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2000-2008: What Went WRONG For "Classic YES"?

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    2000-2008: What Went WRONG For "Classic YES"?

    Just reflecting on the first decade of the 21st century for YES.

    2000: We got the unbelievable MASTERWORKS Tour. Songs... EPICS... we thought perhaps forever left to our memories and our bootlegs, suddenly were breathed back to life. Excellent.

    2001: Tom Brislin takes over from Igor Khoroshev on keys, and we get an orchestra playing the entire US tour with YES. The Moody Blues did it with great sales (and NPR drives) - and YES proved it was in their wheelhouse as well. We got previews of what became MAGNIFICATION on tour as well. Good tour, great DVD.

    2002: VH1 Classic presents - "CLASSIC YES 2002 Tour." Rick Wakeman is BACK! "Show Me", albeit simple, was a heartfelt preview of the possibility with this lineup from the 70s back to take us closer to the edge once more. So many great shows, we get a fantastic book & photos and career overview boxset (IN A WORD: YES [1969-])and some marvelous DVDs released...

    2004: YES release YES ACOUSTIC: GUARANTEED NO HISS as an intimate first-ever live, *acoustic* concert simulcast into movie theaters. And soon: THE ULTIMATE YES: 35th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION 3-CD set - as good a set as you can compact for sale with that catalog to stores like Target and Walmart - with a 3rd CD featuring "Show Me" and some more solo stabs hinting at the past and the future with the lineup of Anderson-Squire-Howe-Wakeman-White. And - what a TOUR! Roger Dean designs that epic dream stage: LOVE-LOVE-LOVED it. Setlist? How about "Mind Drive"... with the somewhat turbulent lineup changes of the 1990s to early 2000s behind them - "CLASSIC YES" demonstrated on tour that they were ready to own their progressive legacy, AND forge ahead into the future. 2004 was a jewel in the crown of 35 years of YES music and shows.

    2005-2008: What happened...??! (Even the aptly-titled MORE DRAMA tour didn't happen. Jon Anderson didn't want to seemingly tour or make music as YES. Rick Wakeman didn't even want to tour as YES, even when Jon finally DID belatedly come around to the idea again... Rick gave his blessings to Oliver his son to fill his spot, Jon got ready but then Jon got sick, and...)

    2008-2022+: What we now call "Official" YES carries on with relative stability and focus IN THE PRESENT. FLY FROM HERE. HEAVEN AND EARTH. THE QUEST. A new hope with an ARW union (RE-"Union"). We lost The Fish... but his dying wish, was for Billy Sherwood to keep the flame burning in his place onstage - and the band moved "Onward". A final show with Trevor, Jon, and Rick onstage as "YES" for one night at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction. And for fans who wanted to see the music of YES live on tour, you got 2 YES bands - and many, MANY opportunities to see and hear the classic music of 70s "AND" 80s YES live in concert again - every single year until the COVID lockdown. In the 2010s; from Cruise To The Edge to global concert halls, there was ALWAYS activity from YES.

    What went WRONG, as you see it, after the end of the 35th Anniversary Tour? What went wrong with the "CLASSIC YES" band members' *chemistry* between 2004-2008??

    What are your feelings about, specifically, the LAST 20 YEARS of YES?


    /AgentA\
    -Douglas
    Last edited by agentarmstrong; 04-23-2022, 05:24 PM.

    #2
    Kinda weird thinkin' back over it all. From a skinny kid who loved rugby and regarded the 70's band as heroes. Moved down to Tasmania and kept in slight touch thanks to BigGen and ABWH. Then back to Sydney, marriage, kids and pop culture and hero worship was the furthest thing from my mind. Until the internet. KTA 1 + 2 and enjoyin' discussin' my band with other tragics. All seems ancient history.

    Now the last decade. Lots of drama and disappointments. The ultimate schism between Jon and Steve. Juano flies around the world on a Quest to write songs with everybody. (See what I did there?)

    So I'm thrilled we got new music. Thrilled that it is mellow pastoral prog...my fave. Thrilled it seems now to keep goin'with great momentum. YES have a loyal fanbase and new young admirers. Oblivious to fashion. My son loves FutureMemories for example. Each time we go for a drivin' lesson he cranks up TQ.

    So when Alan or Steve retire? Hope Geoff and Juano and Billy and Jay find a guitar maestro.* A young buck full o' p*ss + vinegar. NextGenYES creatin' new music that speaks to hope, love, ecology etc. Roger carries on. Maybe with Freya doin' the heavy liftin' with her dad guidin' her from a comfy armchair. 😉

    The legacy will survive. Will be interestin' how the CTTE50 goes over in the mainstream media. It's the big one. Hope there's lots of love and respect for it.


