Where are they now? - Yes Featuring Jon
Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman
and related projects
This page last updated: 26 Oct 2020
On this page—Touring
- Live release - New
material - Rabin & Wakeman
Recently, there were two rival bands with the "Yes" name.
|Yes, sometimes called official Yes,
consists of long-time Yes members, guitarist Steve Howe
and drummer Alan White. They are joined by keyboardist
Geoff Downes (also in Asia),
who first joined Yes in 1980 and re-joined in 2011;
vocalist Jon Davison, who joined in 2012; and Billy
Sherwood, who has been working with the band sporadically
since the beginning of the '90s. Original member Tony Kaye
has also regularly guested with them.
More news about them is covered here.
|Yes featuring Anderson Rabin Wakeman,
sometimes abbreviated to YfARW or ARW, and previously just
called Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman, consisted of
long-time Yes vocalist Jon Anderson; Rick Wakeman, who has
been in and out of Yes since 1971; and Trevor Rabin,
guitarist for much of the '80s and '90s. They were joined
by Lou Molino on drums and (usually) Lee Pomeroy on bass.
The band toured 2016-8. A final tour in 2020 was mooted,
possibly back under just the ARW name, but did not occur.
The band appeared over by the end of 2019/beginning of
2020, although the possibility of a revival has been
mooted by Wakeman.
More about them is covered below.
|How did this come about?
|What is sometimes
called the 'classic' line-up of Yes—Jon Anderson, Chris
Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White and Rick Wakeman—re-formed
in late 1995. Although Wakeman left around late 1996, the
other four kept working together and Wakeman rejoined in
2002. However, there were tensions within the band,
particularly between Anderson and Squire. There have also
been recurring tensions between Anderson and Howe going
The band then went on an extended hiatus in late 2004: while Squire, Howe and White wanted to continue, Anderson called for a pause. Anderson and Wakeman embarked on work as a duo and Anderson also began working with Rabin. Yes's hiatus continued until discussions in 2007 for the band to return to activity in 2008. An agreement was reached between Anderson, Squire, Howe and White, although interpersonal relations appear to have remained strained. Wakeman opted out of plans, recommending his son Oliver Wakeman in his stead. However, Anderson was then hit by multiple significant health problems in 2008 and the tour had to be cancelled.
|The others continued without Anderson,
touring later in 2008 with a line-up of Squire, Howe,
White, O Wakeman and new vocalist Benoît David. They
initially toured as "Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan
White of Yes", but had reverted to the "Yes" name by 2009.
This band has continued to work as Yes ever since,
although O Wakeman was replaced by Downes, and David by
Jon Davison. Most recently, Chris Squire became ill with
cancer: he asked Sherwood to fill in for him during
treatment, but he then passed away.
This Yes appears to have approached both Rabin and R Wakeman since 2008 and asked them to re-join, but both refused.
|Anderson and R Wakeman were both critical
in interviews of Squire, Howe and White continuing on
without them. Anderson had some sporadic contact with
Squire about the possibility of a reunion, but nothing
came of it. Rabin remained close to Squire and guested
with Yes at the encore of a 2010 show.
Early in 2010, Anderson, Wakeman and Rabin announced they were getting together for a project that would be playing Yes material live, but which was not to be called Yes. The project moved slowly, with no substantial progress until late 2015. Squire's passing spurred the three to commit to activity. The band started touring in October 2016 as "Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman". In early 2017, they started to use the name "Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman" in adverts for European touring (see here). They formally announced the new name in April 2017.
could two bands both have rights to the name?
|There are multiple
rights at play, but key is a trademark that is co-owned by
Jon Anderson and Alan White. This allowed Anderson to call
his band "Yes featuring...", although that does not stop
the other band remaining as "Yes". There appears to have
been a stalemate between the two bands, rather than a
negotiated agreement, with tensions high. More discussion
is here. Anderson, Wakeman and Rabin
still often refered to their band as "ARW" when discussing
the band. Wakeman said they shouldn't have changed their
Oct 2019, Wakeman said a final tour (which didn't
appear) would be under the ARW name.
be a new Union, like in the early '90s?
|Both bands strongly
denied any plans for a reunion with the other. Individual
members also dismissed the idea. Rabin said he has
"personally no interest" in a reunion. Wakeman said,
"Do I ever see a rapprochement? Absolutely not." Howe
said, "it's completely off the table." However, in a Feb
2019 interview from the Cruise to the
Edge, asked what he would still like to accomplish
with Yes, White said, "Well, it will be good to, maybe,
in the future, see some kind of union tour. […] I don't
think it's totally out of the question […] we'll see what
happens." In a follow-up interview with Sherwood, told
about White's comments, Sherwood responded, "Wow... he's
the great uniter in the band, y'know. He's always wanting
that to happen." Asked about the possibility of a reunion
in a Mar
interview, White said, "I'm not going to say
definitely no. I'll say there is a possibility, but
everybody is getting up there in age now. I don't see it
as out of the question in the next few years [...] I
definitely won't say "no." It's a "maybe."" More
discussion is here.
Overview of Yes featuring
Anderson Rabin Wakeman
Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman toured in 2016-8 with a band and a set of Yes material. Some new music was recorded, but not released. The band effectively ended in 2019, although the possibility of a return has been mooted by Wakeman, and he and Rabin have also talked about just the two of them collaborating.
Rabin said to the Apr 2020 issue of Prog that the
band is now over. Asked if they have any future, Rabin replied,
"None at all[.] It is definitely over. We had a splendid time
[...] The problem is that we all live in different places around
the world, so logistically it's so hard to carry this on." He said
that he had been "working on several ideas for the proposed
[studio] album, and I know Rick had a few thoughts of his own for
it. The problem was that every time we tried to get into the
studio [...] we'd get another offer for a tour, and we enjoyed
doing these so much that the album kept being put to the back of
our minds". He also talked about the change in billing from ARW to
Yes featuring ARW, saying that he regretted this: "I totally
disagreed with that. We were not Yes [...] I don't believe
we needed to use that name." Rabin said more in a May
2020 article, saying of the band, "I think that's over". He
continued that they had been working on new music remotely, by
sending files back and forth, but this approach was not ideal, and
that, "We had a great time touring," but that returning to the
ensemble again "without any new music to me seems like a bad
idea." Asked about the possibility of further touring, he replied,
"I would never say never" but that there are no plans for "the
near future." In another Apr 2020 interview,
Rabin said, "As far as YES/ARW, we're probably done. [...] I
absolutely loved playing AND hanging with Rick on the ARW tours
2016-2018. We still communicate all the time."
In issue #110 of Prog
magazine, Wakeman said he had wanted "to write for a band
again". They wanted to make an album, including epic pieces, but
they were delayed by touring commitments and Jane Anderson's
breast cancer diagnosis. However, in 2018, he "sent Jon and Trev a
couple of ideas I'd written for The Red Planet. They
really liked them and were going to add some bits. [...] It was
quite simplistic with lots of room for additions". (The Red
Planet is his new solo album, released mid-2020.) The
parts concerned were the organ lines for "The North Plain" and the
rhythm and main themes for "Valles Marineris", then under the
working title of "The Bolero" (which Rabin mentioned as a piece
from Wakeman under development by ARW as far back as Sep 2016). In
an Aug 2020 interview, Wakeman said, "some of that I wrote in 2019
because Jon, Trevor and I were looking to do an album. Valles
Marineris was a very simplistic thing at the time based on Ravel’s
Bolero." The band then suffered further delays, including
Wakeman's wife being diagnosed with cancer, Anderson's solo
touring and, returning to the Prog article, "Trev was
doing other stuff." The article continues:
while Wakeman is diplomatic, it appears that the challenges were exacerbated by an absence of writing contributions from Anderson and Rabin. "Jon had some vocal ideas and bits and pieces, but they never got any further."
Wakeman felt that they needed to be get together in person to
make an album. He continued how in the 1970s "record companies
[...] would tell us to spend a month in a studio to write. But
that's just not viable these days. So then it became pretty clear
that we were not going to get this album done. [...] I am
extremely sad there was not an ARW album [...] But logistics and
finance would always dictate that it was unlikely to happen to the
standard that such an album deserved." He talks about possibly
working with Rabin on a project. ARW
bassist Lee Pomeroy said in a Jun
2020 interview that he didn't think any of the ARW material
he heard had made it onto The Red Planet.
In an Aug 2020 interview with Sean Tonar for SOAL Night Live, Wakeman was asked if any of the tracks on The Red Planet were leftover from an ARW album. He replied, "Um... no. Everything was written [...] for The Red Planet. And then there was one... stage where we were looking at doing an ARW track and we're all sending different ideas to each other. And I sent "The Bolero" over to Trev and Jon, who loved it, but it was in a very basic form [...] But then, for various reasons, when the ARW album didn't happen, I very quickly sort of brought it back and said, 'Listen, guys, this is meant to be for a project I'm doing [...] I don't actually want it played around with. So I'm pulling it back in to keep it for that project.' [...] It was all meant for The Red Planet."
Wakeman also talked about the band in a Jul 2020
interview. Asked if ARW has ended, Wakeman replied, "D'you
know what? I've learnt over the years never to say never." He
continued to say that he remains in touch with both Anderson and
Rabin. Here, Wakeman says the band came to an end due to "personal
issues", i.e., Jane Anderson's cancer diagnosis and then,
in 2018, his own wife's cancer diagnosis: "She was diagnosed the
day before I was due to fly to start the tour [i.e., the
Aug/Sep North American tour]." This led to the tour leg being cut
short to those dates that had been advertised. His wife then had a
year of treatment, so ARW activity "went by the board" and
everyone switched to solo projects instead. (Wakeman's wife "got
the all clear" in Xmas 2019.) These two diagnoses had:
pretty much hit nearly 2 years of ARW. And, so, er, it's getting the momentum and things going again. [...] I thought there was no chance of a farewell tour [...] I think that we all sort of felt that we'd left it too late. Having said that, I don't think we have and I don't think Jon and Trev think we have. And, so, I... it would not surprise me if, maybe at the end of next year , um, there wasn't, er, a sort of a thank you tour, something like that [...] I'd love to see it happen. [...] Is it [ARW] dead? I don't know. I think there's still a little heart beat on the monitor
In an interview with Aymeric Leroy
for the forthcoming issue #110 of the French magazine Big Bang,
Wakeman talks more about ARW and again indicates that he thinks
the collaboration has a future. In a Jul
2020 interview, Rabin implied there would have been another
ARW tour if it "hadn't've been for the virus". In an Aug 2020
interview with SOAL
Night Live, Anderson was asked if ARW might get back
together. He replied, "I think it would happen if we made an
album." He continued, "It will happen when it happens [...] You
never know." In the subsequent SOAL Night Live interview that
month with Wakeman, Tonar recounts Anderson's answer to Wakeman,
Yeah, I'd go with that. [...] It's just a matter of how we do it. That's the difficulty, because we all live so far apart [...] The thing how I would perceive the album being done is the way that Yes used to work in the early days, which to me was the finest way of working. We would spend 3 weeks or so, in a room [...] then we'd all have ideas that we'd throw in. [...] the pieces would build from those ideas over that 3 week period. And then we were probably about 70% ready and then we would go into the studio. And whilst we were putting down the tracks, Jon would be working on lyrical ideas and other bits and pieces. [...] I still think that's the only way that Jon, Trevor and I can do it. How we do it or where we do it, I don't know. [...] If we did it like that, then I think we could put together a superb album, but I don't think it would work sending stuff backwards and forwards to each other. [...] being in the same room, if Trev comes up with [...] an idea [...] I can go, 'That's really good. Have you thought about doing it in this key, or [...] changing it into that or changing the tempo.' It's instantaneous. Or Jon can say, 'I can do a line over the top of that' [...] But you have to be in the same room together.
In a Sep
2020 interview, Wakeman said of ARW: "No, it's not
officially done [...] There were a few things that happened over
the last two, two and a half years, that made things a little
difficult. Jon’s wife, during two tours ago, was diagnosed with
breast cancer and a major operation. Thankfully, Janie, bless her
heart, is well again. Just before the last tour, the day I was to
fly out to America for ARW, my wife was diagnosed with breast
cancer. After one and a half years, she has the all-clear. [...]
We were looking at this year, 2020, to see what we can do, then
the dreaded pandemic hit. To me, it's made me a little more
determined to do it."
In a Sep
2020 interview, asked whether the band is now over, Anderson
said, "the problem was [...] if you have outside influences,
things change [...] We'd sit together and talk about doing this
and doing that, and outside influences would say whatever they say
– managers sort of thing. And it got to a silly point where we
were supposed to record - I think it was the beginning of 2018 /
2019 - we were supposed to go in the studio, and I was talking to
my brother in Accrington, and he asked me what am I doing, and I
said; "oh, we're going to record in L.A. next month", and he said;
"well, Rick's touring here next month", and I said; "really?! He
never told me!" [...] No matter how hard you force things
together, outside influences change things." The interviewer then
followed up by asking if they had material ready to record.
Anderson relied: "it was frustrating for me because I'd written so
many interesting songs with Trevor, and I was really gung ho;
"let's go in the studio and blow people away!", because I would
have said to Trevor; "use your film score energy with us", and it
would have been amazing". In an Aug 2020
interview (released Oct 2020), Anderson said:
I wrote [...] a bunch of songs with Trevor and a couple with Rick, a big piece with Rick, which I love [...] we were on tour [...] You know, one thing that I've found over the years, a group of musicians is like that [interleaves fingers]. It's the people on the outside: the promoter, the manager. They're just trying to make money and you forget [that]. And it's just wrong of me to keep forgetting, because I trust people. [...] 'Yeah, we'll make the record. [...] Yeah, we're gonna do it next March, we'll do it in February/March, yeah' [...] then you find out, 'Wait a minute, I just found out Rick's on tour in March. What's happening? I thought we were...' 'Oh no, but Brian... Somebody said... Management...' [Anderson waves his hands dismissively] Because they have a very, er... Managers have a tough job. They've got to look after five crazy people. Six, or seven, y'know. And they always sort of zoom in on one that they can handle. I think that's what's happened in my career. Y'know, they zoom in on somebody they know they can... 'Jon's a bit over there, so let's take care of this guy' [...] It doesn't work in the end, it really doesn't work, because, er, the band suffers.
