I was so bummed to wake up this morning and hear about the passing of Chris Squire, the legendary bass player and founding member of Yes. The loss of Squire is a big one -- he had a commanding presence visually on stage and musically, there's no doubt that he had the most distinct and recognizable bass tone in rock music -- something that was frequently affirmed by the various musicians that I would interview who counted Squire as an influence.
It had recently been announced that Squire was sick and would be forced to miss the upcoming Yes summer tour (with former Yes member Billy Sherwood filling in). It was the first time that Squire had ever missed a Yes show, but the tone of the announcement at that time gave no indication of a negative prognosis, so it was quite a shock to hear that he was gone.
The first time I saw Yes was in November of 1997 at Music Hall here in Cleveland and as a person who had grown up with the '80s 90125 era of the band, it was something else to see most of the classic lineup of the group -- Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White -- performing together (with Sherwood on additional guitars and vocals, and keyboardist Igor Khoroshev in place of Rick Wakeman).
As a result of that experience, I went to see Yes nearly every year when they came back to Cleveland after that. Seeing the band play a "small hall" gig at the Cleveland Agora in 1999 on the tour for The Ladder was certainly one highlight of those gigs. Eventually seeing Rick Wakeman with the group on a subsequent tour was another. They were one of those bands who never failed to astound me with their live show, even in recent years when Anderson was eventually replaced on vocals, first by vocalist Benoit David and more recently by Jon Davison.
Eventually, I would have the opportunity to interview quite a few Yes members and it was a definite thrill when I got the chance to speak with Squire in early 2013.
Not long after seeing Yes for the first time at that Music Hall show in 1997, I got a call from a Yes fan who was looking for a copy of the band's performance at Richfield Coliseum in 1978, which had been broadcast by WMMS. I didn't have it, but I had something new to look for and I eventually tracked down a bootleg (Madrigal Mystery Tour) that didn't sound great, but Bill was thrilled to get a copy of it.
I kept looking for a better copy of the show and a few years ago, I was finally rewarded with an upgrade. Someone posted a copy of the WMMS broadcast that they had recorded live off the radio the night that it was broadcast, directly to reel to reel tape. I hoped that it would sound as good as the description and indeed, it did. The captured recording is one that even now when you listen it, takes you straight back to the night it all happened. It's a must hear thing if you're a Yes fan, which if you're still reading this far in, chances are pretty good.
If you want even more classic live Yes, you're in luck -- Rhino Records recently released a box set that contains seven complete live shows from 1972, recorded shortly after White had joined the group as their new drummer. One can hope that perhaps they might have plans to share some additional shows from other tours in a similar fashion.
Now as promised, here's that Yes show from Richfield....
broadcast on WMMS
complete zipped download
Steve Howe, guitars
Alan White, drums
Rick Wakeman, keyboards
Chris Squire, basses
Jon Anderson, vocals, harp, other noises
Thanks to eggplant2 for the incredible source!
It seems like some of the very best concerts are the ones that you almost miss. This was certainly the case with the Yes show on Wednesday night at Cain Park.
For me, it came down to time. It had been a long time since the tour was announced, with the first details trickling out in December of last year. At that point, I really wasn''t sure that I needed to see Yes again.
After all, I've seen many a Yes show, starting with the first time that I saw the "classic" Yes lineup in 1997 at Music Hall. That's a story by itself. That was another Yes show that I almost didn't go to. I grew up as a fan of the 90125-era of the band and had little interest in the '70s material. But a friend asked me if I could get free tickets for him to take his girlfriend to the show and I figured that as long as I was making the effort to get tickets, I should try to score some for myself and take a chance on the show.
I went to the show that night at Music Hall and got a huge education on all things Yes. Besides a smattering of tracks from Open Your Eyes, the band's current album at the time with a couple of '80s Yes tracks wedged in for good measure, it was all about the epic '70s stuff, with tracks like "The Revealing Science of God," "Heart of the Sunrise," their famous version of Simon & Garfunkel's "America" and "Starship Trooper" as the closer.