    * and please involve Chris Braide somehow.
    Last edited by Gilly Goodness; 04-23-2022, 05:34 PM.

    Comment


      #3
      The 2004 to 2008 question is a head scratcher. Saw them in 2003 and they seemed happy enough. Great concert. From memory Jon got very sick. The More Drama tour had visa issues to tour USA.

      The three got itchy feet to tour and make moolah. Found Benoit and ghosted Jon. Only Alan ever called to see how he was. Benoit has vocal issues singin' every night. Taylor Hawkins mentions to Chris about his oldest mate. Rest is history.

      No idea who was managin' them through all this.

      Unless you're U2, you can't expect men to stick together as their lives change. Partners. Location. Health. It's complex. Seems to have plateaued out nicely now.

      Comment


        #4
        Well, this is what Rick wrote in his december 2004 newsletter, after the 35th anniversary tour.

        Since the last newsletter there has been the final stage of the YES American tour which finished early September and that sadly was not the best of the tours this year for many reasons....[..]....To recap a little, the YES tours were musically rewarding although they took their toll health-wise and also creatively as there is only so long I think that a band such as YES can progress without producing new music....[...]...The first leg of the American tour was probably the best of the three touring legs, but there was very little time at the end of it to get all the gear, and us, into Europe and with a very badly organized and routed tour it started to take it’s toll health-wise....[...]...The second USA leg was fraught with problems which will remain internal as I’m sure you will understand but I don’t think any of us were sorry to see it end, albeit for different reasons.

        From what I know from sources close to the band at the time there was a lot of infighting going on, basically with Chris and Steve on one side and Jon and Rick on the other side, and Alan somewhere in the middle.

        We were lucky to get the 35th anniversary tour as it happens, because in January 2004 when Chris showed up 2 hrs. late for the acoustic show on January 26, which was later released as YesAcoustic. Jon was already not happy with Chris, because during the 2003 tour Chris was drinking heavily and doing other stuff (again). Vice versa Chris complained a lot about Jon's frequent canabis use. Chris turning up 2 hours late, was the straw that broke the Camel's back and Jon actually pulled out of the 35th anniversary tour and it took two weeks of talking to have him reconsider and come back.

        Basically that tour started with quite a lot of animosity between Chris and Jon. When Rick talked about things taking its toll health-wise he was referring to Jon, who developed the respiratory problems that in 2008 got him nearly killed, during that tour. Yet touring was pushed through, no doubt because cancelling would have caused the band a fortune.

        Then there were more incidents across the tour, for instance the infamous Mother Audrey incident in Madison Square Garden, where Jon got his spiritual adviser on stage, during the second US Leg, which caused the band to go over Union curfew time, and costed the band allegedly around 200.000 dollars in fine. Jon apparently thought that fine could come out of the band's earnings, which upset the others.

        Chris, Steve and Alan actually wanted to keep touring in 2005, after about a six months break, while Jon and Rick wanted (and in the end forced) a much longer break, mainly because of Jon's health issues, causing more rift between the factions, certainly when Jon kept refusing offers for Yes to tour, but did book solo tours playing mainly Yes songs.

        Then when in 2008 all finally agreed to the CTTE and back tour, allegedly Jon demanded 50% of the tour earnings, leaving the other four to devide the other 50%, setting more bad blood. Also, according to a fan, Chris told he was upset with Jon, because Jon had called Yes "my backing band" to Chris' face. On top of that Yes's popularity had wained in those four years, the tour was booked in too large sheds and pre-sales were going bad and the tour was on the verge of either being re-booked in smaller venues or being cancelled all together. So a stressed situation again. Also Jon and Chris, Steve and Alan were on different wave lengths considering new music. Jon wanted the band to do four new longform songs on tour, but the others didn't understand and/or like what Jon brought to the table. And then Jon's respiratory attack happened and the tour had to be cancelled.

        All in all as said, a lot of infighting, a lot of incidents that got one or another pissed off and I think in the end some bridges where burned permanently during that time, as became clear in the years since.

        Comment


          #5
          To add to the above: this is what Steve said in a 2012 interview about those songs Jon brought to them and more or less about burnt bridges:

          Jon Anderson said he was working on new long-form music for Yes in 2008 that the band didn’t take an interest in. What can you tell me about those songs?

