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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Former Yes Man Jon Anderson Gets Close to the Edge...and the Audience

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Photo by Deborah Anderson
Classic-rock fans might not see the connection between intricate, musically adventurous progressive rock and all-you-can-eat shrimp and shuffleboard tournaments. But increasingly, fans of this genre -- or Southern rock, or blues, or country, and even Rick Springfield or KISS -- have gathered on the high seas, on cruise ships packed with hardcore fans enjoying concerts, Q&A sessions, workshops and...shrimp.
This month, Jon Anderson -- the legendary former lead singer of Yes -- will embark on the "Progressive Nation at Sea" jaunt, while his former bandmates headline "Cruise to the Edge" in April. Anderson, who plays an intimate and career-spanning show at Dosey Doethis coming Monday, has done a couple of these events and grown to like them, despite his initial reservations.
"It ends up being a good time for me and my wife," he says in a high voice that lends credence to the fact that he does not sing in falsetto. "And this time, we've got a balconyand a patio. And we won't eat too much!"
On this adventure, Anderson will do a solo show, take part in a Q&A with fans, and sit in with Mike Portnoy's prog group Transatlantic. As to the wisdom of being in a confined area at sea with some of his most rabid fans, Anderson says he always uses a little Star Wars approach to not being mobbed.
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Fotex/The Daily Mail
Yes in the satined '70s: Alan White, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Chris Squire, and Jon Anderson
"I usually do the Obi-Wan Kenobi thing," he says. "Just go through areas with groups and say 'we can pass.'"
Anderson's current tour mixes Yes' classic rock warhorse tunes (of course), solo material, collaborations with other artists like Vangelis, and a seemingly unstoppable flow of new music. It's a lower-key affair that the stadium and amphitheater locations he used to play with Yes.
It's the direct result of a journey he began about six years ago after recovering from the vocal difficulties that began in 2004 and saw the cancellation of a 2008 Yes tour. It led to the group he co-founded jettisoning him rather than wait any longer for his recovery.
He was replaced with Benoit David, the very Anderson-sounding lead vocalist of a Yes tribute band (their current lead singer is Jon Davison).

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