Each year after that, I found my way to a Yes concert at least once per year as long as they were on tour, with the band's lineup shifting slightly (mainly on keyboards) in that time. 2003 would put a wrap on my "classic Yes" experience with a lineup that featured Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White.
The band would take a short hiatus in 2004, returning in 2008 sans Anderson with Canadian vocalist Benoit David at the helm. As much as I was against the idea of a Yes that didn't include Anderson, I gave it a shot and it was an enjoyable evening of music. With David, the band returned to the studio with Trevor Horn producing and in the midst of the recording sessions, Horn's former Buggles bandmate Geoff Downes rejoined the lineup on keyboards as well. Fly From Here was the result of their efforts and against many sets of odds, it was a new album that sounded a lot like classic Yes. Who would have thought?
Sadly, David encountered vocal issues in the midst of the touring for Fly From Here and found himself jettisoned from the group, replaced by another relatively unknown vocalist, Jon Davison.
Here's where my hesitation came in about attending this summer's tour. Do I really need to see Yes performing three classic albums with a new replacement singer, taking over for the previous substitute vocalist not named Jon Anderson? Having seen Yes with a lineup of Anderson, Wakeman, Squire, Howe and White, I wasn't so sure.
But earlier this year, I had the chance to interview both Chris Squire and Steve Howe separately regarding the tour and my interest grew. The jury was still out regarding the new vocalist, but I was willing to spend an evening with Yes and find out.
I was intrigued by the album choices, something which predictably either got a thumbs up or thumbs down reaction from the Yes fanbase, who are always ready for a good debate. You can't argue with Close To The Edge and The Yes Album, but Going For The One was an interesting pick.
When I spoke with Howe, he was a bit perturbed that the band wasn't performing the albums in the order that they were released.
Seeing the concept in play on the night, I can't argue with the path that the remaining members of the Yes brain trust chose. What could be more epic than seeing Yes open the night with the lengthy title track of the Close To The Edge album? The entirety of that segment of the evening was awesome.
The Going For The One portion might have lost some folks, as it felt more like the "deep cuts" section of the show, because of the unfamiliarity of many of the tracks for casual fans.
But by the time they got to the closing portion of the evening, The Yes Album felt like the victory lap that brought it all home for the sold out audience at Cain Park. For nearly three hours, Yes held court with a performance that was vibrant in a way that is still quite unbelievable to witness, when you're talking about a group that is 45 years into their journey. A bit of reduction in overall energy levels would make a lot of sense, but with Yes, that's not the case.
Vocalist Jon Davison, the band's newest addition (he joined in early 2012) is in his early 40s, although he looks deceptively younger than that and there's no doubt that his presence and enthusiasm adds a lot to the group's combined stamina onstage (with stage clothes that were very '70s Anderson-esque). But looking 10 years back, even with Anderson on vocals, the durability of Squire, White and Howe has always been something to behold.
Davison's performance reminded me a lot of the first time that I saw Kelly Hansen on vocals with Foreigner. Like Hansen, Davison had his work cut out for him, stepping in for a legendary vocalist like Anderson. But he handled the material with ease and there wasn't a single rough patch. It sounded like Yes music and Davison sounded like Anderson, without being an emotionless clone. The songs were communicated with the same feeling that Anderson had served up for decades prior.
Geoff Downes is another key addition to the lineup and as a heritage player, he certainly knows his way around the nine keyboards that he brought with him and his performance was both natural and skillfully executed without feeling mechanical.
Once the confetti cannons blew in the closing moments of the show (sorry about that, clean-up crew....), it had been a really incredible evening of music and it's hard to imagine that anybody walked away with disappointment.
