The Story So Far…
The story really begins during the Union tour of the 8-piece Yes line-up, where Rick and Trevor first performed together on stage. Not only did they strike up a great musical relationship, but also a friendship and mutual respect which is just as strong today.
After 82 shows around the world with the Union line-up, the then management decided that Rick, Bill Bruford and Steve Howe were superfluous to needs and so went their separate ways. Rick tipped off that this was going to happen right at the beginning of the tour and has since said that although he was saddened that it didn’t continue, he and Trevor vowed back then that they would one day work together again performing Yes music.
Fast forward to 2008, when serious health problems laid Jon low, making him unable to continue with Yes, who decided to continue touring without him. As a result, Rick refused to tour with them, stating at the time that for him, there could not be a Yes without Jon’s voice and magical input.
As Jon fought his way back to full health, he and Rick collaborated on a highly acclaimed album entitled ‘The Living Tree’ and indeed did three tours as a duo: two in the UK and one in the USA and Canada.
Throughout this period, they discussed where they wanted to go next and were both in agreement that the next stage would be a band playing Yes music with Trevor Rabin as the third crucial member. Indeed, Jon discussed this with Trevor, who was extremely keen and flew to England for a meeting with Rick in 2013.
The only stumbling block seemed to be their individual ludicrously busy schedules. Trevor was snowed under with film scores and other projects. Jon was a busy as ever with his solo concerts and collaborations, both recording and live performances, and Rick had concerts lined up of his epics Journey to the Centre of the Earth and King Arthur, along with loads of television work and concerts abroad. The turning point came with the death of Chris Squire, which hit all who had been involved with Yes in their lives extremely hard. For Rick, Trevor and Jon, they have since said it was a wake-up call that they were not immortal and if their joint dream was to happen, it had to happen now and so they cleared their diaries in order to concentrate on a truly exciting musical adventure.
On formation in 2016, the band simply called itself ARW (Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman), but following the acclaim from their worldwide tour, An Evening of Yes Music and More, and the news that Yes was to be inducted into the 2017 Rock and Pop Hall of Fame on 7th April 2017, it was decided to change the name to Yes, featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman.
As Jon explained at the time, “It’s very simple. The fans want it, we want it and it’s our right to use the name. Yes music is in our DNA!”
However, Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman is truly a 5-piece band. It’s two other members, Lou Molino III and Lee Pomeroy (and Iain Hornal, who stood in for Lee on the band’s Japanese tour and latest European tour) are musicians of the highest calibre. Rick has been quoted as saying that out of all the Yes line-ups he has known, this one goes straight to the top of the list for both musicianship and ambition.
The band has become a great musical family. Camaraderie and laughter abound during rehearsals and were evident when the trio made their first public appearance together at the 2016 Progressive Rock Awards in London. The fact that Trevor secretly flew in from Los Angeles to surprise Jon and help him celebrate when the vocalist received the prestigious Prog God Award is testimony to the strong relationship that guys have built up.
A well as the European and US tours in 2018, fans can expect a unique ‘back to their roots’ concert at Los Angeles’ Whisky a Go Go, a live DVD/CD/LP recorded at the UK’s Manchester Apollo in 2017 and some long-awaited new music. As they celebrate Yes’ 50th Anniversary, the band’s passion, enthusiasm and enjoyment for both their musical legacy and their future show no sign of abating. This band is, quite simply, QUINTESSENTIAL YES.