designed the group's logo, album art, and stage sets. Fragile peaked at number 7 in the UK and number 4 in the US (after it was released there on 4 January 1972) during a stay of 46 weeks, their first to reach the top ten in America. Its best known track, "Roundabout", was released in the US, in edited form, as a single that peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. In February 1972, Yes recorded a cover version of "America" by Paul Simon. The track subsequently appeared on The New Age of Atlantic, a compilation album of several acts from Atlantic Records.
Released in September 1972, Close to the Edge, the band's fifth album, was their most ambitious work so far. At 19 minutes, the title track took up an entire side on the vinyl record and combined elements of classical music, psychedelic rock, pop and jazz. The album reached number 3 in the US and number 4 on the UK charts. The growing critical and commercial success of the band was not enough to retain Bruford, who left Yes in the summer of 1972, before the album's release, in order to join King Crimson. His replacement was former Plastic Ono Band drummer Alan White, a friend of Anderson and Offord who had once sat in with the band weeks before Bruford's departure. White learned the band's set list in three days before embarking on the record's supporting world tour. By this point, Yes were beginning to enjoy worldwide commercial and critical success. Their early touring with White was featured on Yessongs, a triple live album released on 18 May 1973 that documented shows from their 1972 North American tours. The album reached number 7 in the UK and number 12 in the US. A concert film of the same name premiered in 1975 that documented their shows at the Rainbow Theatre in December 1972, intermixed with psychedelic visual images and effects.
"It is a fragmented masterpiece, assembled with loving care and long hours in the studio. Brilliant in patches, but often taking far too long to make its various points, and curiously lacking in warmth or personal expression..."Ritual" is a dance of celebration and brings the first enjoyable moments, where Alan's driving drums have something to grip on to and the lyrics of la la la speak volumes. But even this cannot last long and cohesion is lost once more to the gods of drab self indulgence.
Tales from Topographic Oceans was the band's sixth studio album, released on 14 December 1973. It marked a change in their fortunes and polarised fans and critics alike. The double vinyl set was based on Anderson's interpretation of the Shastric scriptures from a footnote within Paramahansa Yogananda's book Autobiography of a Yogi. Though extended compositions were by now a Yes hallmark, each of the four compositions on the album took up an entire side on each record. It topped the UK charts for two weeks and reached number 6 in the US, buoyed by enthusiastic pre-orders. It also became the band's fourth consecutive gold album. Wakeman was not pleased with Tales from Topographic Oceans and is critical of much of the album. He felt sections were "bled to death" and contained too much musical padding. Wakeman left the band after the Tales world tour, where his solo album Journey to the Centre of the Earth topped the UK charts in May 1974.
Several musicians auditioned to take over for Wakeman, including former Atlantis and Cat Stevens keyboardist Jean Roussel, Eddie Jobson, and Greek musician Vangelis Papathanassiou, previously of Aphrodite's Child and later known as Vangelis who would work with Anderson as Jon and Vangelis in the 1980s. Wakeman's replacement was Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz, a distinctive electric-jazz musician who had previously been part of the trio Refugee, alongside two former members of The Nice. Moraz arrived during the recording sessions for Relayer, the band's seventh studio album. He fit in well with the jazz-fusion-influenced direction the band were pursuing with the record. Released in November 1974, Relayer continued certain traditions in featuring a side-long track, a cosmic battle initially inspired by Tolstoy's War and Peace titled "The Gates of Delirium". Its closing section, "Soon", was subsequently released as a single. The album reached number 4 in the UK and number 5 in the US. From 1974 to 1975, Yes embarked on a world tour to support Relayer followed by a North American tour in 1976, after each member released a solo album. Though none were well-received commercially (the combined sales of all five solo albums was still far less than the sales of any Yes album of the era), Squire's Fish Out of Water was praised among music critics. A compilation album named Yesterdays was released in 1975 that contained tracks from the band's first two albums as well as their version of "America".
Recording sessions for Going for the One, the band's eighth studio album, began in late 1976. Wakeman rejoined Yes after a period of negotiation on a "session musician" basis. He liked the group's new material which he considered to be more energetic and interesting than Tales from Topographic Oceans. Moraz was dismissed, though he appears on the list of thanks on the album's sleeve. Released in July 1977, Going for the One topped the UK charts for two weeks and reached number 8 in the US. "Wonderous Stories" was released as a single in the UK and reached number 7 in the UK single charts in September. Going for the One was also the first not to feature Dean's artwork since The Yes Album. The design firm Hipgnosis handled the cover design on this release. The album topped the UK charts during a period of 21 weeks and peaked at number 8 on the Billboard 200 for the same period. A successful supporting world tour took place between 30 July and 6 December 1977.
