Written by Eddie Ferranti
Feb 24, 2010 at 08:00 PM
ImageProgressive rock, aka “prog-rock”, was always a term I could identify with, being a music child of the great ’70’s. It embodied a feel that was always enhanced at live concerts back then. Tunes would be long and musicianship heavy.

Well, one of the bands that has long carried the prog-rock banner, YES, strolled into the HOB and tore it up. I was BACK in the 70’s again and it felt damn good, thank you. These war horses were first formed back in 1968 by vocalist Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire. I choose not to dwell on their huge resume, which is stout indeed, but to focus on the current touring band. This evening Jon was absent due to illness and his replacement was Benoit David. He was a lead singer in “Mystery” and fronted a tribute YES band called “Close to the Edge”. Go figure.

After the first two songs this night, “Siberian Khatru” and “Your Move”, it was down right eerie how much this dude sounded like JA. Throw in the son of legendary member Rick Wakeman, Oliver, and the time warp feel was nuts, folks. He was spinning around all night playing various keyboards.
Rounding out tonight’s line-up were Squire,  Alan White, and oh yeah Steve Howe. I had never had the pleasure to see any version of YES until tonight, but I did see Asia a few times. Mr. Howe was the reason I was here on a cold school night in February. The dude was nothing short of outstanding on “Yours is No Disgrace”. He had up to 3 guitars at a time set up to use WITHIN a single song! His use of slide guitar produced that amazing “YES” sound.  Howe did a sit down acoustic solo out of nowhere that was so cool and trippy ya had to be there.

ImageAnd be there they were. HOB was beyond packed for this gig to the point of nuts really but that’s another matter. “Tempest Fuget” off the Drama album was a treat. The pro-male fist pumpers were well in effect for dynamite versions of “Owner of a Broken Heart”, “Time is Time”, and bombastic butterfly causing “Roundabout”! The lighting was circa 70’s thru out and added to the dazzling musicians on stage.

Squire can be quite animated for an older bloak and ditto to Howe on that count, too. I’m no spring chicken these days but I was so captivated by the gig that standing for 2+ hours did not faze me. YES played straight thru for 2 hours and thirty minutes. Killer for shows these days. YES has always had a “Queen meets CSNY” type thing goin’ on with me and it fit well this night. They can be theatrical, harmonic, and downright rockin’ whenever they want and in the body of one song, too.

The band officially added David and Wakeman October 15, 2009. Squire confirmed it stating “this is now Yes”, although he did not confirm Anderson’s formal departure. Anderson feels “disappointed” and disrespected” by the move obviously.  Squire has said that Anderson has given the tour his “blessing’ and moved on.  Whatever the situation is folks, this is far from a cover band. They may have hired a dude who was in one, but the main pieces remain solid. To step back and let myself “swirl in the ’70’s” was beyond worth it albeit for just a few hours…Gotta go.  God Bless and be good to each other!