          I don’t know professionally what is right to say here. What Jon did was drip-feed us a few songs and we basically turned him down and said “No, we don’t want to do those.” Then there was another time for another song and we said “No, no, no.” He then presented one other song and we said “No, no, not that one either.” We didn’t find a song we leapt on that made us feel we must rush around and suddenly record. We didn’t hear anything we thought had enough material to make us start moving. When you listen to a Yes album, you expected grounded, developed, thought-about lyrics. That’s how we look at it. We found the lyrical content of these songs to be rather ad-libbed. I don’t want to deride Jon, because this is his music. I don’t want you to think I am saying it was bad music. All I’m saying is we didn’t pick up on any of the songs or notice that there was a trilogy of songs coming at us that was part of some epic. We definitely didn’t see them like that. We saw them as demos of songs that were very loose and we didn’t know where they were going. It’s not dissimilar to when we were preparing Drama, when we thought Jon and Rick were going to come to the party, which of course they didn’t do. Jon eventually came down and played us his songs and we said “We can’t relate to that.” So, this is another version of that, really. I wish Jon luck with his music. I seriously and truthfully feel that way. But I’m not sure our mutual desire to achieve the same thing exists anymore. I think we burned it out a bit. We crossed paths and we’re not together anymore. I think there has to be some element of moving on."

          Comment


            #6
            "So, so you think you can tell Heaven from hell?
            Blue skies from pain?
            Can you tell a green field
            From a cold steel rail?
            A smile from a veil?
            Do you think you can tell?
            Did they get you to trade
            Your heroes for ghosts?
            Hot ashes for trees?
            Hot air for a cool breeze?
            Cold comfort for change?
            Did you exchange
            A walk-on part in the war
            For a leading role in a cage?
            How I wish, how I wish you were here
            We're just two lost souls
            Swimming in a fish bowl
            Year after year
            Running over the same old ground
            What have we found?
            The same old fears
            Wish you were here."

            Running over the same old ground all over again will most likely result in the same kind of acrimony and blame-gaming that came to the fore in the ARW thread.
            Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
            Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

            Comment


              #7
              maybe egos got too much leading to the breakup- maybe a disagreement over a desire to do more new material by some? Yes has hardly ever been stable and it was hardly a surprise, I guess they used Jon's asthma problem as a way of moving forward without him, but I feel they would never have made new material if Anderson had stuck around, I think there must have been massive issues behind the scenes by 2008.
              The Definitive YES Albums

              -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
              -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
              -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by soundchaser09 View Post
                maybe egos got too much leading to the breakup- maybe a disagreement over a desire to do more new material by some? Yes has hardly ever been stable and it was hardly a surprise, I guess they used Jon's asthma problem as a way of moving forward without him, but I feel they would never have made new material if Anderson had stuck around, I think there must have been massive issues behind the scenes by 2008.
                Read my two posts....LOL...

                Comment


                  #9
                  I look at that era of the band as spanning KTA to the end of the 2004 tour. So we got a Yes that included Anderson, Howe, Squire and White recording and touring with no long breaks in activity for close to nine years with five albums and an EP worth of studio material and tons of live shows. How awesome is that? And Magnification was a very worthy finale IMHO. In retrospect 2004 marked the end of the real Yes. I think they were just out of gas. Anderson, Howe and Squire would never do anything together again.

                  If Anderson hadn’t nearly died maybe they could have gotten it going again in 2008. Who knows? Instead we got what we got with Benoit, a couple of decent, listenable releases in the form of Fly From Here and From A Page, and this has evolved over the last 13-14 years into a thoroughly mediocre band with that cool as heck Roger Dean logo flying overhead and an amazing guitar player.
                  Last edited by Frumious B; 04-24-2022, 04:51 AM.
                  “Well ain’t life grand when you finally hit it?”-David Lee Roth

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I hear the 90s as more of a gradual build that results in Magnification, as opposed to it being an anomoly in that period. I definitely don't regard their 90s work as garbage, for me it's as good a return to form as I feel we could have expected (maybe even going back to include ABWH & Union, which had their own sort of restorative elements).

                    I haven't really been keen on the newer material and I'm a 90s defender, so I actually appreciate hearing the opposite perspective. I'm trying to appreciate these new albums so it helps to know someone prefers them to material I tend to defend, if that makes any sense at all.

                    I think it's fair to say that it's a struggle to fully understand the relationships in the bands we love. The personnel themselves have their own perceptions and mis-perceptions of it all themselves, so how could we ever know?

                    Sometimes I do wonder if they were reasonably close to working it out and resolving their splintered relationships, or if maybe the opposite were true and we don't know the half of the interpersonal suffering or abuse that went on. As a Floyd fan, a Beatles fan, a Yes fan, Van Halen fan, Kiss fan, Fleetwood Mac ... list goes on of course, and that's just top-of-my-head bands I dig. It's a people thing, marriages don't last, people quit jobs, there is such a thing as former friends.

                    The idealist in me likes speculating that maybe there was missed opportunity / maybe things could have been worked out. The realist side of me doesn't envy the difficult decision of dissolving such relationships that mean so much to so many, and so I'm in support of the boundary setting & healthy workplace side of things. You know, you just look at Alex and Geddy and you wonder why these other guys can't or won't ensure the health of their band relationships.