While the full album format left some of the favorite "hits" on the sidelines for this particular run, the band has certainly done enough tours in the "greatest hits" vein that it was a very welcome change and one can hope that they will continue to explore further albums in the years to come.
Hopefully they will also find a way to document this tour with a live release (audio and video) of some sort. Yes fans will be aware that the band has released more than a few live albums and videos over the years, so this seems like a relatively safe bet. Let's hope.
For now, there's word that plans for a new album, the first with Davison, will begin to take shape once touring commitments have wrapped. With what we've heard from Fly From Here, there's plenty of reasons to be optimistic that a new album from Yes will once again be a good thing.
The Firebird Suite
Close to the Edge
Close to the Edge
And You and I
Going For The One
Going for the One
Turn of the Century
The Yes Album
Yours Is No Disgrace
I've Seen All Good People
Here's some news on a couple of exciting reissues that are on the way. A few days ago, I saw a brief blurb that the previously import-only The 12" Album release from Howard Jones would be getting a U.S. release via Wounded Bird. This made me think of Action Replay, the other EP of 12" remixes from Jones that has been available as an MP3 download for a couple of years now. Just as I was about to click the purchase button, I found even better news from Mike at the excellent The Second Disc website. Jones is preparing a limited edition box set release that will contain both The 12" Album and Action Replay (making its first CD appearance) plus a bonus disc of additional remixes that aren't on either release. Additionally, Jones is preparing a CD and DVD release of the full album performances that he did last year of Dream Into Action and Human's Lib. Visit the HoJo website for more details on all of these releases (and Mike has plenty of thoughts here).
The remix box will be the second entry in a series of planned reissues for Howard's entire catalog. As the proud recipient of last year's Dream Into Action/Human's Lib remastered box set (thanks to great girlfriend for great Christmas gift!), I can attest that these releases are must have material. The DIA/HL box set is limited to 1000 hand numbered copies (nearly sold out, last time that I checked!) and the quality of the packaging is unbelievable and it was nice to get the bonus disc of vintage live material from the era. It's safe to assume that the upcoming box set will also be a similarly limited number of units. (On a side note, the remasters of DIA and HL are now available in the UK via Itunes and other digital providers.)
Wish list? I'd love to see DVD releases of some of the '80s HoJo concert material that previously saw release on VHS and Laserdisc.
Regardless, I'm happy that Jones has been able to license the material from Warner to do these reissues.
Onto a proggier bit of news:
Details have finally been revealed for the forthcoming DVD/CD release of live Yes material from the Union tour (previously available briefly on Laserdisc and VHS in Japan). The Youtube sample looks great to me and I'm excited to see that there will be some great bonus material as well! (I'm pretty sure that I have that Denver show that is included on the second disc.) Check out a clip and full DVD content details after the jump.
I caught the Cleveland area debut of Yoso on Thursday night at The Kent Stage. Judging by the small number of folks in attendance, I'd say that most of you reading this right now probably missed the show, so I'll be happy to fill in the gaps and let you know what you missed. Yoso is the new project featuring former Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball with former '90s Yes guitarist Billy Sherwood (the creative mastermind of Yoso, who shifts to bass playing duties with this group) and original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye (with a couple of auxiliary players filling out the lineup on guitar and drums). I'd classify the show as "good but not great," which is not meant to be a slam - it's just constructive criticism of the show that I saw.
Most of that falls on the hit and miss vocals from Kimball - when he was on, he was great (for example - a great solo piano version of "Burn Down The Mission" by Elton John), but when he was off vocally, it was pretty painful to listen to. The Yes material is pretty far out of his vocal comfort zone and he even sounded suspect on some of his own material from Toto (although "Rosanna" and especially "Girl Goodbye," were great). Sherwood took many of the lead vocals on the Yes material and hearing the title track from the 1997 Yes Open Your Eyes album was a really nice surprise. Kaye had all of the keyboard samples properly dialed in, so all of the Yes and Toto material sounded faithful to the recorded versions, which is always a plus. Quite a bit of the material was padded with additional pre-recorded vocal samples which actually served the band well, fleshing out the sound of the material without feeling too much like cheating.
