Prog-rock legends Yes are back on tour later this year, touring their 20th studio album, Fly From Here, and have survived numerous line-up changes and many shifts in music trends. More recently, they replaced lead singer Jon Anderson, who had been one of the stalwarts of an ever-shifting membership (missing only 1980’s Drama album prior to this) with Benoît David. Can they still cut it, more than 40 years since they started out?
Fly From Here, which came out earlier this year, was their first album in 11 years and saw the return of Trevor Horn as producer. The challenge of making it sound like a Yes album with David on vocals was an obvious one, but given his background in a Yes tribute band and his vocal similarity to Anderson, it’s one that they overcome pretty well. Yes are hardly the first band to replace a frontman with a younger soundalike, but it will be interesting to see how well the new material fits in with the older stuff on the tour.
They’ll be playing at the Apollo in Manchester on Sunday 13th November, so that will be a good test of whether their fanbase are as enthusiastic about the latest line-up (which also sees Geoff Downes return on keyboards). It won’t be David’s first show in Manchester as lead singer, as they played here in 2009 just after he was made an ‘official’ member of the band, but Anderson has toured the UK since then, so we’ll see. Certainly I’m looking forward to hearing the new material, because I think it’s a really good album.