Review of YES featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman 2017 North American tour

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Reviewed on October 11, 2017 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, www.rutheckerdhall.com

By: Karen Pharo

Yes featuring Jon Anderson (vocals), Trevor Rabin (guitar), and Rick Wakeman (keyboards), performed live at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Wednesday, October 11th, and they did not disappoint. Dedicated fans packed the house as the 70’s progressive rock icons returned to the stage for yet another unforgettable performance. As the house lights dimmed and the light show commenced, the spotlight turned to Rick Wakeman standing behind his keyboards and synthesizers, wearing his shiny wizard cape, playing instrumental sounds. The crowd cheered and clapped thunderously. Then, Trevor Rabin graced the stage with his guitar while Jon Anderson sauntered over to his platform on the middle of the stage, and the fans were overwhelmed with excitement. They were whistling, screaming, and gave a standing ovation as they anxiously awaited the first verse of Perpetual Change.

Anderson’s high-pitched voice was angelic and his energy level was as if he was in his early 20’s. You would never guess that he is in his 70’s. He is multi-faceted and played multiple instruments throughout the performance. You never knew which one he was going to bring out next. Would it be the tambourine, Tibetan bells, acoustic guitar, mini harp, ukulele, or something else? He used multiple hand motions throughout the performance such as clapping, raised arms, and waving his arms as if he were conducting the audience and placing them under a spell. His performance was flawless and mystical as he took the fans down memory lane.

Rabin’s guitar performance was mind-blowing. The audience was in awe and entranced by his guitar solos as well as his overall performance with the band. You could tell that he was working the crowd and loving every minute of it. There were several standing ovations throughout the evening. “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was a crowd favorite that had everyone singing along, while the band members interacted with the audience. Wakeman’s sound effects and creativity, coupled with the light show and his shimmering cape, completed the total hypnotic, trippy sensation.

It was an overall successful performance that proved that these guys still have it and they were well-deserving of their induction into the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April. For anyone that has been a fan of the band Yes, I would highly recommend attending one of their performances. They will bring you back to the 70’s and 90’s while adding a modern flair.

www.yesfeaturingarw.com

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YES featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman will be embarking on a North American tour this summer due to public demand.

As members of famed British prog rock band YES, Jon Anderson (co-founder/singer), Trevor Rabin (guitarist), and Rick Wakeman (keyboardist) formed their own band in 2016, and have since been performing at sold out shows across the world. This past April, all three members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Barclays Center in New York City. The trio is currently recording new material throughout the summer for a projected album release of early 2018.

Praise for the band’s recent tours:

“Every song sounds like a celebration. Every song is uplifting.” – Classic Rock Magazine

“There were multiple ‘pinch me’ moments throughout the show.” – Daily Express

“Yes, these guys still have it: Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman faithfully delivered the spirit and the essence of the music of the band from which they derived… and they did so in grand style.” – Creative Loafing Tampa Bay

“Truly was a momentous concert. Great song selection, tight performances from everyone, and a little fun at the end… if they’re coming to a town near you, don’t miss it.” – Progarchy

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Biographies (from www.yesfeaturingarw.com on 10/15/17)

Jon Anderson is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable voices in progressive rock as the lead vocalist and creative force behind Yes. Anderson was the author and a major creative influence behind the ground-breaking album ‘Fragile’ as well as the series of epic, complex pieces such as ‘Awaken’, ‘Gates of Delirium’ and especially ‘Close to the Edge’ which were central to the band’s success. Additionally, Anderson co-authored the group’s biggest hits, including ‘I’ve Seen All Good People’, ‘Roundabout’, and ‘Owner Of A Lonely Heart’. Anderson also had great success with a series of albums he did with Vangelis, and most recently released the critically-acclaimed solo album entitled ‘Survival and Other Stories’.

Jon was born John Roy Anderson in Accrington, Lancashire, England, on October 25, 1944 to Albert and Kathleen Anderson, dropping the “h” from his first name in 1970.