Rabin, in a Sep 2020
interview with SOAL Night Live, said that, "There's some
songs that I started specifically for ARW and, actually [...] Jon
came in and did some vocals on them, and we were getting ready for
that [the ARW album], but it just never turned out". He said "No"
when asked if any material intended for ARW would be on the solo album
he's been working on in 2020. He blamed the failure to do an album
on "our geographical problems [...] but more importantly, I think,
the fact that the touring just became... constant. And had we not
enjoyed it, we would've [...] not agreed to these shows [...] The
idea at first was to do maybe a dozen shows, have some fun with it
and then look at recording something". He continued, saying they
"really enjoyed" playing together. Asked more about the ARW album,
after talking about "Bolero" (which became "Valles Marineris" on
Wakeman's The Red Planet), Rabin said, "Beyond that, there
were two or three, pretty strong, kind of epic ideas, which we
muddled around with, but the tour just took everything out of it."
Tonar, the interviewer, asked about the possibility of
resurrecting the material and releasing an album, mentioning
Anderson's answer above. Rabin replied, "Well, no, that's kinda
little different to the way I think. I don't think there'll be
another ARW situation. I don't think the album even comes into
it." Tonar then asked if it's "dead in the water" and Rabin
replied, "I think so. [...] I'm just being honest. [...] If I
thought something was going to happen; there's no reason
why it shouldn't happen, but obviously with the epidemic the way
it is, I don't see it happening, and I really want to get my album
done". He continued, "I heard talk of... an interview somewhere
where there was talk of maybe a [full Yes] reunion and that's
something that will never happen, not with me." He also said that
he and Wakeman opposed the use of the 'Yes' name and just wanted
to be ARW, although he caveated that by saying, "Although it is
[Yes]. The only music we play is Yes music."
Music journalist and Yes expert Jon Kirkman posted a series of
messages on Facebook in late Jan 2020 discussing the situation,
ARW don't exist anymore according to Jon and Rick [...] they no longer have a manager either
In later posts, he said, "ARW do not exist anymore"; then, "Rick
told me and Brian Lane was sacked"; then, "Jon blamed him [Lane]
for the lack of a record deal so he was sacked. [...] Even Rick
said Fragile was not a great song nor did they have the material
for an album". (It's unclear if the last was based on a direct
communication or is paraphrasing the comments reported below.)
A source close to one of the had three said in mid-Aug that a
2020 tour is being considered, but a decision had not yet been
taken. In a Sep
2019 interview, Wakeman said:
I’m hoping it [ARW] will return. We have been talking about doing one final farewell tour, to say thank you, and that would be next year  and going into 2021. It’s still in discussion stage. Certainly, I would love to do it. And I think Jon and Trev do as well. I’m going to be seeing Trev in Los Angeles in a few weeks and hopefully Jon as well.
He said much the same in an Oct
2019 interview: "we're talking about going out in 2020 and
2021 as a sort of a 'farewell, goodbye…we've really enjoyed it and
want to say thank you to all the people that have followed us[.]'"
He went on that "there's a fair chance" that they will release new
music to coincide with the tour: "Not a whole album's worth, but
there'll be some music[. W]e always said that it had to be of such
a high standard, had to be like classic standard, otherwise we
In another Sep
interview, asked about 2020 plans, Wakeman said: "We're
talking about it, Trevor, myself and Jon, and I think there is a
very good, er... very, very, very strong possibility that
we will do a sort of last hurrah in 2020 and 2021, where we will
go out, y'know, possibly with one last great track, a new
track that we'll put together, that we've been working on. [...]
It looks very promising that it's gonna happen. I sincerely
hope it happens because we will be doing 60, 70 odd shows
throughout sort of the middle of next year  through [...]
into 2021". He also implied a set list containing old Yes songs
that they haven't played before. In another interview
published Oct 2019, he again talked of "some farewell shows
next year ", but he said they would be as 'ARW' rather than
'Yes featuring': "It may be "ARW Performing an Evening of Yes
Music." That's fine. But not Yes in the name of the band." He also
said that they haven't discussed a set list yet. The interview
later asked why they would be doing a farewell tour; Wakeman
a mixture of honesty and then you can read into it what you will. None of us are getting any younger health-wise [...] It’s not the playing, though that does get a bit difficult at times. There’s the traveling and everything that goes with it. Jon is 74 now and he hasn’t had the greatest of health [...]
I have been diagnosed with arthritis in both my hands. It’s controllable at the moment. I don’t take anything for it, pills or drugs, but I do exercises. I have creams and special gloves and things that keep me going. I know I have to practice really hard to keep my fingers supple. I always said that I never want to walk onstage and not play to the standard I want to. [...] there comes a time to stop.
[...] I might be wrong. I might have a few more days than I think. I do have some days where they seize up quite a lot, but at the moment I can still play. The dexterity is still there. When I do the right exercises I am fine.
I reckon I have until probably the beginning to the end of 2022 and then I think I won’t be able to do it anymore. I’ll still be able to play, but not [up to] the standard live that I do now. I’ll still be able to record and do music and the odd concert, but they will be different concerts. That’s my reason why I voted along with everyone, actually, that we’ll do a farewell/thank-you tour to the fans when you can still do the best you do
In Jul 2019, Wakeman said at a solo concert that the band will
tour again in 2020. A Jul
2019 Billboard article said: "Wakeman, who says he
opposed ARW going out as Yes, adds that the trio is planning one
last tour for 2020 and may possibly record [...] new music".
Wakeman is quoted: "We feel it's sort of come to the end of the
road[.] None of us are spring chickens anymore [...] I think we'll
thoroughly enjoy another [tour] and then I think we can [...]
proudly close the lid on it, very happy in our belief that we've
done it proud." Asked about new material, he said they "ha[ve] got
a couple of things we've worked on that we think are good enough,
but we always said that unless it was really of a high standard we
felt really proud of we wouldn't just release stuff for the sake
of releasing it. I think when we start on the farewell dates we'll
analyze what we've done and go, 'OK, what can we make of this?' I
would like to think we can leave one final burst of music that we
can be proud of and, perhaps, we'd like to think that Yes fans
have been waiting for." In his Aug 2019
GORR, Wakeman also wrote of doing a "farewell tour with
[...] ARW." In Aug, he also said more to a fan he met, as
'highfell' recounted on
Yesfans.com here. Wakeman again talked of a final tour in
2020 and spilling over into 2021. He talked of new music, which he
described as potentially huge, but not ready yet, as the band
hadn't had time together to work on it. They would only release it
if they were happy with it, and if a release does come, it would
be after the tour, as they might find time during the tour to
In that Jul
2019 Billboard article, Anderson, commenting on the
band's lack of activity, said, "Life happens when you least expect
it. You expect something to go for a long journey, and then all of
a sudden it's not...because of life. People have a life they want
to live and go through. It's not a good explanation, but it just
doesn't work at times. There's maybe 20 versions of Yes I've been
in, and every one's been fantastic -- but it was always chaos in
there for some reason." Another Jul
2019 interview with Anderson also had him vague about the
future: "I think the idea is one day we'll get together again and
do some more work together[.] But I'm not sure when, where or
how." In comments to fans in Aug, Anderson also talked of tour
plans for 2020, but said that nothing has been confirmed yet.
as Yesfans.com, a fan had previously emailed Wakeman's
website asking about 2019, and received the reply that, "There
aren't any solid plans for 2019 just yet". And asked
after a show in Oct 2018, Wakeman said that ARW would play a
final tour in 2020. In a Feb 2019 interview,
Anderson was asked if he will be working with ARW again. He
Yeah, yeah. We just went through a period together that we were very happening on stage, but everything that surrounded us wasn't as clear or as well defined as it should be. When you're on the road, you're expecting to be, sort of, well organised [...] and it just wasn't as clear, for us, the three of us, where we were heading. And I, personally, always wanted just to make some new music, but it was just hard to get everything in that sort of area, where we were connected, and that's just the way things are. And I just said I'll see you in 2020, maybe '21 or so, we'll get together. Because I'm a big, big fan of both the guys [...] we'll see what happens.
In another Feb
2019 interview, he said:
The only reason I wanted to work with the guys was to make a great new album. But, for some reason everybody had something else to do. So I tried my best to coerce them. 'Let's just do February, March and we'll just be together. If not, we can do it through Skype.' And then that didn't happen and this didn't happen. So I just went, 'Okay, I gotta get on my with life' sort of thing. We were damn good. We played some great shows.
The aforementioned Mar
2019 article also said the band "have no future plans to
tour or record". Anderson was then quoted:
Onstage we were just in it, killing it every show. [...] But there was, dare I say it, mismanagement of the situation. I love the guys. We’re musical brothers. I just thought, ‘I need to breathe.’ I couldn’t breathe towards the end. It felt like too much weight on me. Also, there was too much of, ‘Should we do an album?’ We couldn’t agree on that. As soon as I said I didn’t want to tour this year  and just make my own album, I could finally breathe again.
Mar 2019 interview, asked about working again with Rabin and
Wakeman, Anderson responded, "Working with them was like
rejuvenation. I'm 75 this year  and I keep saying, 'Hey, you
only live once in this lifetime.' Yeah, more than likely, maybe
next year , the year after . I've always said it would
be nice to do a Yestival and get everybody together on stage,
that's like a magic wand to make that happen, but you never know
in this life." And, in yet another Mar
2019 interview, Anderson was asked whether there would be
more ARW activity and if there was any new studio work. He
replied, "It's a long story [...] whichever way you look at it,
you want to do new music. I wrote some songs with Trevor, with
Rick, we just couldn't get everyone together at the same place,
because everyone's so busy in life. And we said maybe in 2020."
The Apr 2019 article had more, quoting Anderson as saying he is
"not sure" if they will together again, and then went on:
“It’s something that didn’t evolve the way I would like, and same with Trevor and Rick[.] We wanted to make some new music, but for some reason, the powers that be just didn’t give us the chance to get in a studio and make some new music, even though we wrote some music.”
He adds, “Whether that will evolve and become [something concrete] is out of my hands [...] But I loved what I did with Trevor and Rick very much.”
“The tour was fantastic [...] we were cooking. [...] But everything else around it was very sort of un-together, should I say.”
The Apr 2019 issue of Prog talked to Wakeman and they
summarise the situation thus:
[Wakeman] suggests they won't go out under the Yes monicker, despite being given the blessing of Chris Squire's widow, Scotland.
"If I'm brutally honest, for me, Yes died the day that Chris died. I really felt the name should have been put to rest at that moment. [...] Bands should continue playing Yes music - great, that's really important, but let's put the name to rest."
In 2016, the band went under the name "Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman", but in early 2017, they began styling themselves as "Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman", against the wishes of the current Yes band headed by Steve Howe and Alan White. The other Yes stated that this was because Anderson co-owns the trademark and thus has rights to the name (more on that over here), but that they wished to minimise confusion between the two bands, their tone implying they remained unhappy about the situation. More on how this unfolded below.
A live release came in Sep 2018. As for new
material, it is unclear if there will be a release or what form it
will take. A new piece, "Fragile", was played on the radio in Jul
2018, but has not been officially released. New material has not
been played live, but a recording of another original piece was
used as intro music on their 2018 summer tour.
They were managed by Brian Lane (currently managing
Wakeman, worked with Yes, ABWH, The Buggles, Vangelis, It Bites).
Tour promotion was by Larry Magid (worked with Yes, Stevie
Wonder, Bette Midler, Robin Williams, Live Aid/Live 8).
In a Jun
2016 interview, Anderson said of the collaboration: "In the
next few years we have to see what we want to do; go around the
world and make some great music and obviously do some great new
songs." In two Nov 2016 interviews, Anderson talked of a 3-year
plan for the band. In a Dec
2016 interview, asked how long he is committed to ARW, Rabin
said, "As far as how long the ARW thing goes, right now there
hasn't been one minute where it hasn't been fun. As long as that
continues, I'm totally up for it."
comments on 8 Jul, Rabin said:
From the 1st rehearsal on the Union tour, I loved Rick as a person
and player, By about the 10th gig, we talked about working together beyond Union.
I'm not sure anything else would have got me away from writing for orchestra (film scoring).
I think really the bug hit me twice... I was very close to our friend Chris Squire, and his passing hit me hard, and somehow it has inspired me to go out and play live again.
The second reason was Rick.
Obviously for me, playing the music we'll be doing, it is something
I wouldn't even consider without the glorious voice, presence and talent of mr. Anderson. "THE VOICE"!!!
In a Jul
2016 interview, Wakeman said:
One of the things that we [Anderson and Wakeman] always talked about was putting the band together with Trevor. Trevor and I have never worked just together playing Yes music. We’ve always said that it could be really different, we could really play the music to another level, do other things, because we wouldn’t be limited to the arrangements that Yes music has always been done by. The crucial layer, of course, is Jon’s voice. I’m afraid that I’m old school. This is nothing against any other singers or whatever. But to me, there are certain bands in the world that if you take the singer away, you don’t have the band anymore. I can’t imagine Led Zeppelin without Robert Plant; I can’t imagine The Who without Roger Daltrey. At the end of the day, I can never hear Yes music without Jon’s voice singing.
We see a good three years, possibly more if we can all keep our health together, of building and creating something really quite special. [...] We’re looking at this as a relatively long-term plan, at least three if not four or five years.
In another Jul
2016 interview, Anderson said:
The three of us totally love to challenge each other as part of the Yes gene. Deep inside we feel a part of the Yes history, so why not get together and chase more musical dreams?
I see ARW as a 21st-Century Yes. There is plenty of room for many Yes bands. I think one day I will be able to explain what Yes music really means to me, but, for now, I just feel very committed to create and sing more and more.
In a Jun 2016 interview, Wakeman also said that it was Squire's passing that spurred them to move quicker with the group. He had more comments along those lines in his Jul 2016 interview: "I think it was brought about a bit quicker when we lost Chris Squire. Although none of us really like to talk about it, it brought home our own mortality, or Yes' mortality, I suppose you can say." Asked in an Apr 2016 radio interview if Squire's passing motivated the project, Anderson replied, hesitantly at first: "I think... probably. [...] He would have wanted to be involved [...] I think [...] he loved us all so much. I think he's overseeing a lot of thing. He's up there, being the puppeteer." Likewise, in his Jun 2016 interview, Rabin said:
Chris and I were friends throughout the years. Every couple of years, he would always ask me if I wanted to come back to the band[.] I was in touch with Chris every day until his death.In an article in the Jul 2017 issue of Prog, Anderson also cites Rabin's enthusiastic reaction to Anderson's album with Roine Stolt, Invention of Knowledge, as a key moment in deciding to tour.
Chris' passing made me think that life is short and that if the three of us were ever going to work together, now was the time. We all agreed that we've got to do this.
The band was nominated in the UK Band/Artist category of the 2017 Progressive Music Awards, but lost to Marillion (again).