Released on 20 September 1978, Tormato was released at the height of the punk rock era in England, during which the music press often criticised Yes as representing the most bloated excesses of early-1970s progressive rock. The album saw the band continuing their movement towards shorter songs, played with a tighter rock feel that at points approached New Wave styling. At this point, there was evidence that Yes were beginning to change aspects of their sound. Wakeman replaced his Mellotrons with the Birotron, a tape-driven keyboard, and Squire experimented with harmonisers and Mu-tron pedals. The band have since said that they were not sure about some of the material on the album. This lack of focus extended to the production style, which was handled collectively by the band and saw disagreements at the mixing stage. The album artwork would see large changes as well, as Hipgnosis took a turn once again with their combination of manipulated photography and graphical elements in lieu of Dean's traditional approach. Despite internal and external criticisms of the album, the band embarked on a successful supporting world tour between 28 August 1978 and 30 June 1979.
In October 1979, the band convened in Paris with producer Roy Thomas Baker. Their diverse approach was now succumbing to division, as Anderson and Wakeman favoured the more fantastical and delicate approach while the rest preferred a heavier rock sound. In 1980 Howe, Squire and White liked none of the music Anderson was offering at the time as it was too lightweight and lacking in the heaviness that they were generating in their own writing sessions. The Paris sessions abruptly ended in December after White broke his foot. When the band reconvened to consider their next move, their growing musical differences, combined with internal dissension, obstructed progress. By May that year, relations had deteriorated and Anderson departed from Yes. Wakeman immediately followed suit, thinking that the band could not continue without their primary voice.
At the suggestion of Yes manager Brian Lane, Squire invited the pop duo The Buggles (keyboardist Geoffrey Downes and singer/bassist Trevor Horn) to help out on a new Yes album. As the Buggles, Downes and Horn had recently enjoyed success of their own, including a worldwide hit with their single "Video Killed the Radio Star," and the initial idea was for them to help in writing new material. The duo already had a song called "We Can Fly From Here," which had been written with Yes in mind. To their surprise, they were invited to join Yes as full-time members. They accepted the invitation and appeared on the Drama album in 1980. The record displayed a heavier, harder sound than the material Yes recorded with Anderson in 1979, opening with the lengthy hard rocker "Machine Messiah." Yes undertook a North American tour in September 1980. When the band returned to England later that year, the press heaped great criticism on the band's new line-up, labeling them the "Yuggles".
After the Drama tour, Yes reconvened in England to decide the band's next step. They dismissed their manager Lane, but this did not solve the immediate problems within Yes itself. Ultimately, Horn chose to leave and pursue a career in music production, and the band then began to disintegrate in earnest. White and Squire were next to depart, leaving Downes and Howe as the only remaining members. They opted not to continue with the group and went their separate ways in December 1980. An announcement came from the group's management in March 1981 confirming that Yes no longer existed. Two more albums were released: the live album Yesshows (covering the pre-Drama tours supporting Relayer, Going for the One, and Tormato) and the Classic Yes compilation.
Within the year, Downes and Howe had reunited as part of the new supergroup Asia, with former King Crimson and UK bassist/vocalist John Wetton and Carl Palmer from Emerson, Lake & Palmer on drums. Squire and White also continued to work together, initially recording sessions with former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page for a proposed band to be called XYZ (short for "ex-Yes-and-Zeppelin"). Page's former bandmate Robert Plant was also to be involved as the vocalist, but he ultimately lost enthusiasm for the project, citing his ongoing grieving for recently deceased Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. Minus an appropriate frontman, XYZ ground to a halt. The project did produce a few demo tracks, elements of which would appear in Page's band The Firm and later Yes music, such as "Mind Drive" from Keys to Ascension 2 and "Can You Imagine?" from Magnification. In 1981, Squire and White released "Run With the Fox", a Christmas single as a duo with Squire on lead vocals and with words by onetime King Crimson/ELP lyricist Peter Sinfield, which received heavy radio airplay through the 1980s and early 1990s during the Christmas periods.
In 1982 Squire and White reunited for a new project which was to be named Cinema, with their first choice as collaborator being South African rock guitarist and singer Trevor Rabin. Since leaving his group Rabbitt, Rabin had released three solo albums, developed a parallel career as a record producer, and had even briefly been considered a member of Asia. His understanding and experience with popular music fitted Cinema's concept, which was not initially intended as a continuation of Yes, though Squire and White brought over certain aspects of Yes' original style in terms of vocal harmonies and song-writing. Squire also recruited Tony Kaye, whose approach to keyboards suited his vision for the new band. Demos were recorded, and Cinema subsequently entered the studio to record a complete album, which was to include a riff-oriented song written by Rabin titled "Owner of a Lonely Heart".
