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What if Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn never got reinvolved?

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    What if Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn never got reinvolved?

    In 2011, I was thrilled to hear that Geoff Downes would be rejoining Yes, as I was a huge fan of Drama- a follow up sounded ideal. The Fly From Here album turned out to be a resounding success to me and I am very happy it happened. Of course since then we have also had From a Page which gave us a good idea of what an album without the Buggles intervention could have been.

    David, Howe, Squire, White and Wakeman were working on an album from 2009 onwards and the following songs would likely have made the album that would have been released:

    To the Moment
    Words on a Page
    Hour of Need
    The Man you Always Wanted me to Be
    From the Turn of a Card
    Solitaire
    Don't Take no for an Answer
    The Gift of Love
    Into the Storm

    What would you have made of such a release had that come out instead of Fly From Here- would you have enjoyed it more or less than what happened?
    Last edited by soundchaser09; 06-05-2022, 04:03 AM.
    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-

    #2
    I would have enjoyed it less. I think the FFH suite is the best thing they recorded since probably The Ladder, with the exception of In the Presence Of.

    Apart from the one album I don't think had te return of Downes, and to a lesser extent Horn, not happened it would have significantly changed the course of Yes history. Benoit David still would not have been able to deal with the rigours of touring. We still would have gotten Jon Davison in his place, Chris would unfortunately still have passed away in 2015 etc. etc. We probably would have gotten slightly different versions of H&E and The Quest, but that's about it.

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      #3
      If Horn and then Downes didn't come back for FFH, Oliver Wakeman would have had a longer tenure with the band. Not to say he would necessarily be around today given the turnover of keyboardists over the years. He could handle the material from all eras well plus he's about 20 year younger than Downes who turns 70 in August. Depending when he would have left, Brislin may have been still available.

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        #4
        In an ideal world - and with hindsight - I would have liked a full album including Benoit & Oliver (with the songs listed above) plus a full album with Horn & Downes (Fly From Here with more new or reworked material), with no crossover. But I have no complaints with the music as it was released, I enjoy it all. Saw them play twice in November 2009 and they were great, Oliver was a really good fit in many ways, and Benoit was singing well at the time - that lineup had a lot of potential as a touring band.

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          #5
          I liked that band a lot, but looking back both Benoit and Oliver occasionally struggled with live playing. It just occurred to me now that with Alan's sad passing, not only is Steve the last remaining classic member, he's also the last remaining 2008-2011 member.

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            #6
            I'd have been much happier.

            We wouldn't have had Fly From Here, we'd have had From A Page plus the last third of FFH, which imho would have been massively preferable. We'd also have had a keyboard player who could play the back catalogue.

            Much better.

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              #7
              Originally posted by RelayerI View Post
              I'd have been much happier.

              We wouldn't have had Fly From Here, we'd have had From A Page plus the last third of FFH, which imho would have been massively preferable. We'd also have had a keyboard player who could play the back catalogue.

              Much better.
              As in "now we have a keyboard player who can't play the back catalogue "?

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                #8
                Originally posted by Mr. Holland View Post

                As in "now we have a keyboard player who can't play the back catalogue "?
                I totally agree with Relayer1.I've seen numerous concerts where Downes butchered such classics like Close to the Edge.Heart of the Sunrise and Awaken just to name a few

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by roundabout View Post

                  I totally agree with Relayer1.I've seen numerous concerts where Downes butchered such classics like Close to the Edge.Heart of the Sunrise and Awaken just to name a few
                  This.

                  As I've said before - I like Geoff in Asia and The Buggles. He's a top flight player, but just falls short with Yes. Yes is a demanding position.

                  When he joined I saw an improvement in presentation (Oliver was a bit shy) and a drop in the actual accuracy of the keyboard parts.

                  I'd REALLY like Oliver back.

                  Or Tom, or even Igor.