                    But the soap opera of it all is really part of the experience of the artist, to me. I do like to wonder about it and chat it up with you folks for sure.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Dantalion Rides Again View Post

                      But the soap opera of it all is really part of the experience of the artist, to me. I do like to wonder about it and chat it up with you folks for sure.

                      "Our Reason To Be Here"

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Dantalion Rides Again View Post
                        You know, you just look at Alex and Geddy and you wonder why these other guys can't or won't ensure the health of their band relationships.
                        So many reasons! But ego is certainly a big factor. Plus, those two grew up together and have always led with their regard for each other, so to speak. Like, that was the most important thing. Whereas in a lot of bands, even with people who are related and/or grew up together, other things are more important to them and so therefore the foundation will crack eventually.
                        Rabin-esque
                        my labor of love (and obsessive research)
                        rabinesque.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Dantalion Rides Again View Post
                          You know, you just look at Alex and Geddy and you wonder why these other guys can't or won't ensure the health of their band relationships.
                          I think almost every human being has a current or former spouse, lover, friend, or relative who they would not want to spend large chunks of the year traveling with (touring) and working on collaborative projects with (new albums) on an indefinite basis, every year, rinse and repeat.

                          In a way, that can be amplified by band members not necessarily having a lot in common to begin with and not (Typically) having having the intimate relationship of a lover or a spouse. Instead of becoming friends over time due to some sort of similarity of interests or complementarity of personality, bands often add new members after hearing a single try-out that came about because someone answered an ad in a newspaper or the record label recommended them. And, of course, generally bandmates don't have a sexual history with each other and the possibility of sexual healing or makeup sex to sort of help them reconcile or help a reconciliation stick. There are no vows involved or the welfare of children to consider.

                          In a way, what surprises me is not that some bands can't keep the same lineup together for 30, 40, or 50 years or more, but that there are some bands that can.

                          In any event, Yes is one of those bands that has never really been defined as a certain group of members and only those members anyway. They switched guitarists after their second album, keyboardists after their third album, and drummers after their fifth album- which meant the majority of the band had turned over in the three years since their first album came out. Then they switched keyboardists again after their sixth album and a third time after their seventh album (Admittedly, that was the first returning member of the band after having previously been ousted, but it's still a lineup change).

                          After their ninth album, they switched lead singers and keyboardists, the latter for the fourth time (With three actual keyboardists involved). After their 10th album, they switched lead singers, lead guitarists, and keyboardists (Admittedly, the switch in lead singers and keyboardists brought back people who'd previously been in and then left the band).

                          I could go on through all 21 albums (By my count), but I think we've established that Yes was never about 5 guys in particular (I think the band has had around 20 members over the years). It always took the football franchise approach where the roster changes gradually over time, but it's still your favorite team. Frankly, I strongly prefer that to situations where a band is considered to only be one possible lineup, because the one lineup bands go away at some point and never return, whereas the franchise bands might continue to produce new music for many decades exceeding the lifespans of the original members, at least in theory. Frankly, shaking up a lineup by someone leaving a band can sometimes make the next album better by adding not only a fresh musical voice (Either literally, as in a vocalist, or figuratively, as in a style of playing an instrument), but also by creating all sorts of new combinations in the collaborations between the new person (or people) and the legacy members.

                          I also feel that attempts to kind of create a classic lineup for Yes are somewhat artificial. A lot of people use the Keys to Ascension lineup as a template, but that lineup had to that point actually only appeared on three studio albums together as a fivesome- Tales from the Topographic Oceans, Going for the One, andTormato. The idea that they were "the classic lineup" is sort of mixture of fan creation and marketing.

                          I think the Yes lineup with the longest consecutive streak of years together is actually the current lineup of Howe, White, Downes, Davison, and Sherwood, if you don't count the addition of touring drummers to supplement White as lineup changes. The "YesWest" lineup of Anderson, Squire, Rabin, Kaye, and White has them beat if you count the Union-era with eight people on stage in the calculations because those five were all on stage, despite having three other band members during that spell and a cast of thousands for the studio album.
                          Last edited by downbyariver; 04-24-2022, 05:45 PM.
                          "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by downbyariver View Post
                            ... I also feel that attempts to kind of create a classic lineup for Yes are somewhat artificial. A lot of people use the Keys to Ascension lineup as a template, but that lineup had to that point actually only appeared on two studio albums together as a fivesome- Tales from the Topographic Oceans and Tormato. The idea that they were "the classic lineup" is sort of mixture of fan creation and marketing.
                            .
                            You forgot about GFTO. Had a few good songs on it.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Read the whole DBAR. Can't get the image of Jon and Chris havin' make-up sex before recordin' 90125. Don't ask who is top or who is bottom.

                              Comment

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