As for the future, in his Aug
2016 Newsweek interview, Anderson talked of "a great
show that will extend over maybe five years." In a Sep
2016 interview, he said, "We said we'd give it two or three
years and see where it goes." In his interview,
Magid said, "Speaking to everyone, and to Brian [Lane], I asked
what the commitment was. I asked if this was going to be a tour,
make as much money as we can and disappear? The three guys have
made a commitment to each other to see this thing through to
whatever it will become." Later in that article, Rabin said: "I
think the intention is to keep going. [...] who knows what the
future will bring? There are so many things we want to explore. I
think it's going to be longer than six months."
induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with
Anderson, Wakeman and Rabin all inductees, Wakeman tweeted:
To answer as to whether or not the Hall of Fame Induction will mean a YES reunion in the future, I can say 100% it's never going to happen
In the Mar 2018 issue of Prog, Wakeman said in his
column, "there are at least two versions of Yes out there. And
before anyone asks, there's more chance of Donald Trump having sex
with Kim Jong-un than there is of another full reunion." (The
other) Yes also made clear their lack of interest via a press
release. Asked about the possibility of a new Union in a Sep
2017 interview, Wakeman said, "It wouldn't happen. Not now.
Both sides would tell you it couldn't work."
The band toured in 2018. They had been promoting what was described as a 100-date world tour starting 3 Jun 2018 in Europe, visiting North America later in 2018, "going on to South America, Central and Southern Europe, ending in Japan and the Far East in 2019." However, after a short European leg, all that followed was a US leg with 10 dates from 26 Aug-9 Sep. Tickets for the 26 Aug 2018 show were only available on the day from the venue, and sold out (capacity ~400). Billy Sherwood was in the audience for the 29 Aug show. Several of Anderson's family, including daughters Deborah and Jade, and wife Jane, were also at the 29 Aug show. A listing had leaked with 18 more US dates in Nov/Dec, but this wasn't confirmed and those dates did not happen. Instead, band promo said 20+ US shows will be announced for early 2019. However, in a Jun 2018 interview, Rabin said:
They wanted to do a hundred dates and I said, 'I'm old. The singer's 10 years older than me.' […] I said, no, […] you can always call me, we can look at things and if I'm not busy, we can do things. But once that [Aug/Sep] tour is finished, I'm actually going to start bookings [for film scoring].In a May 2018 interview, Anderson said:
They wanted us to do a three-month tour in The States and we said that was crazy, we just can`t do that at our age and anyway, we want to get on with our new album, so we need time to work on thatIn a Jul 2018 interview, Rabin said, "We all looked at the length of the tour and we said, 'We're too old!' [...] So we've cut it down to a reasonable amount." In an early Sep 2018 interview, Rabin said:
I have to be honest, one of the great things about this [ARW] is that we've tried to do it where we haven't imposed a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves. We don't want to become this slogging the road, year after year, just another boring old tour. We really want to do it so that every night is enjoyable and we feel there's a reason for doing it.No 2019 dates appeared. In response to the hullabaloo online after Rabin's Jun 2018 interview, his wife posted the following message to a fan Facebook group:
It has been suggested that YES(ARW) might be ending due to comments within this interview.Wakeman shed more light on events in a Jul 2020 interview. He explains how his wife was diagnsoed with cancer "the day before I was due to fly to start the tour." He explained how the tour leg had meant to be 8-9 weeks long, but was cut short to those dates that had been confirmed.
I want to make it very clear that it is not the case.
Rick Jon and I didn’t come into ARW in a vacuum.
We were all very busy. Other career interests don’t just disappear. We all fully intend to carry on doing what we were doing while putting full energy into YES.
All the best,
Rehearsals began in Jul or Aug 2016 in Los Angeles, CA. Wakeman said in an Aug 2016 interview that Rabin "was rehearsing with Lou [Molino III] and Lee [Pomeroy] for about couple of weeks before I arrived out there. And then I didn't have my rig out there. I was just working with a couple of keyboards just to working out arrangements and things what we were going to do. And then, Jon came down to LA [...] and when he started singing, it was just like he'd come home". Wakeman arrived 7 Aug and, to quote his Aug 2016 GORR, "for the next seven days, ARW rehearsed solidly, with ideas constantly changing, and all for the better [...] The set developed". Wakeman then returned to the UK, leaving the others "spending the coming week working on vocal harmonies and other finishing touches. Trevor has a great voice and so have Lee and Lou so Jon has a fine "choir" behind him whenever needed." Production rehearsals were in Orlando, FL from 19 Sep.
From launching in 2016, ARW stressed their relationship to Yes and described themselves as Yes, at least in some sense, in interviews. The band's website proclaimed "that after a hiatus of 25 years, they are to reform the definitive Yes line-up as Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman (ARW)." The reference to 25 years is to when the three last worked together in the Union line-up. Wakeman there and on the press release is quoted as describing them as the "Holy Trinity of Yes". However, in an Oct 2016 interview, Wakeman denied saying those words: "I can't claim to have been the person who said that…I don't know actually where that came from." The band's Twitter account briefly used the Roger Dean Yes logo in 2016. The official Yes Twitter account tweeted news of the ARW tour when it was announced, saying "Sending warm wishes to our old friends, Jon Trevor & Rick for their upcoming tour".
In an Apr
2016 interview, replying to a question about his views on
the current Yes, Anderson moved on to talk about Anderson Rabin
Wakeman, saying: "[The current Yes i]s just business, and it's a
group of people going out there and playing music that's very
valid. I have a different perspective on what it is, and there
are bands out there performing Yes music, called tribute
bands[.] That's kind of the feeling of what's going on. That's
why me and Trevor say, 'Well, listen if we're going to get
together, we've got to reignite Yes[.]' You're not going to get
together with me, Trevor, and Rick and not think about
our heritage, musically." In a May
2016 interview, Anderson said, "People who love Yes have
been waiting for this." Likewise, in an early Jun
2016 interview, Anderson said, talking about a set list to
include 1970s and 1980s Yes material: "we're very concerned that
we're doing the right thing [...] that we honour the history of
our work with Yes […] Yes music is within me, I can't
just discard it and get on with something else, it's still there
inside of me. And, er, to be working on the idea of the next
understanding of Yes that I hear is going to be
fantastic." In another interview
later that month, he said: "I feel it's a rejuvenation of the
idea of 'Yes music'..we are as much a part of the 'Yes' story as
anyone". In a Jul 2016
interview, Anderson said, to explain the reference to Yes
music in the tour promotion, "We're Yes as much as anybody else,
y'know." In a Dec
2016 interview, he said, "We know we're Yes in our senses
even though we're calling ourself ARW." In his Sep 2016 GORR,
Wakeman said of the full touring quintet, "It's certainly the
finest line up performing YES music that I've ever been a part
of". In a Jan
2017 interview, Anderson said:
The most important thing is to continue the feeling that we are YES, no matter what, ARW equals YES, or YES is ARW. We come up with so many combinations so that people know because people still relate to the name YES very strongly, and we are ARW, but we are also YES. 21st Century thinking, man.
However, some interviews drew a distinction between ARW and Yes.
In a Classic Rock interview around Aug 2016, Rabin said he
did not consider ARW to be a rival Yes and that he still has
friends in Yes. An Oct
2016 interview had this:
Rabin insists there's no rivalry between the two bands.Tour promoter Larry Magid was asked, in an Aug 2016 interview, if there is any conflict between ARW and Yes as there was with ABWH and Yes: "Not at all. That's really the genesis of what this tour is. The Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe tour was every bit as successful as a Yes tour. When you're younger, you have legal ramifications, you want to argue or whatever. Certainly this isn't Yes. It's not meant to be even though it's going to be an evening of Yes music redefined and updated."
"To be honest, it doesn't even enter our minds," he said. "When Rick, Jon and I decided to get together we actively decided not to call it Yes, even though we have just as much right to do so.
"Steve Howe has been playing, in essence, with a tribute band, but there are no bad vibes," said Rabin
Then, on about 26 or 27 Jan 2017, the advertising campaign for
the band's forthcoming European dates started using the Yes name.
Adverts started using the Roger Dean logo: e.g., this
Online advertising (screenshot,
28 Jan) referred to the band as "Yes feat. Anderson, Rabin
& Wakeman (ARW)". For ARW's appearance at the Night of the
Prog Festival, they were likewise billed as "Yes featuring Jon
Anderson Trevor Rabin Rick Wakeman" (screenshot,
28 Jan), with the festival organisers saying this was approved
by ARW's management. The 'Yes' name had appeared to be under
the control of the line-up headed by Howe and White, while the
Dean logo is owned by Dean and Howe (see more
discussion here on ownership); they did not give
permission for this usage. By 28 Jan, some of the adverts were
being altered to remove the Dean logo, e.g. the front
page for the Night
of the Prog Festival's website front page had switched
to the previous ARW graphic. Likewise, within days, some online advertising
had removed the Dean logo. Jon Kirkman said online that he
believed Dean had "said no" to their use of the logo. But
Night of the Prog, MyTicket etc. continued using the
name "Yes feat. Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman (ARW)"; and, 2
Feb, a Planet Rock Tickets mailing and website still had the
Dean logo and the "Yes feat. Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman".
Tickets for UK dates on ARW's tour again use the "Yes feat..."
name and that is how, for example, they were described on the
Hammersmith Apollo venue before the show there. Lawyers for
both sides were in contact; Jon Kirkman on Facebook reported
that Yes had sent a cease and desist letter to ARW. The two
bands were then talking in the context of the Hall of
Asked on the Cruise to
the Edge (Feb 2017) about the matter, the band with Howe,
White etc. stated they are Yes.
On later dates on their European tour, Anderson sometimes
described the band as Yes from on stage. By the end of Mar 2017,
the band were using "Yes feat. Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman" on
adverts for forthcoming US dates. However, it was notable that the
band's website was not using that name. Then, in his Apr GORR, Wakeman
talked of "ARW, (now known as YES featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor
Rabin and Rick Wakeman)". In an Apr
2017 interview, asked about why Howe etc. are
continuing as Yes, Anderson said:
That’s a tough one to answer, but we think we’re Yes, anyway. ARW equals Yes. It’s mind-boggling in a way to think I started the band and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to utilize the name, because it’s part of my life And me, Rick, and Trevor are p[er]forming an evening of Yes music because that’s who we are. We can’t deny who we are.After the Hall of Fame induction, a press release then announced the new name of "Yes featuring ARW". This quoted Anderson as saying, "It's very simple[.] The Yes fans want it, we want it and it's our right to use the name. Yes music is in our DNA!" Howe and White's Yes then explained in a release:
While Jon Anderson has rights to use the name as one of the co-owners of the trademark, Yes' position is that every effort should be made by promoters, ticket agencies and all involved to respect Yes' magnificant and loyal fanbase and minimize confusion regarding the use of Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman.More on those rights over here. In a Jul 2017 interview, Howe referred to the situation as "basically [...] a discretionary agreement". He continued, "I think ARW have got great potential as ARW, but they're going to do what they're gonna do, and they're not going to change their mind because of what we think. Only time will tell if they did the right thing." In a May 2018 article, he said, "I try to say as little as possible [about ARW] because they used to say a lot about us and not a lot of it was nice. Our position is we don't talk about it".
It would help prevent confusion among the fan base if the other Yes band would identify their key members as we have. If you just want to see the original Yes this summer, Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman is the band for you.The band talked about the name change in the Prog issue. Anderson said that when ARW started, there was "a lot of talk" about them using the Yes name, but that he had not wanted to confuse audiences. He explained his view then was: "We'll go out as ARW to find out who we are musically". However, Rabin then explains that they were "inundated" with people asking why they weren't working under the Yes name. All three talk about audiences getting confused between the two bands; Anderson then described an exchange with the other Yes (some time prior to the Hall of Fame induction):
[He] wants to make it clear, under no uncertain terms, that Jon Anderson is the co-founder and the original creative soul of of the band Yes and is not a member in the band that is touring under the name Yes for the Yestival Summer 2017 Tour.
You should not confuse the fans. You should say who you are. We'd said, "You should go out as Yes featuring Steve, Alan and whoever is in the band and we'll go out as Yes featuring us three," and they declinedAnderson went on to cast the other Yes as "fool[ing] the public" by not using such a name formulation.
My to tak i občas uvádíme, že jsme Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman. Musím přiznat, že si nedokážu představit Led Zeppelin bez Roberta Planta, The Who bez Rogera Deltraye a Yes bez Jona Andersona. Takže pokud máte Yes, ve kterých nezpívá Jon Anderson, nemůžete to nazývat Yes.Thanks to Vojta at Yesfans.com for this translation:
Začali jsme hrát hudbu Yes tak, jak si myslíme, že by měla být hrána. A ano, fanoušci nám říkají, že jsme ti praví Yes, ale ve finále je to jedno, jak se naše kapela bude jmenovat. A na to, že jsme jenom pár staříků, tak si to opravdu uživáme. (smích)
Sometimes we promote ourselves as Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman. I must say that I cannot imagine Led Zeppelin without Robert Plant, The Who without Roger Deltray, and Yes without Jon Anderson. So, if you have Yes without Jon Anderson singing, you cannot call it Yes.Wakeman went further in a Mar 2018 interview (published in Spanish), saying:
We started to play the Yes music the way we think it should be played. And yes, the fans tell us that we are the true Yes. But it doesn't mater what our band is called in the end. And given that we are just a bunch of old farts, we really have lot of fun. [laughs]
Lo que está pasando con Yes es ridículamente confuso. Nunca quise usar el nombre. Cuando a Jon Anderson, Trevor y a mí nos hicieron problema por usar el nombre dije “listo, ya está”, porque sabía que iba a pasar esto. Nosotros teníamos una identidad como ARW, y lo veníamos haciendo realmente bien, tocando incluso canciones de Yes. En el momento que pasamos a ser Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin y Wakeman se volvió todo confuso. La banda de Steve Howe, el Yes de Steve Howe, está haciendo conciertos en Inglaterra y literalmente todos los días nos preguntan si somos nosotros. No, es una banda diferente. Nunca debimos hacer eso. La gente sabía que se encontraría cuando nos llamábamos ARW.Which roughly translates as:
What is happening with Yes is ridiculously confusing. I never wanted to use the name. When Jon Anderson, Trevor and I got into trouble for using the name, I said "OK, that's it", because I knew this was going to happen. We had an identity as ARW, and we had been doing it really well, even playing Yes songs. The moment we became Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman, it became all confusing. Steve Howe's band, Yes by Steve Howe, is doing concerts in England and literally every day they ask us if it's us. No, it's a different band. We should never do that. People knew what he would find when we called ourselves ARW.Asked about his relationship with the "other Yes", he continued: "No hay relación con ellos, para ser honesto. No es tristeza ni enojo lo que tengo, la verdad ni me importan. Porque pueden hacer lo que quieran. Sí contacté a Steve cuando murió su hijo menor en septiembre pasado, tristemente. Le escribí, y luego hablé de eso con Dylan, su otro hijo. Ellos que hagan lo que quieran, siempre va a haber discusiones sobre el material, ellos dirán que lo nuestro no es Yes, nosotros diremos que no podés tener a Yes sin Jon Anderson cantando, y así. Entonces lo que hagan está bien, no me afecta." That is, he says he has no relationship with them (although he did reach out to Steve and Dylan Howe after Virgil Howe's death). He finishes: "they will say that our [band] is not Yes, we will say that you cannot have Yes without Jon Anderson singing, and so on. So what you do is fine, it does not affect me."
