Lineups shift, singers change, but the sound is still distinctly Yes


A Yes with two guys named Jon?

Stranger things have happened. And a lot of them have happened in the 40-plus years of the progressive rock legends; you go through a lot of erasers keeping track of the group's lineup changes.

Lately it's been even more like a British comedy than a British band known for its majestic sound. Original singer Jon Anderson was gravely ill, but recovered.

But the band continued with the singer it recruited from a tribute band.

Then that singer (Benoit David) was replaced by another singer, from a different tribute band.

Veteran drummer Alan White helps sort it out.

David, who sang on the recent album "Fly From Here," "seemed to be doing a fine job for a long time," White says, but didn't know "he was kind of stretching his voice a little bit to be able to sing some of these high songs that we do. A lot of the vocals are very high."

Finally, after singing out of tune several nights on a European tour, David's voice went out and he realized "he was forcing it too much."

Enter Jon Davison, from the bands Sky Cries Mary and Glass Hammer. Davison "wasn't straining his voice to be able to sing those high notes. It was just natural for him."

As for Anderson coming back, "we haven't put that out of our minds at all," White says. But if it happens, "I've got a feeling it won't be these long, arduous tours, maybe just some one-off gigs in big cities and stuff like that."

And for these special occasions, "I think we probably would have Jon there, too, the other Jon. He's that nice a guy. He'd work with us on it and be part of it."

But for Sunday's show at the Palms, there will be only one Jon. And that is Davison, covering Anderson - and David, when the band does the "Fly From Here" songs.

But the newest new singer is "already coming up with ideas and new pieces of music that we're passing around, kind of thinking towards (an album) next year," White says. "That spirit has always been in the band. We're always looking for something new and something different."

It's all worth the confusion, in White's opinion, to be part of Yes.

"When we go onstage at night it's a challenge to play all the music. Because there's a lot of notes and there's a lot to remember. But when everybody plays everything right - which has been really commonplace on this tour so far - when it locks in, there's really no other band like it to play with."

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

 

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