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                    #10
                    I was disappointed by the replacement of Oliver with Downes. Given a little time I think Oliver's contribution to the band in its late middle-age could have been significant, and he possesses the technical capability to execute the 1970s pieces with aplomb, a facilty which Downes patently lacks.
                    Irrespective of albums from 2011 onwards, my preference, unequivocally, would have been not to have Downes in the band, and for Horn not to have been involved in the studio.
                    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.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Ash Armstrong View Post
                      I was disappointed by the replacement of Oliver with Downes. Given a little time I think Oliver's contribution to the band in its late middle-age could have been significant, and he possesses the technical capability to execute the 1970s pieces with aplomb, a facilty which Downes patently lacks.
                      Irrespective of albums from 2011 onwards, my preference, unequivocally, would have been not to have Downes in the band, and for Horn not to have been involved in the studio.
                      Amen.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by RelayerI View Post

                        When he joined I saw an improvement in presentation (Oliver was a bit shy) and a drop in the actual accuracy of the keyboard parts.
                        That's a good way of putting it. Oliver can play the fancy bits, but at the shows I saw, he was very tentative onstage, occasionally making mistakes and on one song (can't remember which,) momentarily forgetting it was time for him to play.

                        Geoff nails some solos and ​​​​​bluffs his way through others. Sometimes he plays ahead of the beat, maybe because of the slower tempos on some songs. On fast songs, or when the band is playing faster, he fits in seamlessly. He also did a great job with the Tales material.

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                          #13
                          If Horn and Downes didn't get involved, there could have been a change of events in ways that are seemingly not directly connected. For example, without Horn and Downes, could there have been opportunities along the way that might have reunited Jon and possibly Rick with the band?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by RelayerI View Post
                            I'd have been much happier.

                            We wouldn't have had Fly From Here, we'd have had From A Page plus the last third of FFH, which imho would have been massively preferable. We'd also have had a keyboard player who could play the back catalogue.

                            Much better.
                            Wholeheartedly agree: while I don't *mind* the FFH suite, I'm underwhelmed by it, and it feels like it was artificially padded and stretched out for the sake of keeping Trevor Horn on board, as was the inclusion of "Live on a Film Set"; to me there's more than whiff of "Jazz Odyssey" to FFH (don't @ me), and while it's ok as a single song, or a pair on a Buggles album, it just can't sustain its own weight as a side-long suite. As this was the first Yes album in a decade, that the band could barely scrabble a handful of songs together didn't bode well. Having said that, the songs they *did* produce, I like a lot: I know "The Man…" and "Hour of Need" aren't amongst a lot of people's favourites, but I really like them, and those two plus "Into the Storm" are a very strong triad in my book…

                            In retrospect, with the From a Page release, it's clear they had more material in some stage of development, which they chose to drop as Oliver was pushed out — fair enough, at least, to let him take the songs. Side two of FFH plus From a Page is a great foundation for an album, and would have been even better if it had launched a more aggressive writing and recording schedule to capitalize on it.

                            Could Benoit and Oliver have grown into stronger live performers? Sure. I've only seen Geoff live once, on the (to me very underwhelming) Yestival tour, and my sense from that and the many live albums since then is that he sometimes just sounds rushed (sadly not Rushed, which would be awesome), like on the intro to "Awaken" on Yes50, it's like he can't wait for it to be over. Oliver's playing on Lyon strikes me as very strong, and engaged with a wide range of material. Benoit too.

                            But every member of a band is going to have their own personal favourites, songs they're more in tune with or not, and will have varying degrees of personal engagement with that. The trick is for the bandleader, or whoever's putting together the setlists, to grok that, and for the band to come to their own understanding and acknowledgment of what those songs are, and where they just may have to play some parts they're less interested in. No one it seems wants to play any of the YesWest material (as there's no one from that era in the band now, well, it's still a missed opportunity to acknowledge more of Yes' history, but ok).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Downes was wanted by Horn and gets on well with Howe. Brothers in Arms. Team chemistry is important. They get on. FFH is brilliant. The suite is engrossin'. The second side again strong songs.

                              From a Page has TTM but the rest doesn't grab me much. Think Downes provides smarter hooks and texture. Songwritin'. Swag. Enjoyed his Gates in 2019. Can do fast and shrill keys.

                              Quite happy how the ship keeps sailin'. TQ was wonderful. Dean has even rejuvenated himself. Esp. With Live in Las Vegas. Now if they can squeeze a few dates down under.

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