Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yes we have no Yes tour (except maybe sorta...)

That heavy sigh heard across the land in early June -- mistaken by many for a sigh of resignation from Hillary Clinton supporters -- in fact came from crestfallen prog-rock fans learning that Yes had canceled their planned summer tour. Perfectly understandable, what with lead singer Jon Anderson having had a major asthma episode that put him in the hospital for days and resulted in strict doctor's orders for the 63-year-old to dial it back a notch for the rest of the year.

Given the history of this band -- whose family tree has more branches than your average giant Sequoia -- it perhaps shouldn't come as a complete surprise to learn that the remaining core trio of Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass/vocals) and Alan White (drums) have decided to tour this fall as Yes despite the absence of both lead voice Anderson and off-and-on keyboardist Rick Wakeman, whose son Oliver had earlier been tapped for the summer tour when Pops opted out.

Howe, Squire and White, who had by most accounts grown restless with the band's inactivity in recent years, will now launch the appropriately named "In The Present" tour with the younger Wakeman behind the keyboard stacks and Benoit David out front. Benoit who, you ask? Well, it seems the boys paid attention to the strategy employed by classic rock trend-setters from Judas Priest to Journey and plucked David from Canadian Yes tribute band Close To The Edge after watching him sing on YouTube.

Neither David nor Oliver Wakeman has been asked to commit to the band beyond the planned fall tour, leaving the door wide open for the future return of Anderson and/or Wakeman the elder. Meanwhile, it's get your Yes music where you can...

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