There's some new video online courtesy of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame featuring longtime Yes vocalist Jon Anderson. For those of you that missed Jon's performance with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland last month, you'll really enjoy this. On the weekend before the CYO performance, Jon stopped by the Rock Hall for an afternoon of Q&A and performance with Rock Hall Director of Education Jason Hanley.
These Rock Hall events with Jason are always a treat, because he has not only the knowledge to justify the title that he holds, but he's also a music fan (kinda important, right?), and his interviews are always compelling stuff to listen to. In this clip, Jon spends some time discussing the early days of Yes and specifically, his first encounter with Steve Howe. Rounding things out, Jon performs a bit of "Starship Trooper." Regrettably, because this session was in the afternoon, I missed it - so I really enjoyed seeing this clip!
On a side note, I did make it out to see Jon with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra on that following Monday night, and WOW. I had seen the CYO on video via the Styx DVD release, but that didn't even begin to prepare me for the experience of seeing the CYO in person. What a wonderfully inspiring experience for this music fan, at a time when there's so many negatives about the music industry, the Contemporary Youth Orchestra and conductor Liza Grossman are all good!
If you haven't seen the CYO yet (it took me 15 years!), I invite you to go check them out, and see if you can find something cynical to say about what they're doing. On this night, Jon Anderson might have been the featured performer, but the CYO youth were without a doubt, the star performers on the stage.
Peter Frampton and Yes, on tour together? It's actually not as random of a combination as you might think - it turns out that the pair have some past touring history together. Frampton and Yes played stadium shows together in 1976, and if you think about it, who didn't play together back in those days?
Frampton will be promoting his new album Thank You Mr. Churchill (out April 27th via Universal on both CD and vinyl). Frampton and Yes will play 90 minutes each, co-headlining a total of 25 shows this summer.
The tour dates will start in early June and run through the middle of July. Here's the initial list of dates (more to be added):
June 16 Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT
June 18 Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY
June 19 Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA
June 20 Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Meadow Lands, PA
June 23 Wolf Trap Foundation for Performing Arts, Vienna, VA
July 4 Lake Forest Venue, Blue Ash, OH
July 7 Sandia Casino, Albuquerque, NM
July 9 Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
July 10 Harrah’s Rincon-Open Sky Theater, Valley Center, CA
I haven't seen Frampton (come alive) in a few years, so if this tour ends up coming somewhere near Cleveland (perhaps closer than Blue Ash), I would love to see it. The last time that I saw Frampton was probably about 10 years ago, touring with Journey and John Waite. I really enjoyed his 2004 solo release Now.
The Yes lineup will once again feature Benoit David touring in place of Yes vocalist Jon Anderson.
Of special note - Frampton's new album will be out two weeks early on vinyl, hitting the shelves on April 13th.
Due to inclement weather in the Midwest and Northeast, Yes has been forced to move their House of Blues Cleveland date to Sunday, February 21st. Apparently their collectively cosmic vibes couldn't thwart the massive amounts of snow currently being dumped in those areas, causing necessary adjustments to the tour schedule. All tickets purchased for the Wednesday, February 17th date will be honored for the new date, and tickets are still available.
Anyone looking for a suitable Plan B for next Wednesday might consider heading to Kent to check out Marc Cohn. While it is unlikely that Cohn will be trotting out any previously unreleased 12 minute prog jams on that evening, he is playing his first Cleveland area gig in quite a while at The Kent Stage. Cohn has a new album of covers coming out on May 25th, and from the description, it sounds fairly interesting.
Marc Cohn’s new record on Saguaro Road will focus on the year 1970,
an important year for music fans in general and particularly for Marc,
because many significant albums and singles were released then that
had an impact on his decision to become an artist.
