“I’ve never been comfortable with legend peddling,” says Yes co-founder Chris Squire. But this summer he’s willing to make an exception.
The progressive rock pioneers are going along with the prevailing gimmick of the concert tour industry, playing a classic album in its entirety.
But this being Yes, always a band of epic proportions, one vinyl LP simply won’t do.
On Friday, the group is set to play three of its ’70s finest at the Palms: “The Yes Album,” “Close to the Edge” and “Going for the One.”
“We thought they all complemented each other and it’s been going real well,” Squire says. “The fans like it a lot.”
Last summer’s stop at The Pearl focused on the newer “Fly From Here” album, more in keeping with the band’s 45-year ability to keep pushing forward more than looking back.
“I don’t mind playing our old music, but it’s nice to inject some new material every now and again,” says Squire, the 65-year-old bass virtuoso who is the lone member to have played on every Yes album.
Friday’s lineup is the same as last year’s: Squire, guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes — with whom Howe also played in the band Asia — and singer Jon Davison.
Fans have grown used to the revolving-door history of Yes. But the most divisive change was the loss of founding singer Jon Anderson, who wasn’t invited back after being sidelined for serious health issues in 2008.
The band’s stance hasn’t changed since last summer’s show, which introduced Davison to Las Vegas.
“It’s not to say we wouldn’t do something with Jon Anderson in the future, I’m just not quite sure what it would be,” Squire says.
But the next album will more likely be with Davison, who came from his own prog group, Glass Hammer. “Jon is a writer too and that’s what’s exciting to me about doing some new material.”
The two have “gotten together and tossed some ideas around already. I’m sure in time he’s going to get together with Steve and Geoff as well. We’ll flush out hopefully some good ideas that we can all put together and make a new album.”
In the meantime, fans can look forward to this fall’s 5.1-surround remix of “Close to the Edge” by Steven Wilson, a younger prog rocker and audiophile who has remixed other classic prog albums.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it prior to hearing it, but when I did hear it I found it kind of interesting,” Squire says. “Because he didn’t just try to re-create ‘Close to the Edge’ with the same kind of vibe, he actually changed the vibe a little bit. It’s kind of reverby, kind of spacey. Almost ‘Magical Mystery Tour’-y. I thought, ‘At least he’s done something different with it.’ ”
Squire is a father of prog rock, but also the father of a daughter born in 2008. When they learned she would be born prematurely, Squire and his wife moved to Phoenix in anticipation of her medical needs, and they ended up staying, he says.
Part of the controversy with Anderson revolved around how much touring the group would do each year. With a little one at home, is Squire starting to agree that less is more?
As with the musical philosophy of Yes, apparently not.
“I get a lot of pleasure out of just the playing actually,” he says. “When the band really plays well, that’s a good day’s work.”
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0288.