Initially Rabin and Squire shared lead vocals, with the intention being that Rabin would take over, but the band's management had misgiving over whether Rabin was a strong enough singer. Trevor Horn became involved with the project as a potential replacement lead singer but eventually opted to produce the recording sessions. Horn, in turn, clashed with Kaye, leading to the latter's departure after six or so months of rehearsing – the situation being complicated by the fact that Rabin played most of the keyboards during the recording sessions. While Cinema remained under pressure to find an acceptable frontman, Jon Anderson had released two solo albums since leaving the band. He had achieved success with the "Jon and Vangelis" project, but he later confessed that he had been "missing the band terribly."
In early 1983, Atlantic Executive Phil Carson called Jon Anderson, informing him he would be passing along demos of work by Rabin, Squire and company. Anderson encountered Squire at a party in Los Angeles. Seeing that Anderson had been impressed with the demos and the band's new approach in songs such as "Leave It", Squire invited him to add his vocals to the new project. Anderson's involvement with Cinema was initially comparatively minor, involving re-singing vocals in the last few weeks of production. As he became integrated into the band, he also rewrote lyrics. By this point the band contained three founding members of Yes and the record company decided it made more commercial sense to drop the "Cinema" name and market the album under the Yes name. Rabin initially objected, as he now found that he had inadvertently joined a reunited Yes with a history and expectations, rather than helped to launch a new project. Ultimately the band agreed to go along with the plan and Yes were formally relaunched, with this incarnation sometimes informally referred to as "Yes-West", reflecting the band's new base in Los Angeles rather than London.
Released in 1983, 90125 – named after its catalogue serial number – became Yes' most commercially successful album by far, selling over 6 million copies and securing a new lease of life for the band. As the album's primary producer, Trevor Horn had polished the songs with modern studio effects and digital sampling tricks (via the Fairlight CMI). He also played a prominent role in vocal arrangement, even contributing his own vocals at various points on the album (e.g. on the predominantly a-cappella showcase "Leave It"). Kaye's more streamlined playing style and the replacement of Steve Howe's unusually eclectic guitar stylings with Rabin's more layered approach (favouring hard rock, pop and jazz-fusion) also smoothed down the band's sound.
"Owner of a Lonely Heart" was a number one hit on the main charts and even crossed over to become a top hit on the R&B and disco charts. The music video reveals a brief Yes personnel shuffle. During the promotional period for the song Kaye, who had had continual conflicts with Horn, left the band after 90125 had been completed but was yet to be released. His replacement was Eddie Jobson, who appeared briefly (though edited out as much as possible) in the original version of the video. Jobson was first asked to replace Kaye and then, as relations were mended, to share the keyboard duties. Jobson declined and left the band as Kaye returned. Yes also had hit singles with "Leave It" and "It Can Happen" and garnered a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for the two-minute track "Cinema". The 90125 tour lasted over a year and was the most lucrative in the band's history. In 1985 a concert video named 9012Live, directed by a fresh-out-of-film-school Steven Soderbergh, was released including the live mini-album 9012Live: The Solos.
In 1986, Yes began recording for their twelfth album Big Generator. The recording sessions underwent many starts and stops, due to the use of multiple recording locations in Italy, London and Los Angeles as well as interpersonal problems between Rabin and Horn which kept the album from timely completion. Eventually Rabin took over final production, and the album was released in 1987. Although the record did not fare as well as 90125, it still sold well over 2 million copies. The album fared less well than its predecessor as a launchpad for singles, with the radio-friendly, Rabin-written-and-sung "Love Will Find a Way" charting only moderately well, and "Rhythm of Love" barely scraping the US Top 40. The supporting tour ended on 14 May 1988 with an appearance at Madison Square Garden as part of Atlantic Records' 40th anniversary celebrations, but it left Yes members exhausted and frustrated with one another.
Following their 1988 tour Anderson left the group, asserting that he would never stay in Yes primarily for the money. He started work in Montserrat on what was to be a solo project but it soon led to Wakeman, Howe, Bruford, and bass player Tony Levin to be involved. The group was contractually unable to take over or otherwise use the Yes name as the rights were held by Squire, White, Kaye, Rabin, and Anderson which dated back to the 90125 contract. They instead called themselves Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, which suited Bruford who wanted to distance himself from the "Yes" name. Their eponymous album album released in 1989 under Arista Records went gold in the United States, and featured the single and MTV hit "Brother of Mine". The record was produced with not all members present at the same time, as Anderson and producer Chris Kimsey slotted different parts into place. Howe has stated publicly that he was unhappy with the mix of his guitars on the album. A version of "Fist of Fire" with more of Howe's guitars left intact later appeared on the In a Word: Yes (1969-) box set in 2002.
From 1989 to 1990 ABWH embarked on a tour of North America, Europe, and Japan billed as "An Evening of Yes Music Plus". The band was dogged by legal battles sparked by Atlantic Records due to the band's references to Yes in promotional materials and the tour title. The tour featured Levin, second keyboardist Julian Colbeck, and guitarist Milton McDonald as support musicians and saw performances of songs from Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and vintage Yes songs. A recording of their concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre on 9 September 1989 was released as An Evening of Yes Music Plus in 1993. The show featured Jeff Berlin on bass as Levin suffered from illness.