Jon started this band with Chris Squire [...] there have been a number of significant lineups. The main thing is Jon is very passionate about the fact that, as far as the name, he should be part of it.He continued:
I really don’t care about the name. I was happy calling it ARW.
As far as the name goes, to be quite honest…I had the simple thought in my mind to get onstage and just get back playing. I never contemplated all these stupid problems with names. Every time the problem comes up I just cast my mind to Spinal Tap. It’s so ridiculous.
One of the points of view from Rick, Jon and I is that no one else deserves the name anymore than we do. I’m happy to talk to you about it. I just don’t think it should be an issue unless someone else wants to talk about it. But, I could care less.And in another interview published Oct 2017 and conducted more recently than the above, Rabin said:
Frankly, I didn’t care what it was called…I was quite happy with leaving it as ARW but a lot of fans were saying, ‘Why aren’t you calling yourselves Yes? You’re playing Yes stuff and you’re three guys from significant times with the band!’ and its management and promotion and everyone felt it would be a better thing to do. Fans would be happier doing it that way [...]In a Jul 2018 interview, Rabin said, "we can call ourselves Yes if we want. We have the legal right to do so. We were called Anderson Rabin Wakeman, which we... we liked, I actually prefer, but a lot of fans wrote in and said, 'Why don't you call yourselves Yes['] [...] along with that and management and people involved, we were kind of talked into, let's call it [...] Yes featuring Anderson Rabin Wakeman." In a Sep 2018 interview, Rabin said:
But the funny thing is that it might look like it was a business decision but, in my view, we were doing fine as ARW as far as, you know, we’re not doing big arenas anymore…you know, things level off and you carry on as you are [...] But just from the social media, there seemed to be an interest in wanting us to call ourselves Yes. I was a proponent of not caring one way or the other.
I think Jon feels quite strongly about the name. You know his view is we’re playing better than ever and why are we going under another name when we’ve got 16, or whatever it is, albums that basically we’re involved in, in some way
I kind of feel no one should be called Yes anymore[.] I’ll get rapped on the knuckles for saying this, but it’s just my opinion. I liked the way Led Zeppelin did it. When John Bonham died, that was it.On their Aug 2017 North American tour, ARW have been selling a T-shirt using the classic Dean Yes logo. Reportedly, they were told to remove it.
I’m not prepared to discuss it. Make your own deductions, say what you like, but anything that’s said won’t be properly digested so I’d rather say nothing at all. You get on with your life.Asked in another Sep 2017 interview about his impressions of the other Yes, Anderson said, "It's a different kind of band. They are still playing Yes music, songs I wrote... hey, I don't mind. A lot of bands play Yes music — like tribute bands all over the world." Asked about the name change, he said, "I always owned part of the name. When we got in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and people saw us [...] all over the world, I thought we should be really calling ourselves Yes between me, Rick and Trevor. It just seemed logical." And in another, he explained the situation with two bands thus:
A lot of people hearing Yes music feels good[.] There are a lot of Yes tribute bands out there, so there are a lot of people hearing Yes music, anyway. We just get along with Steve’s band doing what they’re doing, and we love what we do.In a mid-Jan 2018 Facebook, Anderson just referred to Yes featuring Anderson Rabin Wakeman as "YES". A May 2018 article quotes him thus:
You know, in the ’60s and ’70s, there were about five bands called the Drifters around, in England. It’s just music. I don’t worry about it too much. I don’t get involved in who’s better or who’s worse. We know we’re good at what we doing.
“We’re a Yes, they’re a Yes. There are so many Yesses out there,” he says, referring to the numerous tribute bands who also play their songs. “The music has survived. That’s the main thing.”In an Oct 2019 interview, Wakeman was asked about not wanting to call ARW Yes:
No. I didn’t. [...] I have quite moralistic views. When Chris died, he was the only founding member still left in the band. He’s the only guy that had been in every incarnation of Yes [...] I felt with so many different band members in and out that when Chris passed away, the decent thing to do would be to say, “OK, we’re putting the name Yes on the shelf. That’s it.”Later in that same interview, he said: "If you want my real honest answer, the whole Yes thing is a mess since Chris died. It's a total and utter mess for the fans and the people because nobody knows what the hell is going on. Nobody knows who is in what, who is doing what. It's just one hilarious mess. It would make a great cartoon series."
We can still play Yes music. Steve, if you want to have a band, play Yes music. Jon, you can too. Anyone that has been in the band is fully entitled to play Yes music, but do it under a different name. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it degraded the name and the word and the music by what happened after Chris died. We did end up going out because promoters wanted it as Yes Featuring ARW, but it just confused people. They had no idea who they were going to see and what was going on.
It was wrong and I was very against it [...] But we’re going to do some farewell shows next year  and they are going to be ARW. It may be “ARW Performing an Evening of Yes Music.” That’s fine. But not Yes in the name of the band.
Rest of the band
The touring band is normally a quintet with bassist Lee Pomeroy (Headspace, This Oceanic Feeling, It Bites, works with Take That, ELO, worked with Downes Braide Association, Steve Hackett), who works regularly with Wakeman and was rumoured to have been approached back in 2010, and drummer Lou Molino III, who works regularly with Rabin. With Pomeroy busy with other commitments, Japanese dates in 2017 (when Pomeroy was touring with Take That) and Jun 2018 European dates (when Pomeroy was touring with Gary Barlow) were with Iain Hornal (ELO, worked with Grahman Gouldman, 10cc) on bass.
This is most of the 25 Mar 2017 Manchester show (with
some edits, as above). Details
in Yescography. The album made #60 in
Digital download (UK):
CD / Vinyl
Digital download (US):
CD / Vinyl
I always supported new music if it was really special. We started sending music backwards and forwards to each other and there were some pieces that started to come together that had big possibilities. I felt very much that it was time, not just to do songs, but we needed a couple of real epic things, like 21st-century “Awaken.” And Jon liked that idea, so did Trev. We started putting a couple of things together that were really coming together well.In another interview that month, he said "there's a fair chance" that they will release some new music to coincide with a 2020-1 tour: "Not a whole album's worth, but there'll be some music[. W]e always said that it had to be of such a high standard, had to be like classic standard, otherwise we wouldn't."
But there was two problems. One, which is finance. There are no major record companies these days who would pay the money that would be needed to do a project like this properly. The only way we could do that is if we’re all together in the same room working like we used to. We have to work together and put things together like a jigsaw. We would need two months, minimum, in a room somewhere. You’ve got the difficulty that Jon lives up in San Luis Obispo and Trev lives [...] in Los Angeles and I’m in [...] the East Coast of England. [...] Lee Pomeroy, is in Southern England [...] Lou Molino, is also in England. [...]
It needed to be properly financed for all us to get together. Also, we needed to choose somewhere where we could all work together, whether it be on the West Coast or in England or whether it be somewhere neutral. We never got around to agreeing on where that could be. There is certainly the basics of music that could possibly well be a very good album, but I personally, and I don’t think Trevor and Jon did, don’t want to put out an album just because we could. There was a sort of single put out [sic], “Fragile Touch,” which, not for me … it was a nice song. But people forget I’m a Yes fan too. [...] I’m entitled to say “I like this” or “I’d like to hear this.”
“Fragile Touch” was a nice enough song, but it wasn’t what I wanted to hear from Yes. I wanted to hear some great playing and what I call some surprises. You go back to “Close to the Edge” and it’s full of surprises. You’ve got no idea where it’s going to go once it starts. That, to me, is what Yes music is.
I [...] always wanted just to make some new music, but it was just hard to get everything in that sort of area, where we were connected, and that's just the way things are
In another Feb
2019 interview, he said:
The only reason I wanted to work with the guys was to make a great new album. But, for some reason everybody had something else to do. So I tried my best to coerce them. 'Let's just do February, March and we'll just be together. If not, we can do it through Skype.' And then that didn't happen and this didn't happen. So I just went, 'Okay, I gotta get on my with life' sort of thing.
The aforementioned Mar 2019 article also quoted Anderson as saying, "there was too much of, 'Should we do an album?' We couldn't agree on that." In one of the Jul 2019 interviews, Anderson spoke of having written songs with the other two, but went on: "we'd never gotten into the studio to do them. That's the way life goes sometimes." In another Mar 2019 interview, Anderson was asked whether there would be more ARW activity and if there was any new studio work. He replied, "It's a long story [...] whichever way you look at it, you want to do new music. I wrote some songs with Trevor, with Rick, we just couldn't get everyone together at the same place, because everyone's so busy in life."The band's first original music was debuted on their 2018 summer tour: it is a recording of an instrumental piece, around 2 minutes long, which was played as the introduction music as the band walked on for the show. It is not played live. There is an audience recording of it on Facebook, and another on YouTube. It is unknown whether this piece was just done for the tour or will be released at some point. A new piece, "Fragile/Touch" or "Fragile", was then premiered on a radio interview. In the Jul 2018 interview, Rabin said that the band are using a song of his called "Fragile", first used on the end credits of an episode of the TV series Agent X in Dec 2015 (audio here). Rabin continued, "the band really liked it, and so we thought, 'Yeah, let's do it.' So, we did it." A brief fragment of the piece can be heard in the interview archive on YouTube; more was played on the radio and is doing the rounds online (e.g., Prog link to it here). The interviewer described it as produced by Rabin. The full song is about 5:22 long, with Rabin taking lead vocals and Anderson providing harmony and some counterpoint vocals. The band's set list for their 26 Aug show (see this picture) included the piece, listed as "Fragile/Touch", but it wasn't then played. In a Jul 2020 interview for the Rabin-esque blog, Rabin said the piece was by him and Anderson, with Anderson having added new lyrics to the bridge. Wakeman recorded his piano parts in England, while Anderson recorded vocals at Rabin's studio, with Rabin performing vocals and all the other parts. He also said he wasn't certain the band should have done the song, but that he thought it would at least have been a starting point for recording an album. He said he did not want to release it and did not think it has any relevance now the band is over. In the Sep 2020 interview, Rabin said of "Fragile":
that was really quite an unfortunate thing. We were kind of browbeaten into... The promoters and everyone saying, 'You've been talking about releasing a record.' And I said, 'Well, let's be very honest, we just haven't had the time.' 'Well, can't you just do a single?' And I'd written this song "Fragile", and so we all listened to it and thought, well, it's a really nice song, so why don't we do that? [...] "Fragile" was something that, y'know, I had basically recorded and re-established all the tracks, and then Rick played some beautiful piano on it, and then Jon came in and sang... most of it. The choruses, we kinda left, and Jon joined in on them [...] there was really no fanfare. It wasn't released. And, er, it was as if it was never done. We rehearsed it and it sounded really great, but I can't remember why, but we decided not to use it. Because, y'know, there's so much music to choose from that doing that song means leaving out something elseIn an interview conducted late Jul 2018, Anderson said that he is "planning something for 2020", possibly referring to ARW, although that is unclear. The interview continues, saying that Anderson talked about how "he keeps dreaming about "that perfect Yes album,"" before later saying, "It's something that's just percolating in my mind[.] I have no idea what it sounds or looks like, but I just know that the music that we're [ARW are] doing, to me, is pretty fantastic. When it will get recorded properly, who knows? Because we have great demos already, but the music, it's a question of timing. You realize when you get older, everybody has a life! One minute, we're going to do it in this period of time and you know, somebody can't do it at that period of time. Everybody's got work to do and stuff, and their own dreams, I suppose. So we do have some great music and it's a question of finding the right time. [The Aug/Sep 2018 US tour leg is] a short tour, and maybe after that, it will get done. I thought it was going to get done earlier this year , but it never did. Because, you know, everybody has a life!" In an early Sep 2018 interview, asked about the ARW album, Anderson said, "We're about halfway through what I think will be the Yes album that everybody's been waiting for." Asked to describe it, Anderson said, "Trevor thinks commercial, I think esoteric, and Rick thinks whatever he wants to think." In an interview conducted late Aug 2018, asked about new material, Anderson said, "It's been my mantra for the last five years that "It'll happen when it happens.""
Wakeman: Well, there's a bit.However, neither "Fragile" nor "Wonderous Stories" have been played live yet. In a Sep 2018 interview, Rabin said, "We've done a song, and there's a lot in the pipeline. I wrote a song called 'Fragile' for a TV series starring Sharon Stone. Rick had fantastic ideas for it. Jon got into it and sang beautifully.[...] We might do that one on this tour, because it sounds really nice live." In an Aug 2018 interview, Rabin said, "there is a lot of music that's been written and stuff that's been passed backwards and forwards", but on the subject of releasing that material, he continued:
Rabin: There's new music and there's a new intro... to the whole show.
Anderson: And I'm going to do a little new thing at the beginning of, er, a song called "Fragile". Not "Fragile", er... "Wonderous Stories".
