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Friday, 11 July 2014

Last Best Show: Yes at the Pavilion



The debate has raged on since 2008, when illness and other issues got Jon Anderson booted from Yes, the band he cofounded 40 years earlier: Is this really Yes without its iconic singer at the helm?

Some adamantly say no. Would the Stones be the Stones without Jagger? Would Roxy Music be Roxy Music without Bryan Ferry?

Others resoundingly say yes, citing the continued participation of longtime members Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White.

Sure, we all would have loved to have seen Yes when spiritual leader Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, Howe and Squire were making some of the greatest progressive rock music of all time. And we would have loved to have seen the Stones with Brian Jones and Roxy Music with Brian Eno.

Let's all agree that we should rejoice that one of rock's finest bands is still on the road, performing music that has meant a great deal to a lot of people. Let's judge the current edition of Yes on its own merits rather than dwell on what-if scenarios.

And judging from Tuesday night's fine two-hour show at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, this version of Yes, which has a new album, "Heaven and Earth," coming out July 22, can more than stand on its own.

First off, Anderson's successor Jon Davison can flat out sing. His alto tenor is remarkably Anderson-like, but he's no mere imitator, bringing his own energy and personality to the show. The diminutive Davison's stage persona recalls Black Crowes' Chris Robinson, twirling and twisting his way around the stage, banging on a tambourine, getting lost in the performance.

Davison was born in 1971, the same year Yes released its groundbreaking album "Fragile," which was performed in its entirety last night. His vocals during crowd favorites "Roundabout" and "Long Distance Runaround" were strong and assured.


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Rock Of The 70's
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The Lost Broadcasts
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