As ABWH toured Squire, Rabin, White, and Kaye began to work on a follow-up to Big Generator, and had been shopping around for a new singer. Singer Roger Hodgson of Supertramp fame had rejected the post though he enjoyed working and writing with the group, but thought it unwise to attempt to pass off the resulting music as "Yes". The band had also been working with Kansas singer Steve Walsh and with Billy Sherwood of World Trade, but as the former only spent one day working with Yes, the latter worked well enough with the band to continue with writing sessions. During this time, Arista refused to release material it considered weak from ABWH's second album, which was to be named Dialogue. It encouraged the group to seek outside songwriters, preferably ones who could help them deliver hit singles. Anderson approached Rabin about the situation, and Rabin sent Anderson a demo tape with four songs, indicating that ABWH could have one but had to send the others back. Anderson selected one, "Lift Me Up", for use, and contacted Arista, who listened to all four songs and wanted all of them, a request to which Rabin would not agree.
Arista sensed the commercial possibility of a Yes reunion and suggested that the "YesWest" group, with Jon Anderson on vocals, record the four songs to add to the new album, which would then be released under the Yes name. This arrangement would lead to the end of Yes' run on Atlantic Records after more than 20 years, dating to their initial recording contract. Throughout early 1991, phone calls were made, lawyers soothed, and agreements struck, with Yes West joining ABWH for the Union album. Each group did their own songs, with Anderson singing on all tracks. Squire sang background vocals on a few of the ABWH tracks, with Tony Levin doing all the bass on those songs. The album was clearly a somewhat forced combination of the music from the two line-ups, since none of the songs on Union featured all eight members at once; two-thirds were actually ABWH compositions, while Rabin and Squire contributed four songs, including the Billy Sherwood collaboration "The More We Live.
The album itself fared well, with approximately 1.5 million sold worldwide. However, nearly the entire band have subsequently – and openly – stated their disliking for the finished product, predominantly because of producer Jonathan Elias and Jon Anderson's involvement of session musicians on the ABWH tracks after the initial sessions. Bruford has disowned the album entirely, and Wakeman was reportedly unable to recognise any of his keyboard work in the final edit and allegedly threw his copy of the album out of his limousine. He has gone on record as referring to the entire venture as "Onion", sarcastically claiming it made him cry when he thought about it.
Elias later stated publicly in an interview that Anderson, as the associate producer, knew of the session musicians' involvement. He added that he and Anderson had even initiated their contributions, because of the hostility between some of the band members at the time (notably between Anderson and Howe and Wakeman), with the result that none of the work was getting done.
The Union world tour united all eight members on one stage in a short-lived "Mega-Yes" line-up of Anderson, Squire, Howe, Rabin, Kaye, Wakeman, Bruford, and White. The tour itself featured tracks spanning the band's entire career, and it was one of the highest-grossing concert tours of 1991 and 1992. Only a few songs from Union were performed live. "Shock to the System" and "Lift Me Up" were played at every show of the tour. "Take the Water to the Mountain" was played only at the first date in Pensacola, Florida. "Saving My Heart" was played at a handful of shows during the second North American leg. Howe would play "Masquerade" on later tours.
While the Union tour was commercially successful, it did not heal the band's fractured personnel situation. Jon Anderson began to write with both Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin separately, as the two guitarists had still not managed to achieve a good working relationship with each other. Bill Bruford chose not to remain involved with Yes and returned to his jazz project Earthworks. He did, however, contribute to the 1992 Alan Parsons-produced Symphonic Music of Yes on the RCA Victor label: for this album, former Jethro Tull orchestrator David Palmer reinterpreted various Yes songs as orchestral pieces. Howe too made contributions to the album, which also featured Anderson's vocals on two of the songs.
As with Union, the next Yes project was masterminded by a record company rather than the band itself. Victory Music approached Rabin with a proposal to produce an album solely with the 90125 "YesWest" line-up. Rabin initially countered by requesting that Wakeman also be included. (Howe was not invited to participate.) Rabin began assembling the album at his home, using the then-pioneering concept of a digital home studio, and used material written predominantly by himself and Anderson.
By 1993, the new album was well into production, but Wakeman's involvement had finally been cancelled, as his refusal to leave his long-serving management created insuperable legal problems. (Rabin and Wakeman have both expressed regret that they never played together on a Yes album – although Rabin did guest on Wakeman's Return to the Centre of the Earth album in 1999.) With Howe and Bruford already out of the picture, Yes were back to their popular 1980s line-up of Anderson, Squire, Rabin, Kaye, and White, as Victory had desired.
