There's nothing quite so admirable as a group that not only survives, but thrives. So credit Yes with the wherewithal to continue building its brand some 45 years after it first formed.
Indeed, Yes' progressive profile remains as prominent as ever. Its new album, Heaven & Earth, deserves placement alongside Fragile, Close to the Edge, and any of the other releases that not only followed, but are still performed in their entirety as part of its current concert repertoire.
Even the loss of former frontman Jon Anderson hasn't weakened the band's resolve. His successor, Jon Davison, not only sings with the same choirboy precision, but even boasts a similar name.
As for veteran Yes-men, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, and Geoffrey Downes, they continue to retain their knack for complex composition. Evidence of that can still be found in songs off the new album like "Believe Again, "The Game," and "Step Beyond." All of these provide further examples of the band's ability to blend lush ballads with anthemic ambition.
That doesn't mean Yes hasn't suffered setbacks over the years. A near constant shift in personnel has led to breakups and confusion as far as who can claim rights to the name. Happily though, the current incarnation seems to have found some stability, even going so far as to create its own seagoing festival, aptly dubbed the Cruise to the Edge.
"When you mention the idea of a cruise, it can have very different connotations," keyboardist Downes told us prior to the last high seas outing in April. "You get the idea of a retired couple going around the world. There were certain concerns that it might be perceived that way, but ultimately everybody felt it was a novel idea, so we gave it a try." Happily, Yes continues to retain its positive perspective.
Yes. 8 p.m., Friday, August 1, at Hard Rock Live, One Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $39 to $59 plus fees. Call 954-797-5531, or visit hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com.
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