In 1962, Anderson joined The Warriors, where he and his brother Tony shared the role of lead vocalist. He quit this band in 1967, released two solo singles in 1968 under the pseudonym Hans Christian Anderson, and then briefly sang for the band The Gun. In March 1968, Anderson met bassist Chris Squire and joined him in a group called Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, which included guitarist Peter Banks.

Anderson, Squire, and Banks went on to form Yes, with drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Tony Kaye. Their eponymous debut album was released in 1969. Amongst the line-up changes (Rick Wakeman would replace Kaye in 1971 and Alan White would replace Bruford in 1972), Jon stayed with the group until 1980, and this period is now known as the classic period of Yes. Jon was a major creative force and band leader throughout the period and is recognized as the main instigator of the series of epics produced by Yes at the time.

Yes released 11 critically acclaimed albums (including one live album ‘Yessongs’ and one early compilation ‘Yesterdays’) between 1969 and 1979, including such classic titles as ‘Fragile’ (which contained the band’s first hit “Roundabout”), ‘Close To The Edge’, ‘Tales From The Topographic Oceans’, ‘Relayer’ and ‘Going For The One’.

Jon rejoined a reformed Yes in 1983, which produced their most commercially successful album ‘90125’ with newcomer Trevor Rabin. After a second album ‘Big Generator’ and several world tours, Jon departed again in 1988 over the band’s continued pursuit of major commercial success and mainstream radio play. In 1989, Anderson and other former Yes members formed the group Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe (ABWH), augmented by bassist Tony Levin who had played with drummer Bill Bruford in King Crimson. After the successful first ABWH album, a series of business deals caused ABWH to reunite with the then-current members of Yes (Squire, Rabin, White, Kaye), who had been out of the public eye while searching for a new lead singer. The resulting eight-man band assumed the name Yes, and the album ‘Union’ (1991) was assembled from various pieces of an in-progress second ABWH album, as well as recordings that ‘Yes proper’ had been working on, without Anderson. A successful tour followed, but the eight-man line-up of Yes never recorded a complete album together before splintering in 1992. Although many more personnel changes followed, Anderson would remain with the band until 2004. The ‘90125’ line-up recorded one more album in 1994 titled ‘Talk’. The ‘classic’ line-up (Anderson, Squire, Wakeman, Howe, White) reformed with ‘Keys To Ascension’ (1996) and ‘Keys to Ascension 2’ (1997).

Wakeman was replaced by Igor Khoroshev, who was featured on ‘Open Your Eyes’ (1997) and ‘The Ladder’ (1999), along with guitarist Billy Sherwood. The album ‘Magnification’, released in 2001, marked the second album Yes recorded with an orchestra, the first being ‘A Time And A Word’ in 1970. In 2002, Rick Wakeman returned to the band to celebrate their 35th anniversary with a major worldwide tour, which concluded in 2004.

Outside of Yes, Jon would record four celebrated albums with Oscar winner Vangelis, each of which sold over a million copies worldwide. As well as releasing a number of very successful solo albums, he has collaborated with several other artists, such as Mike Oldfield, Kitaro and former bandmate Rick Wakeman, and contributed to a number of different film soundtracks, including ‘St Elmo’s Fire’, ‘Legend’ and the re-release of the classic Fritz Lang movie ‘Metropolis’.

Most recently, he formed a new ensemble with jazz violin legend Jean-Luc Ponty in the summer of 2014, and their album and DVD entitled ‘Better Late Than Never’ was released in 2015 and followed by a tour. Jon also teamed up with Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings, Transatlantic) release a critically acclaimed album, ‘The Invention Of Knowledge’, in June 2016.