In 1994, Yes released the new album under the title "Talk". Entirely digitally recorded by Rabin on an Apple computer, it blended elements of "YesWest" radio-friendly rock with a more structurally ambitious approach taken from Yes' 1970s blueprint, even including the lengthy epic "Endless Dream" across most of the second half, as well as ingredients of contemporary electronic dance music, metal, and jazz. It also featured the more AOR-inclined song "Walls," which Rabin had written with Roger Hodgson for one of the latter's solo albums. Rabin's dominance over the album had extended beyond being producer, engineer, songwriter, and guitarist to include playing all of the album's keyboards (save for occasional Hammond organ work from Tony Kaye) and some of the bass guitar, and the response from fans was mixed.
Despite Victory Music's hopes, Talk proved ultimately to be one of Yes' poorest-selling releases, possibly affected by the sudden rise in the popularity of grunge music at the time. Although the first single from the album, "The Calling," was perhaps Yes' strongest single since "Owner of a Lonely Heart," neither the record label nor U.S. radio stations provided much promotion for it. However, David Letterman had heard one broadcast of the single while driving: impressed, and unaware of the source of the single, he had immediately taken steps to find out more about the "new band" that had performed it in order to have them appear on his show. Yes performed on the Late Show with David Letterman on 20 June 1994, just days into their 1994 Talk tour, performing the song "Walls."
For the tour, guitarist/vocalist Billy Sherwood was added, playing additional guitar and keyboards. The Talk tour featured an innovative sound system, through which fans at the concerts could listen on their portable FM radios turned to a specific frequency to hear greater dynamic range and stereo effects.
Following the tour, Rabin opted to leave the band to pursue other projects and soon became a highly successful and prolific film-score composer. Kaye also left the band to retire, although he subsequently returned to performing, providing Hammond organ on several tracks on the Sherwood-produced Return to the Dark Side of the Moon in 2006 and then working on further Sherwood-led projects.
With Rabin and Kaye now out of the picture, Anderson, Squire, and White opted to return to the classic 1970s style of Yes music in 1995. Repairing their working relationship with Howe and Wakeman, the remaining members of the core 1970s line-up, the band reunited for a three-night live performance near Anderson's home in the California town of San Luis Obispo in early March 1996. The shows sold out and were recorded, with the band's enthusiasm continuing into further studio sessions. The band formed a brief contract with CMC International Records, which released some of the live tracks from the show later in 1996 as Keys to Ascension, which also included two new studio tracks. A live DVD under the same name was also released.
With the revived line-up now established and enthusiastic, the band recorded new tracks, drawing in part on material written around the time of the band's initial split in 1980 and including material that Squire and White had demoed for the XYZ project. Although at one point the new material was to be released as a standalone studio album, with the working title of Know, commercial considerations meant that the new tracks were eventually packaged with the remainder of the 1996 live material on another hybrid live-and-studio album, Keys to Ascension 2. The studio material from these two albums was later combined and released on a single CD called Keystudio.
The initial "classic Yes" reunion was short-lived, because of disagreements with Wakeman. He was disgruntled at the way in which a full new Yes studio album had been sacrificed in favour of the two Keys to Ascension releases, as well as how a Yes tour was being arranged without his input or agreement. Wakeman left Yes in 1997 for the fourth time, shortly before the release of Keys to Ascension 2, leaving the band without a key performer and undercutting the commercial potential of the "classic" reunion. A projected 1997 summer tour was then rescheduled for the fall.
Now in need of material for a new Yes studio album that could reflect the change in circumstances, Squire turned to a project called Conspiracy, which he'd been working on with Sherwood (and which had included contributions from White). Squire and Sherwood reworked existing Conspiracy demos and recordings to turn them into Yes songs and added new material. Anderson and Howe were less involved with the writing and production at this stage and expressed dissatisfaction about the situation later. Sherwood's integral involvement with the writing, production and performance of the music led to his formally joining Yes as a full member at the end of the sessions, taking on the role of harmony singer, keyboardist and second guitarist. On tour, he would concentrate on backing vocals and guitar, playing backup parts to Steve Howe and performing the solos on Rabin-era songs. (Howe refused to do this himself, claiming that his style would not fit those solos.)
The new album, Open Your Eyes, was released in the fall of 1997. This album, and future releases, would come out on the Beyond Music label, which ensured that Yes would have more of a say in packaging and titling the albums. The title track and one other, "New State of Mind," received a fair amount of radio airplay. The well-attended tour that followed featured only a few pieces from the new album ("Open Your Eyes," "From The Balcony," and "No Way We Can Lose") and mostly concentrated on the revival of early Yes material, such as "Siberian Khatru." Yes also performed "Children of Light" from the album Keys to Ascension 2. Many fans considered the return of Howe to the touring Yes, along with a heavier emphasis on 1970s-era Yes music, an exciting development. The tour also featured keyboards from Russian keyboard player Igor Khoroshev, who had played on a few of the Open Your Eyes tracks.
