Shortly after Yes‘ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in April, past members Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman, who began touring as ARW in 2016, re-christened themselves YES Featuring….The move was legal; as YES guitarist Steve Howe notes, “We basically have a discretionary agreement” allowing the trio to use the name. When YES hit the stage on August 4th in Greensboro, North Carolina, it felt a new charge to prove itself as the group that truly deserves to employ the YEs name.
“We are our own entity,” Howe tells Billboard of the group that includes drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes, bassist Billy Sherwood, singer Jon Davison and, for Yestival, Howe’s son Dylan on drums as well. “We will carry on in our own style, and I think we’ll bring the people along with us who have either already identified with that, that we have a certain approach to the realism and the authentication of YES music. We feel it’s our right and obligation to do that very, very convincingly. So we’re that band, and if you like that thing, we’re that band.”
This summer’s Yestival will feature a set list of greatest hits from all of the YES studio albums up to 1980, showcasing the storied history of one of the world’s most influential, ground-breaking, and respected progressive rock bands. YES–Steve Howe (guitar since 1970), Alan White (drums since 1972), Geoff Downes (keyboards; first joined in 1980), Jon Davison (vocals since 2011) and Billy Sherwood (guitar/keyboards in the 1990s and the late Chris Squire’s choice to take over bass/vocals in 2015)–will treat fans to at least one song from each of the band’s first ten albums starting with 1969’s Yes to 1980’s Drama.
The tour kicked off in Greensboro, North Carolina this past Friday night (8/4/17) at the White Oak Amphitheatre. This is a really beautiful, smaller amphitheatre that gives you a more intimate feel and we love covering shows here. The staff from top to bottom have always been a treat to work with as well. We thoroughly enjoyed the show from beginning to end. We did get a little emotional when Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy played “Lucky Man” and we could hear Greg Lake’s voice in our heads. Todd Rundgren’s set may have had a few hiccups as they were working out the opening night of a tour bugs, but he looked and sounded great. It was cool to hear a few Utopia songs in his set as well. As for YES, it was great hearing some of the tracks that we had never heard before in a live setting. Their stage looked amazing as did their light show. We’re not going to get into the debate of there being two bands using the YES mantle and we’ll leave that for the online debaters who feel the need to spend way too much debating this to no end. We thought that the band sounded great throughout their set and we had a blast going down memory lane with the band as they band revisited these older cuts. We highly recommend catching this show if it comes to your town.
YES setlist: Survival, Time and a Word, Yours is no Disgrace, South Side of the Sky, And You and I, Leaves of Green, Soon, Going for the One, Don’t Kill the Whale, Machine Messiah, (Encore) Rondabout.
Todd Rundgren setlist: Come, Truth, Rise, Sir Reality, The Ikon, Buffalo Grass, This is Not a Drill, Party Liquor, Past, Buy My T, One World, Hello It’s Me, Just One Victory.
Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy: Hoedown, Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Part 2, Knife-Edge, Lucky Man, Fanfare for the Common Man.
Check out these pix from YES’ opening night performance on the Yestival tour at the White Oak Amphitheatre in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 4, 2017. Click on each image for a larger view!
Check out these pix from Todd Rundgren’s opening night performance on the Yestival tour at the White Oak Amphitheatre in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 4, 2017. Click on each image for a larger view!
Check out these pix from Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy’s opening night performance on the Yestival tour at the White Oak Amphitheatre in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 4, 2017. Click on each image for a larger view!