I have no idea whether that's in the cards or not, but it's certainly not something I'm against and it's not something Jon or Rick is against[.] We've been offered a number of record deals but we don't want to commit to that, so we've turned them down. Doing a record contract is not something we want to do, and if we record then we'll record first and then decide what to do with it. There won't be some announcement that Yes signs to whatever. That's not something we're even interested in.An early Sep 2018 interview with Rabin was asked about "Fragile":
I have to be honest, one of the great things about this is that we've tried to do it where we haven't imposed a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves. We don't want to become this slogging the road, year after year, and just another boring old tour. We really want to do it so that every night is enjoyable and we feel there's a reason for doing it. Er, "Fragile" was something... it was actually a song I had written for a thing I was doing with Sharon Stone [i.e. Agent X] [...] I just thought, y'know, it's a really relaxed song, which is in contrast to the show, which is a bit kind of balls to the wall [...] it was just a song where Jon heard it and said, "Oh, that's got some magic to it [...] I'd love to sing on that." And, er, and so we did it. It wasn't a tremendous amount of pressure. We grabbed it, and Rick worked... worked pretty tirelessly putting, erm, what he thought would be the right thing, went through a number of connotations so that he could add what would be appropriate and, erm... It's kind of surprising, I guess, to some people, because, y'know, it's not particularly, erm, y'know, acrobatics or anything. It's just a really kind of, er, heartfelt song, so we enjoyed doing it.The interviewer then asked if there would be more new music: "Well, we hope so. I mean, the great thing about this [...] we've tried not to worry about putting pressure and obviously, from management, and promotion, they want to try to put things in stone and organise schedules. And we're all of the same mind, let's just play and let it take us where it takes us. So that's how we've approached it. We're not looking too far into the future, and we've said that from day one and we're still sitting here two years later doing it, so... I think it's a good plan."
the band are currently hard at work, creating some stellar new recordings for their 50th Anniversary. This will be the first new music in 28 years featuring Jon Anderson/Trevor Rabin/Rick Wakeman together [sic]. It is planned these will also be available for release by the end of 2018 or early 2019.There has been talk of releasing material piecemeal before or instead of an album. In a Jun 2017 interview, Anderson said, "I've working with Rick and Trevor. We've written a lot of music and we're just finding the time to record, er, next month [Jul 2017]. And then maybe in, er, trying to figure it out to go into the studio again in November and then again in January ", with the plan being to release the album in the 50th anniversary year of Yes, 2018. However, when Nov 2017 came, Wakeman was otherwise engaged, while in his Jan 2018 GORR, he talked of being busy in his own studio in Jan/Feb 2018 on a solo project. The delay may be related to Anderson's wife Jane being diagnosed with breast cancer around early Aug 2017, but she is now cancer free (as he described on Facebook in Jan 2018). Best wishes to the Andersons at this time. He has also been busy with his forthcoming solo album, A Thousand Hands. In his Feb 2018 GORR, Wakeman then said:
On the 7th, Erik Jordan and I will be recording bits and pieces to send over to Trevor and Jon as part and parcel of the new music we have been putting together and sending each other. It’s a good way of working when you all live so far apart!In his Mar 2018 GORR, he described plans for the second half of Mar and appeared to refer to work on an ARW album:
I then start work in earnest on a couple of pieces that Jon, Trevor and myself have been working on as well as making preparations for a new solo album [...]Asked about recording plans, the 1 Mar 2018 interview (published in Spanish) had Wakeman saying:
On the 24th I fly to Napoli for a piano concert that night. [...]
Then it’s more work in the studio which will spill over into April.
Pensamos mucho esa idea, algo con dos o tres temas muy buenos y tres o cuatro que estén bien. Entonces nos dimos cuenta que en estos días no tenés que sí o sí hacer un álbum, así que estamos trabajando en esos dos o tres temas muy buenos, los que realmente creemos que son los mejores y saldrán editados como un EP. Priorizamos esas canciones en lugar de hacer un disco por el simple hecho de registrar más música.Roughly translated, that is:
We thought a lot about that idea [of recording an album], something with two or three very good songs and three or four that are good. Then we realized that these days you do not have to make an album, yes we are working on those two or three very good songs, which we really believe are the best and will be released as an EP. We prioritise those songs instead of making an album for the simple fact of recording more music.Asked about the recording in a May 2018 interview, Anderson said his mantra is "It will happen when it happens". The full quote, as was translated into Portuguese, goes:
Está demorando o tempo necessário para gravarmos músicas novas. Às vezes, a música é o mestre e o meu mantra é: “acontecerá quando acontecer”.In an interview later that month, he was more positive and talked of an album, saying:
We have about an hours’ worth of new music written and we want to make a new album and just do something radically different. Trevor said he`d like to use a full orchestra and choir for it, like a film score. That would be the dream. We`ve actually done some recording that we`ll use for the beginning of the [live] show [on the 2018 European leg of touring]. There`s no song titles as yet but you will find out in time.He was then asked when the album will come out, at which point he referred also to a special project, more on which below: "It's all down to timing. We had a plan to do this big thing down in London earlier this year  but it didn't quite come off but we are looking to do something big, crazy and wonderful next spring so maybe the record will come out sometime after that."
It’s not even close to completed. What we have are a number of songs which are really, really close. As far as an album, I think what we’ll do is do it bit by bit and release it the minute it’s ready because these days the art form of making a record has kind of died with the emergence of downloading [...] we’ll probably just do it and release a track the minute it’s ready and then, once we have enough to do an album, then we’ll put the collection together.In an Aug 2017 interview with Wakeman and Rabin, Wakeman talked about plans for a special project connected with the new material. The exchange began with the interviewer asking about plans for new material:
Wakeman: It will be coming soon. Middle of next year . [...] We're working on a big project, which we can't really tell you anything about at the moment, but we've been putting it together and it's big, it really is big, and that will include, er, the new music. And that we should be able to announce early in the year .The interviewer then asked whether they think the public are less attentive:
Rabin: Yeah. Absolutely.
Wakeman: So that's very exciting for us, because we wanted the new music to mean something, be special, not just 'here's a new song'. [...]
Rabin: [...] in these days [...] if you play one of the new songs [...] you want to feel and see if it works. We've got loads of new material, but you play it once, and the next day it's on YouTube, so it's impossible to do. You've got to wait, be patient.
Wakeman: Because the trouble is, if you do that, it ends up on YouTube, I think, it's not as you want it to be for the recorded version. [...]
Wakeman: [...] I think they're losing out. Because of people who [mimes holding up smartphone] stand with their iPhone and do that, they're losing out because, when the new music appears [...] it's no longer as special as it should be, because of that [repeats mime] [...] which is a real shame. That's why we're doing the new music this way round. We're going to launch it, with a very, very special project. That will be the first time it's done. The album and everything will be around at the same time. So there'll be no need for people to go [repeats mime with an exaggerated gormless expression] like that with their iPhone. I hate them.The pair, however, didn't expand on the nature of this project. However, in an earlier Aug 2017 interview, Anderson described plans for a "visual installation", starting in London: "The idea is that we're going to be performing with the installation, and then we're going to make holograms of ourselves". The installation would then tour major cities. This may or may not be the same plan. In a Sep 2017 interview, he said:
Deep inside I would love the make a hologram of everyone who ever played in the band and tour forever……surrounded by visuals from AVATAR….performing everything we have ever dreamed of…A Nov 2017 edit on Wikipedia described Guy Protheroe (worked with Rick Wakeman, Jon Anderson, Vangelis) as "due to be appearing as chorus master for the 50th Anniversary Concert of Yes, with his long-term colleagues Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman." Could this be in reference to some special event too?
We're looking at new music, but we're very well aware for the last heaven knows how many years, there have been various Yes albums out since '90125' that have just been, for want of a better word, there has been some good stuff on some of them and not so good on some of the others and the albums have just disappeared.And in another that month:
We've been talking about Yes going to do new music, but it's got to be special and part of a project Yes fans can relate to, not just, 'Here's another album.'
An area that concerns all of us, and me in particular, is making new music that actually means something. There are bands in a similar situation that produce albums that the hardcore fans buy and then it disappears without a trace. Some of the reason why is because, even though we have a great fan base, that the industry has changed so much [...]In a Sep 2017 interview, asked about their new music, Rabin said:
For me, to make an album just to make an album of songs is not worth it. If there is a project like ‘Close to the Edge,’ something that has a plan with it, that is what I would like to see. It’s not that easy, but it is a discussion we are having.
I’m always having to apologize for that, because it’s just taking a long time. Not because it’s not going well. [...] There’s so many ideas, which we’ve kind of cataloged, “Oh, we’ve got to utilize that” and then we’re excited, so we didn’t finish through on something and we went to the next thing. So we have a ton of categorized pieces which we have together, and it’s just taking a long time to put it all together. But I think it’s going to result in something pretty special if we have the patience to get through it!In another Sep 2017 interview, asked if he knew when the album would be out, Pomeroy said, "not yet," and comment on both Wakeman and Rabin being busy with other projects. He continued, "there is a lot of music recorded now, and I've heard a lot of it. It's fantastic. [...] I'm, y'know, still due to play on it, pretty soon".
When Jon first got the album, he sent it back to me with his vocals on top of the stuff. It was very flattering but “It’s a fucking instrumental record, Jon.” [Laughs] But, you’re so right. That’s exactly where Jon wanted to go. Take stuff from Jacaranda and use it. There’s no reason why we couldn’t. So, at some point we might rehearse a song or two and see what we can do with it beyond instrumentals.(I'm unclear whether that latter comment refers to live performance or studio recording.) Rabin goes on to talk about being immersed in orchestral work for many years of doing film scores:
That’s something that I’m integrating into stuff. The good news is Jon started coming to a number of my orchestra sessions on a number of songs a couple of years back, and he was really happy being there [...] he’s one of the allies in doing that. “Look. It’s part of what you do. That’s part of who you are. [...] You should use it.” That’s seems to be the biggest change that would come to any new material.In a mid-Jul 2017 interview, Anderson talked of doing "some recording next year", i.e. 2018, and he went on to say "that'll probably be, be the last of my understanding of Yes music, because I still do other different kinds of music. So inside my heart, I always feel I'm doing Yes music". (Does that mean there will only be one ARW studio album?) In the Jul 2017 issue of Prog, Wakeman talked of a release by summer 2018. He described how "we've been throwing ideas backwards and forwards [...] We have got a lot of stuff that we want to look at [...] There's a couple of wonderful basic songs that need ARW-ifying, or Yes-ifying, however you want to put it. But [...] the best way to get the music actually sorted [...] is if you're all sitting in a room together." To that end, he talked of the trio coming together in the studio for around 3 weeks in late Jan/early Feb 2018 and then the three principals returning to their own studios for further work, but, as he puts it, but with "a template of what to work for". Anderson was quoted as saying: "We haven't finished any of the songs [...] but we've easily got over an hour's worth of musical ideas." And this from Rabin:
We had quite a bit of stuff which we were close to being ready to release. I listened to it [...] and thought, 'Ah, there's a couple of things that are missing on it.' So it's taken a bit of a back seat. I don't want it to sound too clean and contrived [...] I want it to be a little edgy [...] we'll go back and get it right. We don't want to rush it.In the interview conducted Jun 2017, Anderson said:
There's absolutely no desire to repeat what we've done in the past
[We've] got quite a lot of music [...] it's 50 years next year , so it might be the best time [for a new album] and we're planning on doing some recording in the winter. And we just want to do something different, y'know. Not different than what we perform. We love doing what we call—what I call—Yes music, a stylised idea. We're still going to stick with that. We're not just going to go all rock and roll, or jazz, or whatever. So we'll just do a mixture of everything.The Mar 2017 Czech interview has this from Wakeman:
Zatím jsme s novými věcmi velmi spokojeni a vypadá to, že do konce roku bychom mohli mít hotovo nějakých třicet minut materiálu.Thanks to Vojta at Yesfans.com for translating:
Chceme dělat hudbu Yes a chceme napsat i novou hudbu Yes, která by odrážela současnost. Deska vyjde někdy v roce 2018 a nechceme ji uspěchat. Nápady si posíláme už rok. A hlídáme si, aby to bylo dobré, což mi připomíná styl práce v sedmdesátých letech. I když teď bydlíme daleko od sebe, tak můžeme jednoduše komunikovat.
Je to takový mix. Pro nás jsou důležité melodie, a to velmi silné melodie, které si lidé mohou snadno spojit s emocemi. Určitě chceme udělat nějakou epickou skladbu, protože rádi podnikáme s hudbou cestu, kde objevujeme další a další zákoutí, něco jako Close to the Edge. Teď máme jednu takovou rozpracovanou s pracovním názvem Bolero. Ta skladba je jako kameny položené přes řeku, spousta různorodých zastávek a kroků.
We are very satisfied with the new songs so far and it looks like we could have about thirty minutes of material by the end of the year .An early Apr 2017 press release said "the trio will be recording new material throughout the summer for a projected album release of early 2018." A Mar 2017 interview with Anderson and Rabin reported "four long-form pieces ready with plans to return to the studio after the current tour" (which is 7 Mar-24 Apr 2017). It quotes Rabin: "I think by June, July we'll pretty much have half an album finished[.] It's very different from anything we've done before, which we're pretty happy about, hopefully breaking new ground, soundwise." Anderson added, "We don't know the best way to release them yet". This echoes earlier comments by Anderson about releasing new pieces online in stages rather than a traditional album format. In an interview at the Hall of Fame induction in early Apr, Wakeman said: "We've got three pieces that are well down the line that we're really pleased with and which we're working on. Hopefully by summer we should have them there. But we're not going to rush – we want them to be as good as we possibly can make them."
We want to play Yes music and we also want to write new Yes music that would reflect the present. The album will come out sometime in 2018 and we don't want to rush it. We have been exchanging ideas for a year. And we keep an eye on it being good, which is reminiscent of the style of work in the seventies. Even though we live far apart, we can communicate easily.
It is a mix of everything. Melodies are very important to us, very strong melodies that people can connect with their emotions. We also want to do an epic song because we like to go on a musical journey where we discover more and more corners, something like Close to the Edge. We are working on such song with the working title Bolero. This song is like stones laid across a river, a lot of different stops and steps.
We’re about a fifth of the way there. I can’t really describe the music, but hopefully it’s fresh and innovative. And what we are going to do, rather than do an album and then present it, is we’ll do a song or two and put it out and keep putting out songs as we finish them. So there’s not going to be some large picture as far as a concept album or anything. Once all the material is done, then we’ll encompass it and sequence it into an album, but in the meantime we’re going to be releasing all of it into individual songs.In another Apr 2017 interview, Rabin said:
Jon was at my studio [recently] putting final touches on a couple of tracks we’ve been working on and we’re just gonna do it song by song and bit by bit, and as we go along we’ll formulate what the whole concept is. But these days doing an album is very different to what doing an album was many years ago. It’s almost freeing, although I really miss the idea of an album and the album cover and the sequencing of the songs and the whole story that the album might develop into, but it’s also quite freeing having this kind of thing where you just put a song out.Work on new material was expected in Jan/Feb 2017, but it is unclear how much progress there was. Rabin posted on 21 Jan 2017 to Facebook:
I’m a bit of a stickler for polishing things up and getting them to where I think they’re perfect, and I know there’s two kinds of artists, there’s those that do that and then there are the others that are very prolific. Like Prince was very prolific, and I remember hearing that George Michael said to Prince or to his manager, one of Prince’s problems is he doesn’t edit himself. And I thought about it and I said that’s a good point, but at the same time, it’s another way of doing it. But I guess I’m on the other side of the equation with that.