Khoroshev continued to work with the band, becoming a full member by the time the band recorded their next album, The Ladder. This would be the last project that record producer Bruce Fairbairn would work on before his untimely death. Many fans were reminded of the band's 1970s sound – largely because of Khoroshev's classically oriented keyboard approach – although White also brought in a strong world-music influence (with the band experimenting with Latinesque arrangements, and with multi-instrumentalist Randy Raine-Reusch contributing to the album's textures). Sherwood's role continued to be limited to backup vocals and backup guitar. One of the album tracks – "Homeworld (The Ladder)" – was written for Relic Entertainment's Homeworld real-time strategy computer game and was used as the credits and outro theme. The band stated that they wrote the song not because the game's developers asked them but because they liked several aspects of the game itself.
The 1999 Yes tour resulted in a live DVD of the performance at the Las Vegas House of Blues. This would be the band's last work with Sherwood, who had been finding Yes' internal politics uncomfortable. He left the band before the 2000 Masterworks tour, which featured a revival of the Moraz-period extended piece "The Gates of Delirium" (from the album Relayer). Khoroshev was let go from the band at the tour's conclusion.
Yes' following studio album, 2001's Magnification, was recorded without a keyboard player in the band. Instead, Yes were backed by a 60-piece orchestra performing specific parts and arrangements written by notable film composer Larry Groupé. The band took an orchestra on tour with them to promote the album, although they also hired keyboardist Tom Brislin to reproduce some of the classic Yes keyboard material more faithfully. Magnification received a warm reception from critics and fans, although not on the level of older albums such as Fragile or Close to the Edge; the album reached No.71 in the UK and No.186 in the US – relatively low by the high standards set by the previous records.
Fans who felt they were short-changed in 1996 were delighted when Wakeman announced his return to the group on 20 April 2002, and a world tour for Yes followed, including a return to Australia after 30 years with the same lineup that had first toured there in 1973. The line-up enjoyed a somewhat revitalised presence in the public consciousness, especially during the celebration of their 35th anniversary in 2004. This revitalisation showed itself during a show in New York's Madison Square Garden. Near the end of the song "And You and I," where Howe finishes his steel-guitar part and before the last few acoustic notes, the band was overwhelmed with thunderous applause. It lasted so long that by the time it subsided, the roadies had already removed Howe's guitar. Wakeman then had to play the last bit, with Anderson singing.
Reacting to an online survey of popular Yes songs to play, the band added "South Side of the Sky" to the touring set list, a surprise given that it had rarely been played before, even on the tour for Fragile, the album from which it came. In later legs of the tour, the band performed some songs in acoustic style, after doing a live-via-satellite concert as part of the Yesspeak documentary premiere. The last concert of this Tour was performed in Monterrey, Mexico.
Following the 35th Anniversary tour in 2004, Yes were inactive for four years. Squire told Classic Rock Magazine in 2011 that the band had hoped to tour in 2005, 2006 or 2007 but were unable to after Anderson begged off due to health issues. In lieu of releasing new albums, they formed deals with Image Entertainment and other video firms to release past concert performances, music videos, and interviews on DVD. Howe, Squire, Wakeman, and White had all expressed an interest in recording, but Anderson had been firmly opposed, wondering aloud if Yes had a future in original recorded music and because of his aforementioned health concerns. Anderson's unwillingness to record seemed due to the disappointing sales of Magnification. During the hiatus, band members pursued a variety of solo projects.
In January 2004 Anderson embarked on a solo tour called the "Tour Of The Universe," while Squire joined a reformed version of The Syn, one of his pre-Yes groups from the 1960s. The reunited group also included original singer Steve Nardelli and original Syn/Yes guitarist Peter Banks, augmented by new musicians. Squire's involvement would last until 16 May 2006, when he announced that he had left the group. (Banks had previously departed the reformed group in the early stages of the reunion). The Syn would continue for a few more years around the nucleus of Nardelli, with a variety of musicians including Tom Brislin, Francis Dunnery and members of Echolyn.
On 11 November 2004, for one night only, Rabin, Howe, Squire, White, and Downes performed "Cinema" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart" at the Prince's Trust concert at Wembley Arena. The show was a tribute to former Yes vocalist/producer Trevor Horn. It remains somewhat unclear why Anderson did not perform that night, although since Horn was being honoured (the other acts that played that night were all produced by Horn), there may have been a desire to emphasise Horn's role rather than Anderson's. One report said that Anderson needed time to rest, under doctors' orders, and that Wakeman declined to join in because of Anderson's absence. Whatever the exact reason, fans of the 90125 era were delighted to see Rabin perform with the group for the first time in 10 years, and, as on the Union tour, the audience was treated to guitar solos by both Rabin and Howe.
