DATE: SEPTEMBER 9, 2016
FROM: BARI LIEBERMAN/MITCH SCHNEIDER-MSO PR
Copyright Roger Dean c.2016
2016 SUMMER TOUR
“THE ALBUM SERIES”
TO CRITICAL PRAISE
Photo Credit: Glenn Gottlieb
This past Sunday night (9/4), YES officially wrapped its 28-date U.S. summer tour in San Diego, CA. Billed as “The Album Series: Drama + Topographic 1 &4,” the “Evening With Yes” shows–featuring the 1980 album DRAMA performed in its entirety, sides one and four of 1973’s double album TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS as well as selections of the band’s greatest hits–traveled across the country receiving critical praise throughout its run. Of the Tales portion of the show, Chicago Tribune Community Contributor Raymond Britt raved, “The pieces were nothing short of a tour de force of musical ambition, complexity and remarkable synchronicity. It sounded outstanding.” Britt also added, “This version of Yes seems to play at a higher level, a more powerful level, like they’ve been together a decade or more. These guys are on no nostalgia tour. They play it like they mean business, with little intention of slowing down” (8/31/16). See below for additional critical feedback.
Visually, YES stepped up the production on this summer’s outing courtesy of video designer Andy Clark and lighting designer Don Weeks with multiple video feeds featuring Roger Dean imagery, from waterfalls and floating islands to topographic landscapes, bioluminescence, deep sea creatures, jellyfish, and marine life. The stunning visual experience–which Chris Loomis from SoCal Music Today noted, “With a large LED background that displayed colorful graphics as well as the occasional YES logo, the band delivered over 2 ½ hours of classic music that had attendees picking their jaws up off the floor” (8/28/16)–is capped by pyrotechnics at the climax to the “Ritual” crescendo.
Photo Credit: Glenn Gottlieb
Drummer Alan White, who had to sit out the tour due to back surgery, is looking forward to re-joining his YES bandmates Steve Howe (guitar), Jon Davison (vocals), Billy Sherwood (bass) and Geoff Downes (keyboard) in November on their Japan tour and thanks good friend Jay Schellen for stepping in behind the kit all summer.
Here’s what the critics had to say about YES’ 2016 summer tour:
“Where those album recitals proved the present Yes equal to mighty acts of reanimation, the band’s approach to canonical hits was equally commanding. ‘I’ve Seen All Good People’ and ‘Siberian Khatru’ closed the first set, ‘And You and I’ opened the second, and inevitably ‘Roundabout’ and ‘Starship Trooper’ arrived in the encore; this vital, hungry combo – not least a visibly animated [Steve] Howe – played it all with infectious gusto. Finding enduring fire even in thrice-familiar fare: it’s this, more than which players turn up or what songs they pick, that will ensure Yes’s staying power.”
-Steven Smith, Boston Globe (8/5/16).
“The set list was absolute perfection and all every Yes fan could have dreamed of.”
-Kim Allegrezza, AXS.com (9/2/16)
“The musicianship demonstrated by every version of Yes regardless of members is the stuff of lore – its off-the-charts fantastic, and the crowd cheered every solo or moment of intricate music. The band encored with its signature tune, ‘Roundabout,’ from 1971, followed by an astounding ‘Starship Trooper,’ whose incredible building crescendo culminating in ferocious bombast is something all rock and prog rock fans should experience in concert.”
-Steve Smith, L.A. Daily News (9/2/16)
“Quintessential rock and roll pioneers YES descended from their London based headspace and gave The Mountain Winery of Saratoga, CA a theatrical spectacle to remember…The LED panels center stage and along the keyboard and drum risers featured close up and expanded imagery from the album artwork; just one of the many incredible sights on stage worth getting lost in.”
-Joshua Huver, Gratefulweb.com (9/5/16)
“What stood out to me throughout the opening set was the cohesiveness of the latest incarnation of this band. It would stand to reason that the complexity of these songs might be challenging to some of the newer band members – especially Davison and Schellen. However, their performances were nothing short of amazing and ultimately delivered a near-flawless performance…Davison’s vocals were masterful and Howe’s sheer brilliance on guitar mesmerized the Yes faithful into a trance-like state that lasted up until the final chord of ‘Nous Sommes du Soleil.’ Simply breathtaking…Howe, Downes, Davison, Schellen, and Sherwood laid all of their cards on the table and pulled out all of the stops in this once-in-a-lifetime show. It was clear to everyone that what was just witnessed was a special performance.”
–Matthew Belter, Hunnypot Unlimited (8/29/16)
“Every aspect of this night was spot on and YES proved once again they are still alive and well and can deliver an above top-notch performance.”
–Chris Loomis, SoCal Music Today (8/28/16)
“YES was performing at a caliber that they hadn’t reached in years. YES guitarist Steve Howe was on fire and could often be seen smiling, as he played his guitar with emotion and energy…The show was impeccable and showcased all of the music from YES’ catalog that every fan wants to hear, as they played for near three hours.”
–Bill Twomey, Music Existence (8/26/16)
“Watching the band, in the round, navigate through the jazz fusion-esque melodies [of ‘Ritual’], was awe-inspiring.”
–Michael Lello, Highway 81 Revisited (8/9/16)
“The current lineups treatment of the [Drama] album was flawless, and in many ways superior to the original thanks to powerful vocals by Jon Davison and inspired guitar work by Steve Howe.”
–Thom Jennings, Niagara Gazette (8/4/16)
“By the time the show was over, they had left their indelible mark as they showed why they are so revered…[‘And You And I’] was clearly the highlight of the night for me as the band played it to perfection…At this stage in the bands career, instead of playing a safe hits set, they are still pushing the boundaries, something the Yes institution has done since day one and apparently will do until the band decides to call it a day. Judging from the show on Tuesday, they are far far from done.”
–Joseph Suto, Rock Show Critique (8/4/16)
“After a rousing double encore of ‘Roundabout’ and ‘Starship Trooper’ the enthusiastic crowd left happy, knowing that once again YES had undoubtedly delivered.“
–Tim Darbyshire, Progressive Music Review (8/4/16)
“The band opened with ‘Machine Messiah,’ the first track from the 1980 Drama album and didn’t take a pause until the entire thirty-six minute album was flawlessly played.”
-Greg Drugan, Neo Music Scene (7/30/16)
In other YES-related news, a set of stamps showcasing the artworks of renowned English artist and designer Roger Dean, including the cover designs for multiple YES albums, was recently released by the Isle of Man Post Office, based on the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland. Dean is internationally known for his album cover designs, posters and books, and famous for his typefaces and logos. Titled “Island & Bridges,” the stamp collection-issued August 19-depicts six images of Roger’s exotic landscape artwork, including three featured on YES album covers-Tales From Topographic Oceans, Yessongs and The Studio Albums 1969-1987 box set–along with an image inspired by the Isle of Man specially commissioned for the collection. The stamps are available to order at www.iompost.com/rogerdean
Founded in 1968 by Chris Squire and Jon Anderson, Grammy-award winning recording artists YES have created some of the most important and influential music in rock history, such as iconic pieces “Roundabout,” “Close to the Edge,” “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” “Starship Trooper,” and countless others. Its albums, including Fragile, Close to the Edge, Tales from Topographic Oceans, and 90125, have been certified multi-platinum, double-platinum, platinum, and more by the RIAA, and have sold over 50 million records total in its career that has so far spanned almost five decades. Among the world’s most influential, ground-breaking, and respected progressive rock bands, YES continues creating masterful music that inspires musicians, fans and music lovers around the world.
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