Jon was at my studio this week and we're enjoying the new music.But Wakeman appears to have been in the UK through the period. In a Jan 2017 interview, Wakeman said:
Can't wait to get it done so you can have a listen.
We're sending lots of music to each other and working on different tracks...We're not setting ourselves any time limits...Any tracks that we do, we want them to be really special and good, and if they're not then they won't see the light of day...We're not going to be rushed -- 'Oh, you have to do an album. You have to do this.' It'll be ready when it's readyIn the Feb 2017 issue of Prog, Anderson described the new music as "powerful[.] It's wild, crazy, surreal, classic, what-the-hell-is-this Yes." He goes on:
We'd like to make a record that people get a chance to hear and see, because these days music is such a visual experience. It always has been [...] but while we've made some good videos, we've never made a great video. We want to create a great musical event and project it out into the world. We have the music, but for it to reach more people, they have to be able to see it as well as hear it. I said when we started that I didn't see any point in doing an album, and that we might do two or three songs every six months, but somehow visualise them.In another Jan 2017 interview, Wakeman said, "We're putting new music together but we're determined not to rush anything. [...] We've been offered all sorts of contracts, even before we started the tour. We said no, we want to do this properly." And in another Jan 2017 interview, Rabin said, "We're writing all the time. A number of record companies want an album. I have no interest in signing to a record company or doing an album. We are recording and will put out music when we're ready, on our terms. The idea of signing to a record company and doing an album is old and depressing." Asked about recordings on the Yes Music Podcast in Jan 2017, Pomeroy said, "it's happening and I'm gonna be a part of that. I've heard some of the stuff as well [...] back in August [...] there's some really fantastic music just waiting to be recorded". He went on to say that he would like to play some Chapman Stick (with Anderson and Wakeman both welcoming that suggestion) and fretless bass on the material. He concluded, "That will be happening at some point in the very near future, I think [...] I hope so, anyway."
We’ve written about an hour[’]s worth of music already. Unfortunately, this last summer Trevor got pneumonia when he went to South Africa for his son’s wedding. He was pretty sick for a while. Rick was finishing some projects as well. We couldn’t get into the recording studio. We recorded some demos before we started rehearsing… this was about September and they sounded really great. We didn’t want to take them on the road until we finished them properly. We will do that in January and February.In another interview published that month, but possibly conducted before the tour started, Anderson said, "I've got the lyrics for five or six songs in front of me". Rabin and Wakeman were asked about new music in a joint Sep 2016 interview with Planet Rock. Rabin explained how they had been talking about doing ARW for years: "we were all very busy, but in between all this, there were pieces of music and little, embryonic stage stuff that we would pass on to each other [...] One example, Rick wrote something that is [...] called "Bolero"[, a working title] [...] I got this thing and I thought, 'Oh my God, this is... this is amazing,' and I just kind of thought of what this could be once we've all done it, Rick's on it and Jon's on it. And I sent Rick stuff, and Jon stuff." Wakeman then interrupted to praise Rabin and the quality of material Rabin and Anderson had sent, continuing, "we're all quite different, so when you put all those different things together, it makes a [...] wonderful jigsaw." Rabin then continued, "It is a very different picture; one that you might not expect almost. [...] we have got quite a collection of things, but we just didn't want to do it quickly, and rush it out [...] Brian Lane [...] was kind of getting [the tour] [...] moving, and I think we were moving a little [...] more slowly. And next thing, this tour was up [...] and then [...] we decided, 'You know what? This will be a great tour for us to have some fun and, hopefully, the fans have some fun, and get us so tight that when we finish the tour, that's when we'll go into that [...] we're really thinking of it as [a] much more long-term thing". Wakeman again: "[I]t was actually Trev's idea, he said to us all [...] everybody really expects us—because we had loads of record company offers—everybody expects us: do an album, go out and tour the album, which does look like a bank raid thing [...] which is not what this is. This is a longevity thing [...] He can earn far much more doing his films, and, without being unkind, I can earn more doing solo stuff because divided by five, it's [?unclear] [...] Trev said, '[...] Why do we have to follow [...] 'oh yeah, do an album [...]'? No, no, let's play. This is a long-term thing. This doesn't all have to be done by next week.' [...] I'd like to think that people, including us, have waited this far for new music. To wait another year for something that's really special is hopefully worthwhile."
Trevor is a very powerful writer of music. I come in with some interesting lyrics and melodies. You bring Rick in on top and you’ve got a totally new sounding idea and a new sounding band. It is very exciting. [...] We will probably do two or three songs every three or four months. We will work it that way rather than do a complete album. I think the idea is to continue to celebrate the Yes music that we love and really develop this part of it slowly.
Rabin says that in the years leading up to this current reunion, members spent a lot of time talking about “ideas and concepts,” something which he says has been “invaluable to what this is.”Asked about new material in a Sep 2016 interview, Anderson replied:
“[It wasn’t about] getting together and smoking a little joint and going and jamming. It wasn’t that at all. It was really thinking about what we were going to do and also thinking about not letting thinking get in the way of the natural flow of the music [...] We’ve been thinking about it for a long time. In between films for years, I’ve been writing and Jon’s been hearing the stuff and has been really, really motivated to get moving on collaborating on that and Rick too. Rick recently sent me a piece of music that’s probably 20 minutes long, and it’s just breathtaking. I really do want to get this stuff going. It’s just not ready yet.”
We've written a lot of new music. Time wouldn't allow us to properly record this year , so we're going to probably record in January or February. We're not quite sure how or what we're going to record, but we have a lot of good music already we've worked on over the past few months. The most important thing is to establish ourselves. We're still an unknown quantity to the business. We're going to get out there and prove we're still good and still inventive and we still love what we do.Earlier reports had that an album or at least some sort of release would probably accompany the tour, with Anderson repeating this position into Jun interviews. However, around the same time, Wakeman laid out a delayed timetable. This is from an early Jun 2016 interview with Wakeman:
Trevor, quite rightly, said ‘Hey guys, we’re not going to rush into all of this. This is nuts. It’s going to take us enough hard work to put a great show together.’ [...] we can send music backwards and forwards and start working on bits and pieces, and maybe if we’ve got a couple of tracks ready to perform onstage or to do whatever, yeah, that would be great. If not, it’s not the end of the world, because we’ve got all of these months of working together and living in each other’s pockets. If we’re going to produce a full album, it’s got to be absolutely a cracking album. It’s got to be fantastic. So [we decided] not to rush into it, but just to make sure that when we do it, it’s really, really the right thing.In another Jun 2016 interview, Wakeman said: "The plan is, we had a lot of offers. We looked at doing a... shall we do a whole album, whatever. And we thought, no, hold on a minute. That's just really rushing things. It's wrong [...] OK, we'll start putting some music together, looking at it, thinking about it, and maybe, y'know, premiere one or two bits on the tour. But then after we've done the tour, we've really got to know each other again playing wise and what we can do. That's the time to really do an album [...] Otherwise, it's a bit rushed and it's a bit, um, y'know, I think we would all regret it if we rushed into something." And in his Jul 2016 interview, Wakeman said:
As soon as it leaked out what we were doing, it was nuts. We had lots of offers from various record labels. “Oh, come and make an album.” It’s very tempting to say, “Yeah, great, let’s make an album,” but we sat down and said, “This is doing it for the wrong reasons.” Yes, we’ve all got music, we’ve been throwing music back and forth towards each other with ideas of things we want to do and there is some great stuff. But we decided what’s best is to go out and play together and really get to know each other again. We’ll continue the writing during the tour, and after the tour, we can do some more recording, put some more tracks together. We may do it as a CD EP, we may do it as a single track, we may do it as an album, but we’ll be doing it for the right reasons when the music is ready.Similarly, Rabin confirmed in a mid-Jun 2015 interview that song ideas have been worked on by trio file sharing, but that the timetable for new music has been delayed: "I don't want to rush these songs[.] We've had offers from different record companies, but we've said no. We want control over the vision for our songs. Once you start listening to record company executives, then you lose sight of what you wanted to do in the first place." In an Aug 2016 interview, Rabin said, "[The project] actually started purely just to do new music. We started working on that. Then the touring aspect came up. That seems to have taken over and we'll end up releasing new music." In an early Sep 2016 interview, Anderson said:
I’m coming over to see Trev in the beginning of August to put some keys down on a couple of tracks that we’ve been working on. If they’re ready in time, we may well do one in time, we may release it as a single piece, I don’t know. But what we’re not doing is we’re not going down the old road of, “Oh, you’ve got to make an album before you tour.” No, we don’t have to do that at all. We can go out, play music, maybe include some new stuff, certainly throw in some new surprises and certainly some new arrangements of some of the classic Yes material.
We have some songs based on music from all of us really – very intense to very ethereal. It's really typical Yes energy.In the Jul 2016 interview, Anderson said, "It was supposed to be both [a recording and touring project], but we've run out of time." He went on to say that they are "rehearsing [new pieces] now. I have about about three pieces. And then there's a long piece that Rick wrote early this year  that I'm juggling with. I think it can work. It might work out that we'll tour and then record some more and then tour and then record some more. That kind of thing over the next year  or so." In an 8 Jul Facebook post, Rabin said, "We're still working hard on the new material." Anderson talked about the new material in the Aug 2016 issue of Prog:
We'll probably release EPs, but we will wait until the new year  to record them.
I heard it... Trevor's done some power-rock tracks for some of the record; it's really bananas. Then I put some ideas on them... so it became furious, cinematic. There's long-form material too [...] it goes from one extreme to another!In an Aug 2016 interview, seemingly conducted in Jul or earlier, Anderson said, "We're just working on writing. We've just done some writing these last couple of months. [...] So now we're going to get together in July, August, rehearse in September". Asked about when they might record a new album, he said, "I think we're just going to record three or four songs, not so much an album. I don't think albums are really relative [sic] at the moment, from my standpoint. I'd rather do, er, projects, we call them, so if we do three or four songs and then, as for touring, write a couple of more things, and then... in between touring, finish off them, so next spring, a couple more songs for the European tour... I like that idea. [...] I'd rather just do, sort of, ideas now and again. I think it's just a different way of thinking. We can release music all the time." In his Newsweek interview, published the same month, Anderson said, "We've written some music and song ideas, not necessarily to put an album out but to sort of implant them into the show here and there." Later, asked about recording new material, he replied:
Oh yeah, that’s for sure. We’ve actually written a lot of ideas. It’s a question of finding the right time. [...] It was just a question of “well, let’s get the tour going, let’s go on tour and do a couple of new songs for fun, let’s go on tour and feel who we are.” So, by the time we actually record, we know who we are and the recording will be a lot simpler than going in and trying to stick it together with superglue.In a Jul 2016 interview, Molino said that a couple of new tracks are "close" to being completed. In a 15 Aug 2015 Facebook update discussing the ARW rehearsals, Anderson shared an audio sample of him entitled "To be Alive" (but without apparent connection to the Yes song of that name). The piece consists of multitracked vocals with simple keyboard accompaniment. He did not explain the context for this piece, but it may be connected to some new music from the band.
we've been recording some ideas over the last couple of months. We're going to get into it next week. Trevor is going to start work on it later this week, and, er, Rick's going to be involved transatlantic through the Internet. We've got a design, musically designed, to aim for. And I think we might have it all, sort of, tied up by August, and then we'll start rehearsing for a tourHowever, Anderson subsequently echoed Wakeman's and Rabin's comments. A late Jun 2016 interview with Anderson had this reply when he was asked about releasing an album: "I'm not sure an album is the right move, new songs yes, we are con[c]entrating on a concert, making a statement of music is the whole point of the adventure, music is the driving force." And asked if they had "started working on new music" in a Jul 2016 interview, Anderson replied: "Yes, we want to do something creatively new. [...] We won't have a new album per se, but we will have new pieces of music and we will figure how to release it once it's done." Later in that interview, Anderson also mentioned using "new music with Trevor" in some videos he is doing with daughter Deborah around the Anderson/Stolt release, Invention of Knowledge: see here for more. It is unclear whether this "new music with Trevor" is part of the new Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman repertoire or something else.
We [Anderson and Rabin] got together last week, and, er, we actually put together the format for the album, because we've been working on music for the last three months, sending MP3s to each other, same with... Rick, so we have the format for the concert idea and the album idea. We might release it in three parts because there's long music in there, long-form music [...] the last time I worked with Trevor [...] [on] Talk [...] I actually stayed at his house for about three weeks and we put it together in the studio, and we're going through the same sort of process nowIn another Jun 2016 interview, Roine Stolt, who has been working with Anderson on a collaboration, said:
Jon and Rick and Trevor, they’re getting together to write music. As we know, it’s a long process. It’s going to take a long time for them to come up with something. Trevor is writing music. When we met in Los Angeles [which I think was May or Jun 2016], Jon tried to describe the music Trevor was coming up with. He said it wasn’t like traditional Yes music. He told me it was a little different. So they’ve been working on that for a long timeWakeman continued in the Prog article that the three of them have "been exchanging music and ideas for the last five years and we're at the stage where we've got some material that we're all over the moon with. The interesting thing is that although we all write quite differently, when you put those three elements together, it produces something quite remarkable. Does it sound like Yes? I would be bloody surprised if it didn't!" Wakeman adds: "I wouldn't say it's the last hurrah[.] We just really want to do something special." To a later edition of Prog (Aug 2016), Wakeman said the new material will be "75 per cent classic Yes... The most distinguishing feature of true Yes is Jon's voice so that will be there for a start. [...] I'm really pleased that we've not been rushed into it because we really want it to be special." In his Apr 2016 GORR, Wakeman said:
Anderson / Rabin & Wakeman continues to gain pace and all is looking tremendous. Performance dates are coming in thick and fast and the new music is just everything I believed it could be. [...] as I write this GORR I know that Jon is actually spending a few days with Trevor before Trev scoots off to South Africa for his son’s wedding.
The band's website, which appeared mid-May 2016, also described the trio as "working on new songs, which are currently being recorded."