The album features Marc’s personal interpretations of classic songs
written by and/or made famous in 1970 by Paul McCartney, John
Lennon, Cat Stevens, John Fogerty and CCR, Smokey Robinson,
Joe Cocker, Simon & Garfunkel, Eric Clapton and several more.
The album will be produced by Grammy-winning producer John
Leventhal (Shawn Colvin, record of the Year), who also just produced
the brand new album by Rosanne Cash, The List.
Having nothing to do with Marc Cohn, I'll leave you with a bit of happier HOB news: Ben Folds will bring his "Ben Folds and a Piano" solo tour to HOB on Thursday, April 15th. Tickets go on sale Friday morning at 10am. 2010 is already getting expensive, dang concerts!
Now that we're past Thanksgiving, it's now officially time to think about Christmas shopping and the large amounts of holiday stress that come free with every order. Since it's the holidays and all, this also means that the record label folks are starting to take lots of time off, which leaves the schedule of releases a bit thin. This week does have new release fun and frolic from folks like The Bravery, R. Kelly and retrospective fun from Biz Markie and Enya, sold separately of course. Neil Diamond celebrates the 30th anniversary of The Jazz Singer, and if you like Vladimir Horowitz, this is really your week.
While the brevity of the list below might leave you sad, a glance at release dates from previous weeks might make you smile. And we're constantly finding stuff that we didn't even realize that it came out this year - like this Lloyd Cole rarities box set that we read about via our friends at Slicing Up Eyeballs!
Apparently when that one came out in March, we were too busy drinking green beer, or something. Anyway, here's this week's selection of new releases.
The Bravery - Stir The Blood - also available on vinyl
Neil Diamond - The Jazz Singer - 30th Anniversary Edition (DVD)
Eagles - Box Set - All of their original releases from their self-titled debut to Eagles Live, remastered. If you missed your shot at the limited edition box set of these titles a few years ago, apparently Rhino is giving you a second shot at owning the box.
Enya - The Very Best of Enya - For those days that you really need to hear "Orinoco Flow," this new collection has you covered.
Bryan Ferry - Best of Bryan Ferry
Vladimir Horowitz - The Complete Original Jacket Collection (70 CDs, lots of unreleased material) - How much do you love Dad? No really - how much? Enough to buy him a 70 CD set for his holiday gift?
R. Kelly - Untitled - These days, every time that I think of R. Kelly, I think of the hilarious Dave Chappelle skits.
Biz Markie - Diabolical! The Biz's Greatest Hits - You, you got what I neeeeeed.....
Mystery Science Theater 3000 - XVI (4 DVD boxed set)
Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
Bob Seger - Early Seger Vol. 1 - 10 tracks including 5 from albums that are out of print, and 5 previously unreleased tracks. Available exclusively online via Seger's website. Seger fans in Michigan can pick up the album at Meijer grocery store locations.
Saturday Night Live - 1979-1980: The Complete Fifth Season (7 disc set) - Musical guests include Blondie, Bob Dylan, Chicago, David Bowie, Randy Newman, The B-52's, and The Grateful Dead.
Spiritualized - Ladies & Gentleman We Are Floating In Space (Super Deluxe Edition) - Newly expanded edition adds two discs of bonus tracks
Yes - Keys to Acension (DVD) - Reissue includes Philly 1979 concert, creating a unique bargain for Yes fans that combines two of their worst ever DVD releases into one exciting package!
I had a "moment" this past week. Occasionally, I'll lend out music to friends, although if I have my ultra-anal thinking cap on, I'll often just burn them a copy instead. In this case, I wasn't thinking straight (not the first time that this has happened.) A couple of weeks later, my co-worker returned my formerly pristine double disc .38 Special anthology in a condition that appeared as if they had applied an electric sander to the discs in an attempt to edit out "Second Chance."
Speaking of "Second Chance."
