Rolling Stone recently raved that Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White of YES “sounded as majestic as ever” during their performance just last month at New York City’s Hammersmith Ballroom, adding that the band’s stand-in vocalist Benoit David was able to “expertly mimic the impossibly high-pitched vocals of original singer Jon Anderson.” Now, that’s some high praise. This may not be exactly the traditional YES line-up, “but it’s close enough,” raved Rolling Stone.
YES concerts have always been very special events, and this winter’s “In the Present” tour, which began in November and December, and will resume February 5 and 6 for two shows in Mexico City before hitting a total of 16 U.S. cities in November and December, lives up to those expectations. Band members Howe, Squire and White, along with David and keyboardist Oliver Wakeman, son of YES’ Rick Wakeman, will play selections from hit albums like Fragile, Close to the Edge, Tales from Topographic Oceans and 90125 along with audience favorites like “Roundabout,” “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and “I’ve Seen All Good People,” some of the enduring classics that have made YES one of the most influential and groundbreaking groups in rock & roll.
This time around, Howe, Squire and White are also pulling out some rarely performed chestnuts, like 1980’s “Machine Messiah” and “Siberian Khatru,” expertly sung by David, a Montreal, Quebec, native and vocalist in several YES tribute groups, discovered by the band on the Internet and invited on the tour. His ability to channel Anderson’s distinctive singing voice has added an extra treat to the concerts for true fans.
The tour resumes at the Metropolitan Theater in Mexico City on Feb. 5-6, and runs through March 3 at the Table Mountain Casino in Friant, CA.
The group’s itinerary includes performances at Houston’s House of Blues (2/9), Dallas’ House of Blues (2/10), Denver’s Paramount Theatre (2/12), Portland’s Aladdin Theater (2/14), Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom (2/15), Spokane’s Knitting Factory (2/17), Seattle’s Moore Theater (2/18), Boise’s Knitting Factory (2/19), Las Vegas’ House of Blues (2/21), Anaheim’s House of Blues (2/22), San Diego’s House of Blues (2/24), Phoenix’s Dodge Theatre (2/25), Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre (2/27), a TBA venue in Reno/Sacramento (2/28), San Francisco’s Fillmore (3/2) and Friant, CA’s Table Mountain Casino (3/3).
Over the course of a remarkable 40-year career that has time and again redefined the boundaries of rock, YES have become renowned for their live performances since being formed in 1968 by Chris Squire and Jon Anderson from a mutual interest in vocal harmonies and classical song structure. With drummer Bill Bruford, guitarist Peter Banks and keyboardist Tony Kaye, they metamorphosed into YES, earning a residency at the famed London venue The Marquee Club, where they played with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd, releasing their self-titled debut album in July 1969.
Guitarist Steve Howe, who went on to play in the popular prog-rock groups Asia and GTR and continues releasing acclaimed solo albums and touring, brought an experimental cutting edge to YES for their 1970’s The Yes Album, their first album to top the UK charts. Drummer Alan White, who had been hand-picked to play on John Lennon’s Imagine and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, came aboard in 1972. YES then went on to conquer America and played at some of the largest paid attendance concerts of all time, including JFK Stadium in Philadelphia in 1976 to a crowd of over 130,000 people.
YES postponed plans for a 40th anniversary Close to the Edge and Back tour in June, when vocalist Jon Anderson suffered a severe asthma attack and was diagnosed with acute respiratory failure. Commented Squire: "This isn't an attempt to replace Jon Anderson because, as we all know, that would be impossible. Benoit has proven to be a talented singer, which has enabled us to present the music of YES for fans who have waited almost four years to see us perform."
As a dominant force for more than four decades, YES has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, stretching the boundaries of progressive art-rock with their dynamic instrumental contrasts and abstract lyrics. Their symphonic use of sound and innovative musical styles continues to make them one of the most successful and long-standing group in rock history and their amazing career continues to defy many of their contemporaries, as they continue to add new, young fans to their following.
Added Squire: “This is turning out to be one of the best performing line-ups in YES’ storied history. It feels like we’re rediscovering these songs all over again, playing them ‘In the Present,’ as if for the very first time.”
YES “IN THE PRESENT” TOUR DATES, FEBRUARY-MARCH
Feb. 5: Metropolitan Theater, Mexico City
Feb. 6: Metropolitan Theater, Mexico City
Feb. 9: House of Blues, Houston, TX
Feb. 10: House of Blues, Dallas, TX
Feb. 12: Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
Feb. 14: Aladdin Theater, Portland, OR
Feb. 15: Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC
Feb. 17: Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
Feb. 18: Moore Theater, Seattle, WA
Feb. 19: Knitting Factory, Boise, ID
Feb. 21: House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV
Feb. 22: House of Blues, Anaheim, CA
Feb. 24: House of Blues, San Diego, CA
Feb. 25: Dodge Theater, Phoenix, AZ
Feb. 27: Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA
Feb. 28: TBA, Reno, NV/Sacramento, CA
March 2: The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
March 3: Table Mountain Casino, Friant, CA