In a Mar
2016 interview, Anderson said, "I'm working with Trevor and
Rick already on some musical concepts, so we start, er, next week
a few things—I'm going down to see Trevor. And then we'll get
together in June, in July and finish the concept and then
hopefully we will tour later this year  in the USA and then,
next year , go to Europe and around the world if we can
[...] My understanding of Yes music is still very, very
strong. I never let go of Yes music; it's part of my DNA." In a 25
May 2016 interview, Anderson said he would be working with
Wakeman and Rabin "next week". In the Apr interview, Anderson also
describes working on a song with Wakeman "about the idea that we
are now ready to move on, consciously, into traveling space and
time. There is new technology that's going to push us in that
direction. We have to get rid of the limitations, and realize that
we are limitless beings." It is not explicit whether this is for
the ARW project or something else. In the Apr 2016
radio interview, Anderson said: "I was working on a couple
of songs yesterday that me and Trevor have sort of designed. And
then this other piece of music that I'm working with Rick. [...]
Then in June, July [...] me, Rick and Trevor will get together
[...] and put together this album, because we feel it's our time
to do it [...] our destiny to do a really good and very,
very powerful album." He later added, "I went down 10 days ago for
a couple of days with him [Rabin], three days, and, er, we worked
out all the music we're going to do and more." The interview
published 16 Jun 2016 had Anderson saying he was going to see
Rabin "next week".
A set list for touring in 2020-1 has not yet been discussed, according to Wakeman in the Oct 2019 interview, but he did talk about his own preferences:
there are certainly pieces and things I’d like to bring in. It depends which era you pick from. There are lots of things we haven’t touched and I liked the way we took some of the old ones and changed them — like “Awaken,” [...] I’d like to see pieces from Going for the One or “Arriving UFO” [...] Maybe we could do “Siberian Khatru” or even “Close to the Edge.”
The set for their first few US shows on their most recent leg was: intro music, "Cinema", "Hold On", "I've Seen All Good People", "Changes", "And You and I", (the band's 26 Aug set list gave "Fragile/Touch" (see above) here, but it wasn't played), "Rhythm of Love", "Perpetual Change", (the band's 26 Aug set list gave "Wonderous Stories"/"Soon" here, but they weren't played; they were again listed, but in parentheses, for their 29 Aug show, but still not played), "Lift Me Up", "I am Waiting", "Heart of the Sunrise", "Awaken", "Make It Easy" intro/"Owner of a Lonely Heart"/"Sunshine of Your Love" extract, "Roundabout". In an Aug 2018 band interview, they talked about adding "Wonderous Stories" and "Soon" to the set, but this hasn't occurred yet. The band's written set list for their debut show included those and "Fragile", but they were not played. In an interview conducted late Aug 2018, Anderson explained that it was Rabin who wanted to do "Lift Me Up" and he who wanted to do "I am Waiting".
The set at the first 3 European shows of their 2018 touring was: new taped intro music (approx. 2 minute original recording by the band), "Cinema", "Hold On", "South Side of the Sky", "And You and I", "Changes", "Perpetual Change", "I've Seen All Good People", "Rhythm of Love", "I am Waiting", "Heart of the Sunrise", "Awaken", "Make It Easy" intro/"Owner of a Lonely Heart"/"Sunshine of Your Love" extract; encore: "Roundabout". They played a shorter set (90 minutes), with a different order, on their fourth date, at the Sweden Rock festival: "Cinema", "Hold On", "South Side of the Sky", "I've Seen All Good People", "Changes", "And You and I", "Rhythm of Love", "Heart of the Sunrise", "Make It Easy" intro/"Owner of a Lonely Heart"/"Sunshine of Your Love" extract; encore: "Perpetual Change", "Roundabout". In Newcastle, they played the longer set, except with "Perpetual Change" dropped. The next show, York, they dropped "South Side of the Sky" and played "Perpetual Change" earlier in the set. In a May 2018 interview, Anderson said:
We tried to do Starship Trooper last year  and for some reason it just didn`t work. Rick just mentioned that the other day and suggested we try it again but with a better ending. I won`t tell you how it worked out this time, you`ll have to wait and see. [...] We will probably do a couple of new songs that we have been working on together.
On 20 May 2018, Wakeman
tweeted, "back to rehearsals today [...] Some really nice
changes to the set we did in the UK last year  including a
fabulous new piece. I have made a new set list". Both Wakeman's
and Anderson's references to "new songs" appear to have meant old
compositions that were new to the set. However, later in that same
interview, when asked about writing new material, Anderson said
that, "We've actually done some recording that we'll use for the
beginning of the show." This is a short piece used as intro music
before the band start playing.
The set on their 2017 North American leg began as follows:
"Cinema", "Perpetual Change", "Hold On", "South Side of the Sky",
"And You and I", "Lift Me Up", "Rhythm of Love", "I am Waiting",
"Heart of the Sunrise", "Awaken", "Make It Easy" intro/"Owner of a
Lonely Heart"/"Sunshine of Your Love" extract; encore:
"Roundabout". This was 2 new songs compared to prior touring:
Wakeman had tweeted of more changes on 24 Aug, "Rehearsals going
really well. Changed 3 pieces". He later revealed this third track
to be "It Can Happen", which they haven't played yet. "And You and
I" and "Lift Me Up" have been played in the other order, and on
later shows, "Changes" has sometimes been played instead of "Lift
Me Up". In an Oct
2017 interview, conducted around Aug, shortly before
rehearsals started, Rabin said: "Jon suggested "America" and Rick
really didn't want to play it. To be honest I wasn't for it. I
always said to Jon that the version by Simon & Garfunkel is so
incredible, leave well enough alone. But, we are doing songs like
"It Can Happen"". In an Oct
2017 interview, Wakeman said "Starship Trooper" (played once
on their first leg) "needed a rest". In another interview
published Oct 2017, Rabin said: "I enjoyed doing "Starship
Trooper" for a while [when he was first in Yes] but I'm kind of
sick of it."
On the first 2 dates of their latter European leg, festival show
on 13 and 15 Jul, they played: "Cinema", "Perpetual Change", "Hold
On", "I've Seen All Good People", Molino solo (not
certain if included on 15 Jul), "Lift Me Up", "And You
and I", "Rhythm of Love", "Heart of the Sunrise", "Long Distance
Runaround/The Fish"/Pomeroy solo, "Awaken", "Make It Easy"
intro/"Owner of a Lonely Heart"; encore: "Roundabout". This was a
2 hour show.
On their Japanese leg, the band played their usual set, as below,
including "The Meeting", but they dropped "Long Distance
On Mar 2017 UK dates, the set was usually: intro music:
orchestral "Perpetual Change", "Cinema", "Perpetual Change", "Hold
On", "I've Seen All Good People", Molino solo, "Lift Me Up", "And
You and I", "Rhythm of Love", "Heart of the Sunrise", "Changes",
"Long Distance Runaround/The Fish"/Pomeroy solo, "Awaken", "Make
It Easy" intro/"Owner of a Lonely Heart", encore: "Roundabout".
They also played "The Meeting" on some dates (e.g., 18
& 19 Mar) at the beginning of the second set. The opening
night of their European plus tour, 7 Mar in Tel Aviv, had
basically the same set, but Rabin also played the Israeli national
anthem ("Hatikva") in a solo before "Changes". In Manchester (25
Mar), they played without "The Meeting" and without an interval.
The opening night set in the US was: "Cinema", "Perpetual
Change", "Hold On", "I've Seen All Good People", "And You and I",
"Rhythm of Love", "Leaves of Green", "Awaken", "Long Distance
Runaround", "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)", "Roundabout",
"The Meeting", "Heart of the Sunrise", "Make It Easy (intro)/Owner
of a Lonely Heart", encore: "Starship Trooper" (with a
short quote from "I Can't Look Away"). "Soon" was
written on a set list to come after "Starship Trooper", but was
not performed. The set was just over 2 hours. Wakeman tweeted
shortly before the second show: "changing the set a little even
though we enjoyed the Orlando set..So much music to choose from".
The set at the next several shows, at 2 hours long, was: "Cinema",
"Perpetual Change", "Hold On", "I've Seen All Good People", "Lift
Me Up", "And You and I", "Rhythm of Love", "Heart of the Sunrise",
"Long Distance Runaround/The Fish", "The Meeting", "Awaken", "Make
It Easy intro/Owner of a Lonely Heart"; encore: "Roundabout". At
the 22 Oct show and onwards, "Heart of the Sunrise" was moved to
after "Rhythm of Love", with "Changes" added after it and the
abbreviated version of "Roundabout" used. At the 29 Nov 2017 show,
shortly after Rabin had missed a show due to a viral infection,
they dropped "Lift Me Up", "Changes" and "The Meeting". Subsequent
shows were the same, or just dropped "The Meeting".
Rabin said in one interview that they dropped "Starship Trooper"
because neither he nor Wakeman played on the original, while in
Rabin said the reason was it was a bit "long in the tooth" and had
been played so often. In his Aug 2016 GORR, Wakeman described a
week of rehearsals: "We tried out lots of the classic YES pieces
and also played around with some of the arrangements which in most
case, really worked fantastically, and in the cases where the
changes didn't work, we laughed out loud and ditched them!" Rabin
said in a Nov
2016 interview that, "We rehearsed... er... way more than we
could do." He went on to say that they had rehearsed "Shoot High,
Aim Low". In an Oct
2016 interview, during final rehearsals, Wakeman said, "We
decided that, pretty much the rule of the music would be that at
least two of us had to have played on the original music that
we're doing…whether that was Jon and Trevor or Jon and me…and that
would include live stuff as well…and it's worked extremely well."
(The "live stuff" clause, which rather appears to contradict the
phrase "on the original music", appears to explain how several
parts of the set fit that criterion. In a Mar
2017 interview, Wakeman explained that the choice of
"Perpetual Change" as the second song was Pomeroy's: "We wanted to
open with something that nobody would suspect that we would even
think about doing.")
In an Oct
2017 interview, Rabin explained their set list choices and
how it changes:
we kind of go from what we feel we really have to do, like “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and “Roundabout” and then [...] it comes down to what we really like playing and those get put aside and then the ones we call the disposable ones we’ll see if we want to change those [...] so the three of us choose the material and we discuss it and debate which would be the good ones to do and once we do that, we rehearse it and the deciding comes up to everything because of time and also ‘Ok, we’ve got these repeated and this one or that one, we can’t do both and if we do one, we can do that instead of the other, etc.,’ so I think that really puts it in a nutshell of how we go about choosing.
In an interview with Prog, Wakeman implied that the band
were planning to include solo material by the three. Asked about
this idea in the Nov
2016 interview, Anderson replied, "We rehearsed so many
ideas, but found that celebrating Yes music became the focus. We
have so many songs to choose from, we would be playing all night
into the morning pleasing everyone." In another interview
published that month, but possibly conducted before the tour
started, Anderson said, "I'd like to hear Trevor do one of his
pieces of music from a movie [...] I'd like to hear Rick do some
Anderson, in the Newsweek
We’ve written some music and song ideas, not necessarily to put an album out but to sort of implant them into the show here and there. A little bit of fresh musical ideas and, I can safely say, redesigning what we would think Yes would be doing in the 21st century.
The old classics, but sort of, as I said to Trevor, why don’t we just make it more cinematic, 'cause that’s what he does. So put on a visually great show and musically great show.
He also described a plan of "let's go on tour and do a couple of
new songs for fun". In a Sep
2016 interview, Anderson implied they would play "a couple
of songs" from Talk, but these were absent from the tour.
In an Oct
2016 interview (probably conducted in Sep), Rabin said: "We
took a lot of Yes songs and stripped them down to nothing, then
reconstructed them differently[.] Rick is calling it 22nd century
Yes." In an early
Oct 2016 interview, Wakeman explained how he and Rabin, in
wishing to "keep all the ingredients but go another stage
further", came up with the idea that, with the YesWest tracks he
wasn't originally on, Wakeman "would imagine I was in the
band at the time, and what would I have done." And "Trev's done
exactly the same with the pieces he wasn't on, like "Long Distance
[Runaround]" and "Roundabout". And it really works [...] it gives
the whole thing a whole new meaning. [...] All the ingredients are
there but there's a load more ingredients been thrown in". One
report around the beginning of the tour had that it is Wakeman who
is blocking any Talk material. However, in an unpublished
extract from an Oct
2016 interview (done before the tour started), Rabin
answered the question of the lack of Talk material:
Rick had nothing do with that -- he wasn’t involved in that -- and I’m not sure how fair it would be to kind of throw that on his lap. But we’ll see what he feels about it and if it fits into the songs we’re doing, then yeah, maybe we’ll do it. It’s not certain yet, although Jon’s pushing real hard. But I haven’t decided how I feel about it yet and I’m not sure Rick would want to do it.
Rabin subsequently said in the Nov 2016
interview that they will "look at" doing "Endless Dream" on
the tour's next leg in Israel/Europe, having not rehearsed it
before the US leg, although it was on their list of possibilities.
Anderson said on stage at the San Francisco show that they will be
playing new material on tour in summer 2017.
In the Sep 2016 interview, Anderson ruled out playing any new
material live. Asked whether the set gives equal balance to the
'70s and '80s, he replied: "It's a pretty good balance. I think
that music of Yes spans 30 or 40 years." He also said they would
play for 2 hours, with no intermission, and that the set would not
change over the tour. In a Sep
2016 interview, Rabin also ruled out new material (because
it would be shared online), but he suggested the set could vary
from night to night, saying: "We rehearsed a lot and really worked
hard at trying to decide what songs to perform. We have six hours
of material and we pulled each song apart and re-worked and
revised and we have enough to make each show a bit different. We
can't play six hours in one night (laughs); or can we?"
In a Jul
2016 interview, Rabin talked of a long play time for the set
and of how most of the 'YesWest' tracks have been considered for
inclusion, including possibly "Shoot High, Aim Low". In one of the
2016 interviews, Wakeman talked of how the tour will be "an
evening of Yes music [...] [plus] a few other surprises and things
thrown in as well [...] a two-hour show, nice production and, with
no disrespect to anyone else, it will just be lovely to hear the
Yes songs sung by Jon again." The interviewer asked what the "and
more" of the tour will be: "none of us can really tell you what
all of the 'and more' is going to be, because until... we've got a
long period of rehearsals scheduled [...] I'm flying over
to LA to meet with Jon and Trev when we're going to discuss all
the possibilities and what we can do. One of the things that we
definitely want to do is to... the Yes music that we're going to
do, it won't be done as we've always done it. We are going to try
and... obviously keep it very much Yes, with a Yes sound, which is
how we play anyway, but we want to try and, um... not update,
that's the wrong expression, but we want to try and do is make it
a bit different. So it sounds weird, but the same but, er, with a
new lease of life." In an Aug
2016 interview, Rabin talked further about re-arranging Yes
material: "That's going to be a big part of what we're doing. We
really wanted to look at them in different ways, find different
ways of approaching them [...] without any preconceived ideas of
where they've been, what they have been. Obviously, they are what
they are. We're not going to, hopefully, ruin them. (laughs)"
In an Aug
2016 interview, asked about touring plans, Anderson said,
"That's all I want to do, a wild and amazing show. [...] if it works,
people will get it [...] You can't go around really saying, OK,
we're going to go along, on tour, we're going to be like a Yes
band. We'll obviously do some Yes music, 'coz we wrote it. Y'know,
I wrote a lot of music with Trevor and 90125 and Talk
[...] Talk is a great album [...] of course, I've written
a lot of things with Rick, and that encompasses a show all
together with maybe some standard, classic Yes pieces [...] But,
generally, we just want to put on a great show that people love."
