2 incarnations of prog-rock favorites Yes visiting Las Vegas

OK, we get it, prog rock is the Napoleon Dynamite of music: It’s so easy to make fun of, it’s like the punch lines are lobbed underhand.

From two feet away.

And if you still can’t make contact, your dad will come out and helpfully place one on a tee for you, instructing you to keep your eye on the joke.

Afterward, you’ll eat orange slices.

Even The Atlantic got in on the action recently with a lazy, albeit well-circulated takedown of prog that was about as sharp and edgy as a Nerf ice pick.

But here’s the thing, you can goof on all those prog-rock conceits — intricate, self-involved songs full of musical peacockery and elaborate concepts that can easily create the suffocating sensation of being waterboarded in pretentiousness — but then there’s Yes.

And these dudes are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a reason, even if it took a minute for them to get in there.

As much as any band of their day, Yes bridged the yawning gap between the progressive and the populist, crafting dense, yet digestible albums that both musos and mainstream rock fans could dig.

It all remains an enviable feat, decades after the fact.

But here’s where the story gets interesting.

There are two bands with current and former members of the group out on the road, playing the Yes catalog in a less-than-friendly musical rivalry.

And they’re both hitting Vegas within days of each other.

There’s Yes, which headlines the Yestival with Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy at the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday, and then there’s Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman, which hits The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday.

Let’s see how the two compare, shall we?

The split

What does Jon Anderson have in common with a former NFL quarterback whose bones are so brittle it’s as if they were sculpted from Triscuits, who spent more time on injury reports than Sisyphus did shoving rocks and cursing inclines?

Why, let us explain.

Nine years ago, Anderson totally got Dak Prescott’d.

In the same way the current Cowboys QB landed his gig after starter Tony Romo suffered the umpteenth fractured bone of his career, Anderson lost his job in 2008 when he was unceremoniously replaced while sidelined with acute respiratory failure.

According to Anderson, the band didn’t even notify him directly of the decision to move on with a different frontman.

On an irritability scale of 1 to 10, 1 being your significant other guzzling the last beer in the fridge, 10 being the guilty party replacing said brew with an O’Douls, we’d rate Anderson’s ire a solid 7½.

Legacy

Granted, prog is like one of those sweet ninja throwing stars in an infant’s hands, so much can go so wrong, so quickly — which only underscores the skill of a band like Yes to pull it off so convincingly.

So, how do these two groups compare in terms of the roles their members played in establishing the Yes legacy?

Well, the Yes lineup features guitarist Steve Howe, who’s been in the band since 1970. He co-wrote many of the band’s most beloved tunes and is roundly credited with steering Yes in a more commercial bent. Drummer Alan White entered the fold in ’72 and keyboardist Geoff Downes joined in ’80, while bassist Billy Sherwood has worked with Yes in numerous musical guises since the early ’90s. Finally, there’s singer Jon Davison, who began fronting the band in 2012.

As for the other unit, it boasts the original voice of the band in Anderson, who co-founded the group in ’68 and co-wrote plenty of fan favorites along with Howe. Keyboardist Rick Wakeman did five stints in Yes since first hooking up with them in ’71. He also has the strongest cape game when playing live. Guitarist Trevor Rabin joined Yes in ’83 and was instrumental in the group’s biggest-selling album, 1983’s “90125.” The band’s touring lineup is rounded out by bassist Lee Pomeroy and drummer Lou Molino III.

If Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are your measuring stick, the latter lineup takes it 3-2.

Set lists

Spoiler alert: If you don’t like to know what a band is going to play prior to seeing them live, go start stenciling the Yes logo on your homemade fan-dana, pronto.

OK, so here we go: Both groups close their shows with Yes’ signature “Roundabout,” and each outfit also plays the tasty, four-part prog-pastry roll “And You and I.”

And that’s where the similarities end.

Yes sticks mostly to the vintage jams, those chestnuts that the band originally played while still clad in bell-bottoms, not performing any selections after 1980’s “Drama” album.

