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    ABWH and Julian Colbeck

    I stumbled across this article by Julian Colbeck going into a lot of detail regarding his role in the ABWH tour. Absolutely fascinating even though much of the tech talk is over my head.



    What is clear from this is that there is no way that all the parts and sounds could be handled by Wakeman alone in 1989. A bit disillusioning to my romantic notion of what a concert should be, but I guess that is they way things are.

    Interestingly a lot has been made over the years about the not so secret backstage ​​​or under the stage keyboard player during the YesWest era. What did he do? I’ve seen suggestions ranging from triggering a sample here and there all the way to playing the primary role. Based on Colbeck’s article I’m guessing the truth was likely somewhere in between during the YesWest era.

    I wonder has the tech progressed today to the point that say Geoff Downes doesn’t need a man behind the curtain to pull off all the parts?


    #2
    I can well imagine Downes needing someone to help him pull off his parts.

    I believe Wakeman had someone playing backstage on the 2003 Full Circle tour, so conceivably also on the 2004 35th Anniversary tour as well.
    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


      #3
      You know, I'm fine if a band needs an extra player or two. The Talk tour from Yes had Billy Sherwood onstage. ABWH had Colbeck and MacDonald playing additional keyboards and guitar onstage, as well as contributing backing vocals.

      I'm reminded of The Analogues, a band that faithfully recreates the studio versions of Beatles songs, right down to the handclaps. Live. There's usually a core of SIX of them, plus up to several others depending on the song (strings, brass, woodwinds, harp, even a guest lead vocalist). It doesn't matter to them if they need additional musicians because it's the MUSIC that's important, not the visual of a handful of musicians being able to pull off the whole kaboodle.

      Whether it's a fiddle player, a saxophonist, a third hand on the piano, they just do it. Whatever it takes.

      If Yes needed some backing vocalists, I'm fine with that. A second keyboardist or guitarist, or a percussionist? Fine.





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        #4
        I am fine with that kind of thing too, but prefer the players to be on stage and visible. Ideally, they are introduced to the audience. The Analogues are amazing, btw.

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          #5
          I agree, as well. Very happy for any extra people to take part, but I would really like to be able to see them. Observing how the music is being completed live would be quite interesting. I think I'd prefer this over playing together with recorded music to achieve the effect (though I'm okay with that, too - especially since it's cheaper than using additional musicians).

          Comment


            #6
            It's a shame ABWH never introduced the two extra musicians to the crowd during the shows. I always thought it was a lack of class on their part.

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              #7
              Originally posted by michelforest View Post
              It's a shame ABWH never introduced the two extra musicians to the crowd during the shows. I always thought it was a lack of class on their part.
              I saw the ABWH show when it came to L.A. Yeah, I don't recall them introducing their additional touring musicians. Major oversight. I wonder whose responsible for that; My first inclination is that it was Steve, although it wouldn't have taken 30 seconds for Jon to introduce them even over Steve's objections to it, so it had to be a Jon thing, yes?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by michelforest View Post
                It's a shame ABWH never introduced the two extra musicians to the crowd during the shows. I always thought it was a lack of class on their part.
                Was Levin or Berlin formerly introduced?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by pianozach View Post

                  I saw the ABWH show when it came to L.A. Yeah, I don't recall them introducing their additional touring musicians. Major oversight. I wonder whose responsible for that; My first inclination is that it was Steve, although it wouldn't have taken 30 seconds for Jon to introduce them even over Steve's objections to it, so it had to be a Jon thing, yes?
                  Jon or management, maybe? Looking at ARW, the rhythm section was treated similarly on the live album at least. Bass is mixed way down, and the bass solo in The Fish was edited out. Big let down for me since that was such a great part of the show my wife and I saw. That made her cry, and it was the emotional climax of the show and a beautiful (and well played) tribute to Squire. The bass solo being chopped ruins the live album more than the fake crowd noise for me. At least I made a good bootleg of the show I saw. I digress… anyway, I don’t think we can blame Steve, exclusively anyway, for treating the extra players as “lesser beings”.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Chrisklenox View Post
                    I am fine with that kind of thing too, but prefer the players to be on stage and visible. Ideally, they are introduced to the audience.
                    Exactly. I have no issue with a band needing extra people to do good live versions of studio songs, but I want to see everyone who's playing rather than hiding them below or behind the stage, and I'd rather have real people be present to supplement the core band members (of whatever band) rather than recordings of people. You know, on a studio album everything is fair game as long as everyone is credited, but live I am paying to see and hear people recreate the music in front of me, not to play the equivalent of a CD at me as they only perform a limited part on stage or aren't really playing at all. Not saying any of our favorite bands do that, but it's definitely a thing that some music acts do. A concert isn't in an ideal world just a celebrity gawking session or a crowd all listening to the same prerecorded music at the same time, it's the magic of people performing music in front of you. And there's no shame in needing a few session players to recreate a great sound.
                    Last edited by downbyariver; 01-10-2023, 08:56 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


                      #11
                      Originally posted by pianozach View Post

                      I saw the ABWH show when it came to L.A. Yeah, I don't recall them introducing their additional touring musicians. Major oversight. I wonder whose responsible for that; My first inclination is that it was Steve, although it wouldn't have taken 30 seconds for Jon to introduce them even over Steve's objections to it, so it had to be a Jon thing, yes?
                      Perhaps not... I remember when they came to Montreal, and Anderson did an interview in the local rock station there the day of the concert, he talked about the additional guys touring with them very enthusiastically. He really seemed to want to underscore that it was a truly live performance. I went to that concert with a couple of people that weren't really familiar with Yes. They were both blown away.
                      Last edited by rePete; 01-10-2023, 10:03 PM.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by pianozach View Post

                        I saw the ABWH show when it came to L.A. Yeah, I don't recall them introducing their additional touring musicians. Major oversight. I wonder whose responsible for that; My first inclination is that it was Steve, although it wouldn't have taken 30 seconds for Jon to introduce them even over Steve's objections to it, so it had to be a Jon thing, yes?
                        They were in the tour programme and visible on stage,
                        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


                          #13
                          Originally posted by pianozach View Post

                          I saw the ABWH show when it came to L.A. Yeah, I don't recall them introducing their additional touring musicians. Major oversight. I wonder whose responsible for that; My first inclination is that it was Steve, although it wouldn't have taken 30 seconds for Jon to introduce them even over Steve's objections to it, so it had to be a Jon thing, yes?
                          Perhaps they preferred it that way, not being spotlit for the crowd? They may have been asked if they wished to be introduced, and declined. They may have said from the off they rather stay in the background, doing the job and focusing on doing it well, which they did. We don't know.
                          So choosing to believe something, and then calling that the truth? 'It had to be a Jon thing'? Making it into 'a thing' so as to do the finger-pointing? Poor.

                          ​​​​​​​Levin, MacDonald and Colbeck all get a bio and photo in the tour programme, so to imply they're not acknowledged, or slighted, is incorrect.
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by WindOfChange View Post
                            Interestingly a lot has been made over the years about the not so secret backstage ​​​or under the stage keyboard player during the YesWest era. What did he do? I’ve seen suggestions ranging from triggering a sample here and there all the way to playing the primary role. Based on Colbeck’s article I’m guessing the truth was likely somewhere in between during the YesWest era.
                            Casey Young was his name. He's discussed his role at some length. Kaye was absolutely the main keyboardist, but Young was playing additional lines, as required by YesWest's heavily overdubbed music. The initial plan had been for him to be on stage.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Milton McDonald went on to a very successful session career. He plays on lots of the Spice Girls' catalogue.

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