Jon Anderson’s official website: www.JonAnderson.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheJonAnderson

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Trevor Rabin has earned a worldwide reputation for his innovative work as a musician and composer. Born in 1954 in Johannesburg, he is the son of a prominent lawyer Godfrey Rabin, who was also a highly respected violinist. Godfrey performed as first chair for the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra for over a decade. His mother was a well-known actress and an accomplished classical pianist. Trevor showed a natural gift for music, beginning classical piano lessons from the age of six.

His father bought him a guitar after winning a national classical piano competition and a couple of years later, he formed his first band Conglomeration with some friends.

Within a year of their inception, Conglomeration earned a reputation as being one of the best bands in Johannesburg and before long, they were headlining pop festivals with bands twice their age.

Trevor began doing session work at 17 and established himself as the most sought after session guitarist in South Africa and developed his production skills while working with all the top producers and arrangers. Notably, Trevor worked closely with Mutt Lange, who would book him on all his sessions.

As well as being a session musician, Trevor joined a band called Freedom’s Children and played to sell-out audiences all over South Africa. One of the songs Trevor wrote with the band was called ‘Wake Up! State of Fear’ and was a controversial anti-Apartheid song, which did not sit well with the establishment.

After a successful year with Freedom’s Children, Trevor was drafted into the South African Army and after two months basic training, transferred from an Infantry Division to the Entertainment Unit.

Soon after completing his time in the army, Trevor formed the band Rabbitt with former Conglomeration bandmates, Neil Cloud and Ronnie Robot.

Rabbitt became the most successful rock act ever to emerge from South Africa, and Trevor and his bandmates became teen idol pinups and virtual recluses, having to hide from overzealous fans !

In 1976, Rabbitt (now a full time touring band) released its first album, ‘Boys Will Be Boys’, which went gold faster than any other South African record in history. For this album, Rabbitt won a Sarie award, the South African equivalent of a Grammy award, for Best Contemporary Pop Music.

Rabbitt dominated the South African charts for two years and to this day, it is considered to be the biggest musical phenomenon ever to come out of South Africa, but a struggle with the pressures of Rabbitt and the desire to work in London led Trevor to move to London in 1978. Here, he produced such acts as Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and released his first self-titled solo album. Two more solo albums ensued – 1979’s ‘Face to Face’ and 1981’s ‘Wolf’.

Accepting an invitation from industry heavyweight John Kalodner, he moved to Los Angeles. where he spent time writing and penned most of the album ‘90125’.

However, the relationship with Kalodner was not meant to be. Trevor then started shopping the material he had been writing with the view of releasing a solo album and after meeting up with Chris Squire, they formed the band Cinema, the music based on what Trevor had been writing, eventually becoming ‘90125’.

As the album neared completion, Jon Anderson joined the band and a new incarnation of Yes was born. The Yes ‘comeback’ album ‘90125’ became by far the biggest-selling of the group’s career, launching the group’s only #1 single, Rabin’s ‘Owner Of A Lonely Heart’ and securing the band’s only Grammy for ‘Cinema’.

In 1989, Trevor released his fourth solo album, ‘Can’t Look Away’ and after a decade of success, including four albums and four worldwide tours, parted ways with Yes.

Immediately, he decided to look into film composition, as he thought it was a perfect platform for writing for orchestra – a passion up there with playing guitar.

The outcome of this desire proved prolific, as since then, he has composed the soundtracks for mega-budget Hollywood movies, enhancing the performances of stars like Sir Anthony Hopkins, Gene Hackman, Will Smith, Nicholas Cage, Denzel Washington and Samuel L Jackson. Trevor has scored twelve films for Jerry Bruckheimer, and has written the scores for more than 50 films.

His theme music backs the American baseball and basketball games and his ‘Remember The Titans’ score reverberates behind the Olympic Games telecasts. ‘Titans’ was also the theme music for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

His collaborations include working with Seal, Michael Jackson, Manfred Mann, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Jack Bruce, Paul Rodgers and some of the great orchestras of the world, to name a few. He also sang and performed guitar on ‘Never Is A Long Long Time’ on Rick Wakeman’s ‘Return to the Centre of the Earth’ album in 1998.