As is to be expected with the Anderson-led unit, the set list reflects Rabin’s entrance into the group and includes a trio of tunes from “90125,” including their biggest hit, “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” as well as a song each from “Big Generator” (“Rhythm of Love”) and “Union” (“Lift Me Up”). Wakeman and Co. dig into plenty of classics, though, including five songs combined from “The Yes Album” and “Fragile.” They also delve into the epic “Awaken,” a 15-minute opus high on the list of the band’s most revered jams.

Basically, you could see both shows with little overlap, song-wise.

All this being said, knowing how die-hard you prog loyalists are, aren’t most of you just going to see both?

Yes.

And Yes.

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Las Vegas residency
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Vegas residency (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES final night showcases Drake at XS Nightclub
Drake performed for CES attendees and club-goers at XS Nightclub in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CES 2019 Has A Cordless Hair Dryer
CES Has A Cordless Hair Dryer (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Panel talks Impossible Burger 2.0
Panel talks Impossible Burger at CES during launch at Border Grill on Monday, Jan. 7. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Dream of AJ Montgomery
AJ Montgomery lost part of his leg in a vehicle accident but found his dream as a performer in “Le Reve.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly Clinton-Holmes of the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes chats with Kelly Clinton-Holmes, director of the Stirling Club's New Year's Eve entertainment.
Month-by-month entertainment coming in 2019
“True Detective” Season 3, HBO (Jan. 13) Travis Scott, T-Mobile Arena (Feb. 6) Robbie Williams, Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas (March 6, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 16) “Game of Thrones” Season 8, HBO (April) Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (May 17-19) “Fiddler on the Roof,” The Smith Center (June 4-9) “The Lion King” (July 19) Psycho Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay (Aug. 16-18) Life is Beautiful, downtown Las Vegas (Sept. 20-22) “Tim Burton @ the Neon Museum” (Oct. 15) “Frozen 2” (Nov. 22) “Star Wars: Episode IX” (Dec. 20)
Lacey Huszcza invites you to find something to love at the Las Vegas Philharmonic
Lacey Huszcza, executive director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic talks about the orchestra's wealth of programming. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gina Marinelli offers La Strega preview
Gina Marinelli used a pop-up New Year’s Eve dinner at Starboard Tack to preview items she’ll feature at her new Summerlin restaurant, La Strega. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Year’s Eve at Sparrow + Wolf
Sparrow + Wolf’s New Year’s Eve party was a sort of official unveiling of its newly renovated space. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Debra Kelleher Of The Stirling Club
Debra Kelleher, DK Hospitality President talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the Stirling Club.
Richard Ditton Of The Stirling Club
Richard Ditton, an investment partner of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
NYE at the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes reports from the reopening of the Stirling Club on New Year's Eve 2018.
Michael Stapleton of the Stirling Club
Michael Stapleton, COO of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
Recap the Countdown on Fremont Street — VIDEO
Nearly 40,000 people packed Fremont Street to enjoy America's Party Downtown. As the tradition stands, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman counted down the clock on the 3rd Street Stage, alongside her husband and former mayor, Oscar Goodman.
New Year's Eve live from the Las Vegas Strip Bellagio Fountains - Video
Reporter Aaron Drawhorn near the Bellagio Fountains as hundreds of thousands gather to celebrate New Year's Eve in Las Vegas
Ryan Reaves describes the flavors in Training Day beer
Ryan Reaves talks about the flavor of Training Day, the new beer from 7Five Brewing that was launched at the PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves describes his new beer
Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves talks about his new beer from 7Five Brewing at a launch party at PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' five biggest NYE concerts
Imagine Dragons at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Lady Gaga at The Park Theater at Park MGM, Maroon 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Bruno Mars at T-Mobile Arena, and Tenacious D at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye @bizutesfaye
New American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
Bellagio Conservatory display is Majestic Holiday Magic
Majestic Holiday Magic at the Bellagio Conservatory
Las Vegas Ready for 2019 NYE Fireworks Show
The city of Las Vegas is ready to celebrate "America's Party" with a new and improved fireworks show that will pay tribute to the Golden Knights.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like