Meanwhile, White had formed a new Seattle-based group, called simply White, featuring Downes. Their debut album, also called White, was released on 18 April 2006. Plans for a joint tour by White, The Syn, and Steve Howe (which would have included the Yes members, augmented by White singer Kevin Currie, performing songs from Drama) were cancelled. Instead, White toured separately in 2006.
On 16 May 2006, the original members of Asia – including Howe and Downes – announced that they would be reuniting for a 25th anniversary tour in September of that year. Anderson and Wakeman toured together in October 2006, and the setlist for most shows featured Yes material along with songs from both of their solo careers, and at least one ABWH song.
In March 2007, Sherwood, Kaye, White, and guitarist Jimmy Haun (a former bandmate of Sherwood's who'd played many of the guitar parts on Union) formally announced the formation of the Yes-related group called Circa, which had been rehearsing since the previous year. On 30 July 2007, the band self-released on the Internet their debut album, Circa 2007. Their debut live performance was held on 23 August 2007, at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, at which time the band performed their entire debut album, followed by an hour-long medley of Yes songs.
In November 2007, Anderson embarked on a one-month European solo tour. In the first half of 2008, he toured North America solo, extensively visiting Canada. Meanwhile, Howe continued to tour with Asia and White toured with Circa. Anderson also commented that he had also composed some new music with former Yes bandmate Trevor Rabin, although to date this music has not surfaced.
Yes themselves were due to return for a 2008 world tour in honour of the band's 40th anniversary, titled Close to the Edge and Back. This tour would have featured Oliver Wakeman sitting in on keyboards, in lieu of his father Rick, who had had to bow out on the advice of his doctors. At the time, Anderson claimed that the band had been preparing four new "lengthy, multi-movement compositions" for the tour which were "very, very different." (After the weak sales of Magnification, Anderson also suggested that "putting together an album really isn't logical any more," and no announcement was made as to a release of recordings of the new material in any form.)
Anderson had been experiencing respiratory problems on his solo tours, as he puts it "I was coughing so much that the only time I wasn't coughing was onstage. " The proposed Yes tour was cancelled when Anderson was admitted to the hospital in May 2008 following a severe asthma attack. He was diagnosed with acute respiratory failure, and doctors advised him not to work for at least six months in order to avoid suffering further health complications. On 4 June 2008, the band officially put their tour plans on hold. Anderson has said "I just needed a break, but the guys were upset about that."
On 4 November 2008 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the band began a separate North American tour titled "In The Present" as "Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White of Yes", featuring Howe, Squire, and White, along with Oliver Wakeman on keyboards and a newcomer replacing Jon Anderson as lead vocalist, Canadian singer Benoît David, previously known as the lead singer of the progressive rock band Mystery and of a Yes tribute band called Close to the Edge.
'Aliens (Are Only Us From The Future)', a brand new song presumably written by Chris Squire was added to the set-list and played at most of the shows on tour.
David's position as lead singer on the tour led many to question Anderson's ongoing role in the band, and even whether Anderson remained a member of Yes. The issue was complicated by the fact that the shows were formally billed as "Howe, Squire, and White of Yes," (although many reports and outlets simply referred to the band as "Yes") and because the band did not provide a clear statement as to whether or not Anderson's absence was permanent.
Anderson's own public reaction was one of disappointment, with the singer stating on his website that he felt "disappointed" and "disrespected" by the move and by the lack of contact the other members had had with him since his illness. Later, this announcement was removed from his website, and Squire has since said that the tour had Anderson's "blessings." Subsequently, Anderson conducted solo tours in Europe and North America, and a tour with Rick Wakeman was held in 2010.
In February 2009, the "In the Present" tour was cut short (and the remaining shows, mostly in the Western USA, cancelled) due to Squire requiring emergency leg surgery (plus a month of recuperation). Howe took advantage of the cancellations to fit in some more work with Asia. Following Squire's recovery (and similarly taking advantage of the gap in Yes' tour schedule) Squire and White reunited with Rabin at a benefit reception on 18 April 2009 in Snoqualmie, Washington, playing the music of John Lennon.
The Yes tour resumed in the summer of 2009 and continued into 2010, with the same "In the Present" band. Now simply billed as "Yes," they played shows in Europe and North America. This tour featured Asia as an opening act, with Howe playing with both bands. Yes began further touring in June/July 2010 on a bill with Peter Frampton. On 9 July 2010, Rabin performed live with Yes onstage, for a one-time show at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, for the first time in nearly six years.
On 15 October 2009, Squire confirmed in a radio interview that Oliver Wakeman and Benoît David were official members of the band, stating "this is now Yes." It was also revealed that the new line-up had been working on new material and would enter the studio in Autumn 2010. Allaying further speculation regarding the state of Yes personnel, Howe has gone on to state categorically that Jon Anderson will not be working with the band on the new studio album, asserting that "this is the line-up that actually ... does the work. We're the perpetuation, the continuation, and the saga of Yes."
