Yes men: After winding road, classic rock band plays Bluestem
MOORHEAD—In the realm of progressive rock, few acts have had the impact of Yes.
Since making its debut in 1969, the group has scored radio hits still heard today, like "I've Seen All Good People," "Roundabout," "Long Distance Runaround," "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and more.
The English act brings its own brand of epic classic rock to Bluestem Amphitheater tonight. While there's no new record to promote, the group has more than enough music to choose from with 21 studio albums to its name and almost as many—17—live collections.
If you think keeping track of all of the Yes recordings is a daunting task, try keeping track of the always-revolving lineup.
When the quintet made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this April, eight different members were inducted; founding bassist Chris Squire, singer Jon Anderson, keyboardist Tony Kaye and and drummer Bill Bruford, a well as replacement guitarists Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and drummer Alan White. Three current members and eight other former members were not inducted.
Over the years players have come and gone and come back to the band. Founding bassist Chris Squire was the only member to play on every studio album and every live show, though he even quit the band once. Squire died of leukemia in 2015.
The official Yes lineup now features longtime guitarist Steve Howe (1970 - '81, '90 - '92 and '95 - present); drummer Alan White ('72 - present); keyboardist Geoff Downes ('80 - '81 and 2011 - present); singer Jon Davison ('12 - present) and bassist Billy Sherwood ('97 - '00 and '15 - present).
Capitalizing on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, an unofficial version of the group, called Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakemen hit the road earlier this year and played Treasure Island Resort and Casino Friday night, southeast of Minneapolis.
In keeping with the five-piece, here are five things you may not know about Yes.
1. Founding guitarist Peter Banks left the group after recording the second album in 1970, but before it was released or even the album artwork was finished. Howe was brought in as a replacement before a promo photo was taken and is pictured in the album jacket, though he never played a note on the disc.
2. When singer Anderson and Wakeman left the band in 1980, Squire brought in unlikely replacements for the album, "Drama"—singer-bassist Trevor Horn and keyboardist Downes, better known as the new wave group The Buggles. The duo found infamy when their hit, "Video Killed the Radio Star," was the first video played on MTV, Aug. 1, 1981.
3. The group's best-selling album almost wasn't a Yes album. After the group disbanded in 1981, Squire and White joined up with Rabin—not yet in the group—in a project called Cinema. Former member Kaye was also involved and eventually ex-Yes frontman Anderson was brought in to sing. With four of the five players being once members of Yes, record company executives suggested the group use the established name Yes instead of Cinema. Rabin objected, not wanting to be part of a reformed band, but eventually capitulated. The resulting album, "90125," would sell more than 3 million copies and and spawn the group's only no. 1 single, "Owner of a Lonely Heart."
4. While the group is known for its elaborate structures and epic length—1973's double album, "Tales from Topographic Oceans," consists of one song per each side, all of which at least 18 minutes long—the only Grammy Award it earned was for the "90125" instrumental, "Cinema," which clocked in at just over 2 minutes.
5. In 1988, Anderson formed a side project with previous members of Yes, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe while Yes carried on as Squire, Rabin, Kaye and White. Neither lineup was happy with where they were going, so they joined forces as Yes with all eight players contributing to the album, "Union." While the tour was successful, the collaborative effort has since been dismissed by the band with Wakeman referring to the album as "Onion," because it made him cry.
If You Go
What: Yes, with opener Todd Rundgren
When: 7, tonight
Where: Bluestem Amphitheater, 801 50th Ave., S., Moorhead
Info: Tickets range from $35 to $85, https://jadepresents.com, (866) 300-8300.