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Friday, 28 March 2014

Yes, prog rock coming to the NAC

Chris Squire of Yes

They’re a band known for forging fearlessly into the future, but progressive rock legends Yes will be delving deep into their past as their Canadian tour rolls into the National Arts Centre Sunday.

The veteran band — featuring Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes and singer Jon Davison — will dust off three of their classic albums of the Seventies, The Yes Album (1971), Close to the Edge (1972) and Going For the One (1977), to be performed in their entirety on the 10-city Canadian tour.

“It’s a different idea, because usually when we go out on the road it’s to promote a new product, and we just realized at the beginning of 2012 that we weren’t going to have a new album for a year or two, so we went ahead with this idea of doing a tribute to Yes’ work of the Seventies,” said founding bassist Chris Squire. “We looked at all the albums we had available, and we decided on these three... We thought that they complemented each other well, and we could put together a set.”

The show will begin with Close to the Edge and moves through “some rather complex pieces of music” drawn from the dense Going For the One before circling back to The Yes Album, which Squire describes as “a little more rocky and ends the set really well.”

The idea has taken the band down some of the less-travelled roads in its vast repertoire.

“Interesting enough, the song A Venture (from The Yes Album), we had never played live, ever,” said Squire. “It was a studio-contrived piece of music and for some reason or another it never got into our live show until now. So we had to learn that and get it up to the same level of playing as some of the other songs, which of course we’ve played a number of times in different sets over the years.

“But Canada’s is going to get a good, well-rehearsed show now with the music sounding good.”

Long-serving fans of the bad would expect no less.

Yes made its name delivering virtuoso performances with a level of precision and sophistication rare to the rock genre.

And when the death knell sounded for progressive rock in the late-70s — with many contemporaries disbanding or radically changing their sound to suit new pop-friendly audiences — Yes remained steadfast.

“Without sounding pretentious, there’s a certain amount of timelessness in the music that makes the band endure 40 years later, which I’d have never thought that was possible,” said Squire.

“(Audiences) are bombarded with music...


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