After a South American autumn leg of its 2010 tour, Yes embarked in March 2011 on its North American "Rite of Spring" tour which concluded with two shows in Mexico in May 2011.
On 29 October 2010, Yes announced the signing of a worldwide recording deal with the Italian-based record label Frontiers Records. The band commenced recording a new album in Los Angeles (with producer Trevor Horn) in October 2010. Recording continued in November 2010 and again in January 2011. In March 2011, Squire announced that the band has "just finished recording the album" but that it "won’t be finished until the end of April". It would be the first new Yes studio album in a decade.
On 30 March 2011, the band's official website announced Geoff Downes was returning to the band, replacing Oliver Wakeman on keyboards. According to Wakeman's website, it was not his decision to leave. With Horn producing, co-writing and doing some backing vocals, this was almost a return to the Drama line-up.
The new album, called Fly from Here, was released on 22 June 2011 in Japan and France, on 1 July in the rest of Europe and Australia and on 12 July in the United States. A joint tour with Styx commenced on 4 July in support of the album. A European winter tour began in November and is scheduled to run into December 2011. On 9 April 2012, Yes will return to Australia as one of the headline acts of the 23rd Annual Byron Bay Bluesfest.
Squire has stated that he is open to Anderson returning to the band, but that it would not happen before at least another year promoting the new album. Anderson has been openly critical of Fly From Here, calling the sound "a bit dated" and "the production wasn't as good as I expected." calling Trevor Horn "a great producer" but asking "what the hell are you doing?" to the band. The six-part title track "Fly From Here" is based on a song by Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes that did not make either the Drama album or the ensuing second Buggles album for which a version was recorded. A shortened live version "We Can Fly From Here" can be found on "Yes: the Word is Live" disc 3 while the original Buggles version was finally released on a much-expanded 2010 reissue of their second album Adventures in Modern Recording.
On 24 October 2011, Frontiers Records announced the release on 29 November in North America and 2 December in Europe of a new live CD/DVD package entitled In the Present: Live From Lyon to be the recording of the show Yes gave in Lyon, France on 1 December 2009, exactly two years earlier. This release will include two CDs and a 55-minute DVD. A limited edition gatefold sleeve 3 LP vinyl release (only including the audio portion of the album) will be exclusively available in the European markets.
1.) “Siberian Khatru”
2.) “I’ve Seen All Good People”
3.) “Tempus Fugit”
5.) “Astral Traveler”
6.) “Yours Is No Disgrace”
7.) “And You And I”
8.) “Corkscrew” (acoustic lead guitar solo)
1.) “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”
2.) “South Side Of The Sky”
3.) “Machine Messiah”
4.) “Heart Of The Sunrise”
6.) “Starship Trooper”
1.) “Roundabout” (full verson)
2.) “Siberian Khatru” (excerpt)
3.) “Yours Is No Disgrace” (excerpt)
4.) “Heart Of The Sunrise” (excerpt)
5.) “Wurm” (excerpt)
6.) “I’ve Seen All Good People” (excerpt)
7.) “And You And I” (excerpt)
8.) “Siberian Khatru” (excerpt)
9.) “Southside Of The Sky” (excerpt)
10.) “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” (excerpt)
11.) “Machine Messiah” (full version)
Both the CD and DVD was film in Lyon, is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille on December 1rst 2009. Recorded in stereo instead of 5.1 surround sound ( which kind of sucks due to the harmonies the band has). It does not matter how many times I have listened to the song “Roundabout” Steve Howe’s intro still blows me away. I am even more amazed today knowing he is 64 years old and plays it as smooth as he does! Though original vocalist Jon Anderson, drummer Bill Bruford, or keyboardist Rick Wakeman are currently not members of the band I was happy to see Yes did replace Rick with his son Oliver who does one HELL of a Job. Vocalist Benoît David sounds about as close to Ian Anderson as anyone possibly could. One of this reasons this is is because Benoît previously sang with a Yes tribute band called Close To The Edge. Chris states in the interview portion that when he saw a youtube video of Close To The Edge he swore it was a out of focus videotaped concert of Yes. In between the songs, there are interviews with the band members. For the rest of the DVD outside of the last track titled, “Machine Messiah” are just excerpts for me this is inexcusable! Just to show you how underrated Chris Squire is listen to the intro to “Yours Is no Disgrace”! If you close your eyes during the song, “And You And I” there is no doubt you can hear Jon in Benoît’s vocal sound. Track eight “Siberian Khatru” consisted of a Alan White drum solo. The harmony on “Machine Messiah” is amazing.
There is not one flaw with the double live CD. On the DVD every song but two are just excerpts. As a longtime fan of the band, I would have liked to have heard the songs in their entirety instead of excerpts. Like most live CD’s the target market is fans of the band. Even with the DVD just playing excerpts ‘In The Present....’ is still worth buying.