Anyway, my physical music collection means less and less to me with each passing year and moving van, but seriously, why can't people take care of, and be respectful of possessions that are on loan? The former me would have had a conversation with the perpetrator, but the new me decided to just let it go. And blog about it here.
Now that I've got that off my chest, here are the links that have been rocking my world this week!
The Wrestler is one of my recent favorite movies, and one of the things I enjoyed most was the masterful and very specific use of music in the soundtrack that ties the entire film together. Give those music supervisors a big fat check for a job extremely well done. Cory Frye at Popdose contributed a recent piece regarding The Wrestler that is one of the finest pieces of writing I've read on Popdose to date. If you've seen the movie, you really owe it to yourself to check out Cory's piece. And if you haven't seen The Wrestler yet, rent/buy that sucker, and cross it off your list!
While we're hanging out at Popdose, let's check in with Ken Shane, who shares his thoughts and memories on one of my favorite albums, Days of Future Passed by The Moody Blues. The Moody Blues piece is part of Cratedigger, one of my new favorite features on Popdose. Don't forget to snag yourself a copy of the upcoming DVD of their classic Isle of Wight performance!
Sad news to hear of the passing of Lynyrd Skynyrd bassist Donald "Ean" Evans this past week after a short battle with cancer. I met Ean for the first time last year when the band was in town for an evening at the Rock Hall. He was one of the nicest and most humble people I've ever had the pleasure to meet, and very respectful to the legacy of original Skynyrd bass player Leon Wilkeson.
Southern fried all-stars The Yayhoos played their first gig in quite a while, including the debut of their version of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," which drummer Terry Anderson describes as a track that is "tailor made for the Yayhoos." Check out an entire gig recap from Anderson here.
Thanks to Peter @ Blogness on the Edge of Town for sharing the following bit of humor related to the pending Yes/Asia tour happening this summer. I'm planning to head to Michigan to catch this show, and I am planning to also hopefully catch the Michigan stop for the double bill of Bad Company and the Doobie Brothers as well!
Here's some more great reading regarding the recent birthday of legendary former Plain Dealer rock critic Jane Scott.
Michael Gallucci at Scene Magazine spent some time recently lamenting this year's most unwelcome reunion - the return of Creed. A haircut can't hide the fact that Creed is still polluted by the walking vomit that is Scott Stapp. The nauseating story behind Stapp's new look can be found here.
I really enjoyed this Lemonheads "Drug Buddy" related flashback. Definitely looking forward to the new covers disc, and the Cleveland date at the Grog in June.
Speaking of Cleveland shows that I am really looking forward to, I am quite happy to get a Cleveland stop for the "Gin and Tonic" tour, a summer tour featuring the Gin Blossoms and a reunion of Tonic! You might recall that I'm a bit of a Tonic fan. The band will be at Cain Park in August, which will be my first show at Cain Park since Sarah McLachlan in 1995! Check out the complete tour schedule of upcoming Tonic dates here.
My friend David Lifton has been grabbing some nice press for his new book set about the Obama family, including this nice interview here. Grab your own copy of the set here. While we're throwing this unexplainable spotlight on Dave, if you're a fan of the television show Scrubs, you might enjoy his thoughts on the wrap-up!
Here on the site, make sure to check out Kevin's recent Webb Wilder primer including some great live tracks! Meanwhile, our pal Mel takes a crack at year 32, offering some musical playlist listening in relation to the milestone, and also plenty of dish about her recent Vegas trip. You can also check out her non-musical Vegas wrap post here on the Boyfriend blog.
That's it for now - I am off to help my friend Amy move some boxes, preparing to get her the hell out of my house, clearing the way for my good pal Adam to take her place in June. That previous sentence sounded kinda bad, almost like I'm pushing her out the door, when the reality is that I'll miss my housemate when she departs next week. We've had some good times, and of course will continue to have many, many more!
Thanks for your support of Addicted to Vinyl!