Trevor was saddened by the death of Sir George Martin in 2016, having worked closely with him and performed with him at the ‘Sir George Martin and Friends… An Evening of Beatle Music’ concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

He has received numerous awards including The Henry Mancini Film music Award, eleven BMI Film Awards, a Grammy, a Lifetime Achievement Award (Los Angeles Music Awards), a Career Achievement Award (Temecula International Film Festival), and Gold Medal for Excellence in Film Music Award (Park City Film Festival).

The awards reflect the vision that Trevor had from his early days in South Africa. Since then he has also been involved in socio-political commentary and human rights issues. His song ‘Wake Up! State of Fear’ was one of the first anti-Apartheid songs. ‘Working For The People’ is a power salute to the Soweto school riots. Margaret ‘Lady Afrika’ Singana sings with Trevor on ‘Tribal Fence’, with the lyric eerily forecasting the year that Nelson Mandela would walk out of jail and end apartheid rule. ‘Can’t Look Away’ was inspired by the anguish in South Africa prior to Mandela coming to power.

In 1997, Trevor met Mandela when he became involved in the Prince’s Trust Concert. The event was held in Johannesburg and helped raise funds for the unemployed youth of South Africa. Trevor also played at the Prince’s Trust Concert in 2004 at Wembley Arena with Yes.

Besides releasing numerous film score albums, Trevor recently wrote and released an instrumental album, ‘Jacaranda’, featuring Trevor on guitar, dobro, mandolin, banjo, piano, Hammond and bass guitar and double bass. He also had a number of people join him on the recording, including Lou Molino, Vinnie Colaiuta and Trevor’s son Ryan on drums, and Tal Winkenfeld features on one track on bass.

The album reached no. 6 on the Billboard jazz charts, and Trevor was critically acclaimed as one of the finest guitarists in the world.

Trevor has become one of the most sought-after film composers in the business, with 50 films to date. He has created music that crosses barriers and genres that have made him one of the premier composers of contemporary music. As a guitarist, keyboardist, singer, songwriter, producer, conductor, orchestrator and recording engineer, Trevor has established himself as a leader in the music world.

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After studying piano privately for 12 years, Rick gained a scholarship to the Royal College of Music where he studied piano, clarinet and orchestration. In March 2012 Prince Charles presented him with his Fellowship of the RCM. He was also made a Professor at the London College of Music.

As a much sought after session musician in the late sixties and early seventies , he played on more than 2000 records including such hits as Cat Steven’s Morning Has Broken, David Bowie’s Space Oddity and Life on Mars and worked with a real eclectic mixture of other notable artistes such as Donovan, Cilla Black, Marc Bolan, Black Sabbath, Lou Reed, Mary Hopkin, Dana, Al Stewart , Elton John and John Williams.
In March 1970 he joined Strawbs and his first album with them , “Just a Collection of Antiques and Curios” , paved the way for “Folk-Rock” and reviews from their concert at The Queen Elizabeth Hall on July 11th of that year , did much to take Rick’s career to a new level.

He joined YES in August of 1971 and has been in and out of that band on quite a few occasions ! (One journalist likened the relationship to that of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor , in as much as they can’t live with each other for long periods of time , but in the same breath , can’t live without each other ! Rick told the journalist he didn’t disagree as long as it was accepted that he was “Richard Burton”) !

Both as a solo artist and with YES he has sold more than 50,000,000 albums, although he says that only past management and past wives would be able to tell you where the royalties went!

He has written 2 film scores for Ken Russell , (Lisztomania and Crimes of Passion), 2 scores for Harry Palmer films starring Michael Caine, (Bullet to Beijing and Midnight in St. Petersburg), and the award winning White Rock as well as Gole, Hero, A Day After The Fair and 2 horror films, Creepshow 2 and The Burning.

