"Yes, Southam Hall, National Arts Centre, March 30 at 7:30 p.m."
article by: Peter Hume uploaded to FY by: AD
There is no shortage of naysayers who would deride the band Yes as pretentious, self-indulgent, self-important prog-rockers overly caught up in musical complexities and evocative, if impenetrable lyrics.
But to those negativists, the highly partisan listeners that filled Southam Hall Sunday night to watch their beloved band might well have replied: “Shining, flying, purple wolfhound, show me where you are!”
It was a night when lyrics like that — from Yours Is No Disgrace — were grounds for rejoicing, when fleet-fingered guitar wizardry, an expected keyboard glissando or even the emergence of a triple-necked bass on stage was to be greeted with applause. Fans of Yes were there to revel in the ornate, highly arranged compositions from the band’s glory days of more than three decades ago.
Yes, nostalgia drove much of the proceedings.
This was the eighth visit to Ottawa by one incarnation or another of Yes in the band’s 46-year history, and the group’s first concert here since a 2002 show at the then-Corel Centre. In the NAC crowd were many who would or could have caught the band in the 1970s, far outnumbering those who had not yet been born then.
The group’s two key players, guitarist Steve Howe and bassist Chris Squire, both 66, emerged as fan favourites as they and the others in the quintet (keyboardist Geoff Downes, drummer Alan White, vocalist Jon Davison) executed material from what some would call three of the group’s best albums: 1972’s Close To The Edge, 1977’s Going For The One and 1971’s The Yes Album.
The group’s relative ringer was singer Davison, an American who at 41 is a generation younger than the Brits on stage. He was a spirited replacement for original Yes frontman Jon Anderson, in fine vocal form and often an animated visual focal point for the show, gesturing in sync with the music’s rhythmic accents.
And yet the singer never did overshadow the group’s senior members, who, after all, have been playing some of this music since practically before Davison was born. But arguably, the show might have been better still if Davison had stepped up to completely command the stage the way Anderson could and take the whole band to the next level.
Epic pieces such as the 20-minute opener Close To The Edge, its airy followup And You and I and the rousing, rhythmic Siberian Khatru were their own rebuttals to the complaint that the music had not withstood the test of time.
Yes, they were extravagant at times, textured, layered and richly detailed. And the music lumbered a bit too. But they shouldn’t strike people as self-indulgent, certainly not in the days of Miley Cyrus and her foam finger.
And given that Yes was always a thinking person’s band, not given to singing simply about youthful rebellion or young love, their material didn’t have the built-in expiry date of Roger Daltrey singing “Hope I die before I get old,” or, for that matter, Katy Perry singing “Teenage Dream.”
There were few surprises in the evening — an extended and mighty guitar solo at the end of one tune, a harmonica break for Squire in another. More often, the point was to do a energetic job of delivering familiar pleasures.
At the end of its 21/2-hour show, the band’s encore was its 1971 hit Roundabout. Some of the children or grandchildren of the NAC’s listeners likely only know that rousing tune as one of many on Rock Band 3.
However, the band proved that it’s still best appreciated live.
Saturday, March 29, 2014 6:33 AM
"Yes, prog rock coming to the NAC"
article by: Aedan Helmer, March 27, 2014
uploaded to Forgotten Yesterdays by: AD
They’re a band known for forging fearlessly into the future, but progressive rock legends Yes will be delving deep into their past as their Canadian tour rolls into the National Arts Centre Sunday.
The veteran band — featuring Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes and singer Jon Davison — will dust off three of their classic albums of the Seventies, The Yes Album (1971), Close to the Edge (1972) and Going For the One (1977), to be performed in their entirety on the 10-city Canadian tour.
“It’s a different idea, because usually when we go out on the road it’s to promote a new product, and we just realized at the beginning of 2012 that we weren’t going to have a new album for a year or two, so we went ahead with this idea of doing a tribute to Yes’ work of the Seventies,” said founding bassist Chris Squire. “We looked at all the albums we had available, and we decided on these three... We thought that they complemented each other well, and we could put together a set.”
The show will begin with Close to the Edge and moves through “some rather complex pieces of music” drawn from the dense Going For the One before circling back to The Yes Album, which Squire describes as “a little more rocky and ends the set really well.”
The idea has taken the band down some of the less-travelled roads in its vast repertoire.
“Interesting enough, the song A Venture (from The Yes Album), we had never played live, ever,” said Squire. “It was a studio-contrived piece of music and for some reason or another it never got into our live show until now. So we had to learn that and get it up to the same level of playing as some of the other songs, which of course we’ve played a number of times in different sets over the years.
“But Canada’s is going to get a good, well-rehearsed show now with the music sounding good.”
Long-serving fans of the bad would expect no less.
Yes made its name delivering virtuoso performances with a level of precision and sophistication rare to the rock genre.
And when the death knell sounded for progressive rock in the late-70s — with many contemporaries disbanding or radically changing their sound to suit new pop-friendly audiences — Yes remained steadfast.
“Without sounding pretentious, there’s a certain amount of timelessness in the music that makes the band endure 40 years later, which I’d have never thought that was possible,” said Squire.
“(Audiences) are bombarded with music to an extent, and maybe people don’t have the time to get deeply into music any more. But we’re still making music for people whose tastes are a little less fleeting.”
And Squire is finding those people come in all shapes, sizes and age groups.
“We’ve been doing this tour through the States and through South America, and the great thing about it is the fans seem to really like it,” he said. “These days we have quite a lot of younger teenagers and 20-somethings showing up at our shows who somehow got an interest in Yes — maybe listening to their parents’ record collection or something — so we get a pretty (wide array) of age groups coming out to our shows.”
Squire said fans have given lead singer Jon Davison a ringing endorsement.
“The fans really accepted Jon Davison as our singer and he has a great attitude in the way he is with the fans... He’s added quite a lot to our live shows. He’s a great singer and the fans love him a lot and have given him their endorsement. So the band is playing real well and we’re looking forward to the tour.”
And, Squire hinted, Yes will likely have some new material to debut the next time they hit the road.
The band started work on their next studio album in January.
“It’s going to be Yes, but it will definitely have a slightly different f