He has also carved out quite a television career in the UK appearing on every single programme of the massively successful Grumpy Old Men series , making just under 100 appearances on Countdown plus numerous invites onto Never Mind The Buzzcocks,
Have I got News For You and 6 years as a regular presenter on Watchdog.
He also hosted the highly successful comedy programme Live at Jongleurs for 6 years and indeed has won comedy awards himself for his anecdotal comedy stand-up.

He is a regular television presenter of documentaries and is in constant demand for voiceovers and recently did the narrative voiceover for the new Saxon DVD and is about to record the voiceover for the new Deep Purple film.

On Radio 4 he can be regularly heard on The News Quiz, Just a Minute and It’s Your Round and has just been contracted by Radio 2 to present a weekly programme based around music that has been keyboard inspired..This follows on from his award winning programme on Planet Rock..

He has two current books available …Grumpy Old Rockstar and Further Adventures of a Grumpy Old Rockstar, both of which made the best sellers list. The third in the series is due for release in 2017.

He still finds time each year to perform concerts around the world which can range from his extremely popular one man show to extravaganzas with symphony orchestras and choirs .

In 2013 he performed 12 consecutive sell out one man shows at the Edinburgh Festival ,

In 2014 he performed his highly acclaimed Journey to the Centre of the Earth with a symphony orchestra , choir and band to more than 35,000 in the UK and this show will continue to be performed for the ensuing years around the world.
2015 saw him continuing to tour both with his one man show and also with his band as well as presenting three major television programmes and it was during that year that plans were finally put into place with Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin to form ARW .

On very rare occasions he performs with some of his very talented offspring and these shows literally sell out the moment they are announced . They are incredibly entertaining and great fun .

Rick has 6 children , Oliver, Adam , Benjamin, Jemma , Oscar and Amanda and between them they have given him 10 grandchildren to date . (There’s obviously something in the Wakeman genes, or perhaps that should be spelt “jeans”).

He has been with his lovely wife Rachel for 14 years and they have been married for 5 . In 2017 Rick will be presenting her with an award for gallantry and survival in putting up with him.

They are both huge animal welfare campaigners and have 3 rescue cats and are patrons of three animal welfare groups as well as having adopted their own moon bear called Cyril who had been a part of the dreadful bear bile farming in Asia.

Life is rarely dull for Rick or those around him !

rwcc.com                @GrumpyOldRick
https://www.facebook.com/RickWakemanMusic

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Lee is an award winning composer and producer, as well as being an in demand session musician. As a professional bass player, Lee has recorded, toured, and performed with a diverse roster of high profile artistes, including Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Take That, Steve Hackett and Rick Wakeman. “I have played with arguably the 3 greatest bass players ever, Chris Squire, John Entwistle, and Lee Pomeroy!” says Rick Wakeman.” And I can’t wait to play with him again!”

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Louis is originally from Philadelphia, and is a Los Angeles-based studio and touring drummer. Lou was an original member of Cock Robin, who released their debut album on Columbia Records. He has worked with producers Bob Ezrin, Eddie Offord, Paul De Villiers, Trevor Horn, Steve Hillage and Ken Scott. He has recorded and/or toured with Trevor Rabin, Julian Lennon, Kim Mitchell, Kenny Loggins, Roger Hodgson, and The Tubes. Lou’s work can be heard on such films as Con Air, Tarzan, Armageddon, Training Day, Jack Frost, Glory Road, Bad Boys II, Gone in Sixty Seconds, G-Force and Max. His television credits include Zero Hour, Agent X and 12 Monkeys.

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Rock icons Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman are proud to announce that effective immediately,they will officially be known as ‘YES featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman’, which is the name they will be touring under in North America during the latter half of 2017.
“It’s very simple,’ explains band founder and vocalist Jon Anderson. “The fans want it, we want it and it’s our right to use the name. YES music is in our DNA!”
The definitive line-up of the greatest progressive rock band ever – Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman – together again LIVE!

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