In the Jul
2016 interview, Anderson said: "Of course, a lot of fans
want to hear us do Yes music, so we are working on songs from Talk
and 90125. Rick has always wanted to work with Trevor, so
we are picking out some classic Yes some and rearranging them like
we did with Anderson/Ponty. I don't know how we are doing them
yet, but I can hear it in my head. We are going to put on a great
show to explain why we got together. The magic of the songs will
still be there. We won't be a tribute band." In one of the Apr
2016 interviews, Anderson said the tour will include "two or
three songs from Talk", as well as new material. Right at the
beginning of the Apr radio interview, Anderson said they will play
"I am Waiting". Later on, one of the interviewers said that, prior
to the broadcast, Anderson had said that "Mind Drive" might be
played in the set. Anderson then interjected: "No, no, no, parts
of it will work with this new piece that Rick sent over that I've
been working on. I'm thinking, how to work on vignettes, so, er,
this track will be going along […] jump into "Mind Drive" […] then
back into the next part of this new movement. […] We have the right
to go in and out of our older music, into the newer music and
interweave them". Then, asked what Yes songs they will play, he
said: "Definitely, erm, "Perpetual Change" […] and we'll do the
same thing. We're going to use a vignette of the main section
towards the end and then go into the original song and then that
will lead us into a new song. I think that's what we're going to
try and do. We're going to try and balance out, so that we're not
only presenting the music in a fresh way, but also in a very
creative way." Anderson describes what seems like a similar
approach in the Aug 2016 issue of Prog:
It'll be a mix of Yes music and our new material. I can hear everything in my head [...] in a way I don't want it to be too like Yes: we want to use a more 21st-century sound, which, given new technology, is how we record. For instance, South Side Of The Sky — we've learned now how to project that best. And we might switch things around... start with that section in the middle, come back [...] we'll rearrange things in line with our perceptions.
Likewise, in the Jul 2016
interview, Anderson said, "I think we're gonna go on stage
and do some classic Yes music from early '70s to late '80s [...] a
couple of songs from the Talk album [...] three songs from
the 90125 album, and then some of the really good, early
Yes songs and some... Just some ideas that I've been thinking
about, how to re-investigate ideas, re-design some musical Yes
sections and ideas".
In the Inside
MusiCast interview, Anderson also talked about live work:
We want to do something very, very different. [...] We don't want to be. 'Well, let's get together and do the old stuff', y'know? We don't want to do that. But what we want to do is, we want to revamp what Yes was through [the] years. It's like, I'm going through a very strong affirmation [...] I had Yes in my DNA for 35 years, it never left me.
He again talked about "Mind Drive", saying, "we want to
incorporate it with our work, with a piece of music that Rick
Wakeman has come up with which is a very similar sort of attitude,
so we might mould them together for the tour. The idea is to be
adventurous." In another May
2016 interview, Anderson said, "I think we're going to
really challenge ourselves. We don't want to just go on there and
put a show together and just do Yes music from the old days and
stuff. No, we want to advance our understanding of Yes music into
the 21st century." In The Prog Report interview, Anderson was
asked if the band would play 1970s material as well as 1980s
material; he replied: "Yeah. It's a combination of both [...] it's
a question of how we present it [...] to the audience, that we're
very concerned that we're doing the right thing [...] that we
honour the history of our work with Yes". Earlier in that
interview, in the context of his work in the Anderson
Ponty Band, he was asked how he approached playing material
first recorded in different acts:
It's forty years later. […] You just kinda want to do them a little bit more updated. Erm, if it was the same band as the seventies band, you're going to play it like that. But if you're working with another band of musicians, you're going to play it different. So, I would generally want to push the envelope a bit and start doing some very different styles of music around songs like "Long Distance Runaround" or […] "Wonderous Stories". Same goes for Anderson Rabin Wakeman. We're going to be doing a lot of classic Yes songs, but we both – me and Trevor – started talking about how to re-create them in a more cinematic way with more adventurous [sic]. So, you tend to not want to be just performing them the old way, which is beautiful, but you want to perform them in a fresh way.
In Wakeman's Jun
2016 interview, he said the tour would include "new bits and
pieces", and then continued:
One of the things that we want to do with the music is look at each of the tracks individually and look at the strengths and highlights of each of the tracks and try to take it to another level[.] We don’t want to do it as it was on the record or indeed, as Yes music has always sort of been played. We want to try and take it to another level. But we’re certainly not taking away all of the elements and the sound that the songs made.
Asked about the set, he said he would like to see "Roundabout", "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Changes", material from Fragile and Going for the One, and, "there's a couple of tracks on Tormato I wouldn't mind seeing thrown in. [...] we've got a plethora of music to choose from. I think the thing will be, How do we balance it out? How do we showcase the Yes music and showcase what we want to do with it? We've got two months where we'll be sorting that all out."
Rabin initially teased with two brief social media messages on 6
& 9 Jan, but it is Wakeman who first gave details in his Jan 2016 GORR:
I’ll start with Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman (the current working name for the time being).
Jon, Trevor and I have been talking about this for some time and following the very sad passing of Chris, felt it was the right time to get together and produce both new music and perform some of the classic material as we feel it should be performed.
We have no connection with any other former members and indeed intend this to be very fresh in every approach. We will have other experienced side musicians working with us and it does appear that musicians are lining up wanting to be a part of it. We know what sort of musicians we are looking for and so hopefully in the not too distant future we will be able to make an announcement accordingly.
The band [...] will be managed by Brian Lane at United Stage Artists. Brian managed the original YES during the 1970s and was also instrumental in putting ABWH together and has managed my musical side of things for the last three years.
We are already writing new material and swapping ideas back and forth and what I’ve heard so far is quite amazing. Very fresh, full of life, energy and melody. I have sent stuff to Jon and Trev who will hopefully add some great ideas on top of my ideas.
The plan is to play a few festivals in the summer and then to tour fully in 2017. [This last bit seems now to have changed: see Wakeman's more recent comments.]
In an 11
Jan 2016 Facebook post, Anderson said: "at last I will start
singing with Trevor and Rick later in the year  as ARW, we
have been writing some unique songs together , and feel it is time
to go out together and perform on stage". Jamie Glaser, who works
with Anderson in the Anderson
Ponty Band, also commented in a 10 Jan Facebook
They are doing a new band, have some unique music they have and are writing, and they will be doing a reinvention of YES as well. ( meaning some YES songs their way)
In the Mar 2016 issue of Prog, Lane said the group "to me epitomises everything that is great — past, present and future — about Yes."
I had a memorial for Chris Squire at my house. He had been talking to me about getting together with the band, with Yes, for a number of years. But I’ve been doing film scoring, been very busy [...] it’s just something I wasn’t into at the time. Plus, I didn’t want to be involved without Jon being the singer. Then Jon and I started talking about three or four years ago. He started coming to a couple of my orchestra sessions. We started … getting together again after a long time.In an Aug 2016 interview, Anderson said, "He [Rabin] kept saying to me, 'Well, we should get together. Me, you and Rick.' [...] I said, 'Yeah, well, give me a call when you're ready.' And he called me [...] this last Christmas  and said, 'I think I'm ready. I've had enough of this film score stuff.'" In a Sep 2016 interview, he gave this account: "I think it was the middle of last year  when Rick phoned me and said, "Is there any chance Trevor is going to stop making movies?" I said, "Well, I can ask him." [...] He just said, "Maybe next year  we can get together." We made a commitment for two or three years. The next step would obviously be to see if anyone remembers us and knows we're good. We got a good reaction from Larry Magid, who is one of the classic concert promoters in America. He said he'd love to put on a tour. [...] Brian Lane and Larry Magid got their heads together and started sort of planning the tour possibilities. Here we are." Wakeman said in an Oct 2016 interview that when he and Anderson toured, "all the time" they said the next step was to assemble a full band to play Yes music how they felt "it should be played", and that Rabin was the only person they wanted on guitar. He also said how he and Rabin had talked about working together on the Union tour.
Rick and I had always promised ourselves after The Union Tour that we wanted to play together. That’s kind of how it all started. Larry [Magid, tour promoter] was very interested in getting involved. It just kind of got together from there.
In an interview
with Anderson from around May 2013, asked about the
collaboration, he said:
Well, I made the mistake of mentioning it once, and obviously a lot of people want to know what’s happening, and it was just one period of time about a year and half ago or so when I was seeing Trevor quite a lot and we’d been writing a couple of songs and we talked about maybe working with Rick. It’s funny because you spend time talking ideas and then six months later you’ve stopped talking about them, and then Rick’s busy and Trevor’s doing another movie and I’m on tour. It was very hard to bring it together, and at the moment we’re sort of in limbo.
2013 interview with Anderson had saying: "there's now some
talk of Rick and I doing an album with Trevor Rabin. Rick's doing
some music so I'll send that off with some vocals on it to Trevor
and he may put some guitar on it if he's not too busy composing
another film score." And then in another May 2013 interview, he
said that he, Rabin and Wakeman would like to tour playing Talk
with another couple of musicians. In
an interview in the Spring 2013 issue of Progression
magazine, Rabin said:
We've let it slide for a long time because I've been busy. Jon and I have never been closer, Rick and I were never anything but close. We really want to try to do something. [...] So I'm not sure when or how, but the intent is stronger now that it has been. We've been talking conceptually, but not really trading musical ideas.
He also said that he would like to use Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters, worked
with Jon Davison, Chris Squire, Alanis Morissette, Coheed and
Cambria) on drums, who is "really into" the idea.
The initial idea for the project was in early 2010. In 2011, it
emerged that plans had shifted to the main activity being in 2012.
By early 2012, Anderson was being cautious in his descriptions. A
2012 interview had this:
We talked about it, we wrote a
couple of things together, Trevor got sidetracked, we talked
about this year . We haven’t really finalized a
time. It’ll happen when it happens. That’s my new mantra: ‘It
will happen when it happens.’
The article then continues:
is there any chance of
Anderson, Wakeman and Rabin hitting the road and playing Yes
songs? “No, I don’t think so.”
“Rick’s recording as we speak,” Anderson says. “He said he’d send me some music this month or next month. And then I would send it to Trevor. We’d actually written a couple of songs, me and Trevor, and me and Rick have written a couple.” Last time, Anderson said he couldn’t imagine an Anderson/Wakeman/Rabin tour, but he may have warmed up to the idea. If they do tour, fans shouldn’t expect a Yes “greatest hits” show.
“If we make music that we really like, and we put it out there, we’ve got a good fan base who wants to see us do new music… I don’t think we’d want to go out just doing old music, I don’t see the point. I’d rather go out there and do some new music, of course, you’d do old stuff that people want to hear. But you don’t rely on that as your show. You want to take some new music out there and have an adventure.”
2012 interview then had this:
Anderson: It will happen when it happens. I'm never that sure when it will happen, but I just know it will happen. I'm in touch with Rick and Trevor all the time. They're busy doing things [...] I'm busy doing things, but we've talked about some ideas we've come up with and music that we've come up with and it's really a question of timing. Maybe next year  is going to be the year.
Interviewer: [...] who will be on drums and bass?
Anderson: Got no idea at all. We talked about getting an ensemble on stage with three of us, rather, you know, than five or six or seven other musicians. [...]
Interviewer: Do you think it will be something you do in a virtual studio or do you think that you'll try to do some studio time together [...]
Anderson: [...] we'll probably do virtual.
interview with Anderson had been more negative:
Over the past year, Yes fans
have been looking forward to a proposed project from [...]
Anderson [...] Rabin and [...] Wakeman. Unfortunately, as
Anderson tells Ultimate Classic Rock, the grouping has been put
“We did some songs last year , and Trevor had some things going on in his life that he had to sort out, you know, family things and he gets very, very tied up in his music for movies, so we just found it hard to collectively get together. And Rick’s got so many things that he’s doing in England. He has TV shows and radio shows. So eventually, it will happen. You keep the door open and hope that it will happen.”
With Trevor it’s all about
timing being everything you know. You never know, Trevor always
said he wanted to do but right now he’s going through some
changes in his work, seeing what he wants to do. I am very open
to when it happens it happens, always ready to try things like
[...] I think Trevor is waiting to jump into that adventure but he’s not quite ready yet in his heart. We wait and see and when we will work together I think it will be real spontaneous music. That’s what we talked about, making it spontaneous. A bit different than we used to do…
2012 interview with Anderson had: "It Happens When It
Happens, is my mantra! [...] we're always in touch. [...] we'll
see what happens."
Interview comments from Rabin also express some uncertainty over
timing. In this May
2012 interview, Rabin is asked whether there is anything he
cares to discuss about the collaboration and replies: "Nothing I
care to discuss as of yet. Rick is supposed to be sending me
something pretty soon for us to work on, so we'll see what comes
of it." In another May
2012 interview (with ClassicRockRevisited.com), he said:
We’ve been wanting to do
something for a couple of years now but we’ve not been
able to get together. Either I was on tour [this appears to be
in reference to Rabin accompanying his son's band, Grouplove, on
tour], or Rick and Jon were on tour. I met with Rick about eight
months ago in London. Rick and I get along so well [...] As
musicians, we get on really well, and the same goes with Jon.
The three of us are really intending on doing something but time
has not been our friend.
In my interview
with Rabin from Jul 2012, he said:
While Jon, Rick and I are excited about the prospect of doing something together nothing is organized yet and there’s no telling when or how something will be done. We really want to. Time is the enemy at the moment.
An article in Prog magazine, issue 26, stated that, "While nothing is confirmed, Rabin hopes recording will happen in 2012." This issue was published May 2012, although it appears to be based on an interview around Mar. Rabin is quoted as saying: "I haven't spent time with Rick since we had dinner in London at the end of last year . And I last saw Jon ever earlier, when he stayed with me. The problem is that all three of us have so much going on in our lives that it's been impossible to find the time to take it forward. The one thing I can tell you is that we all want to make this happen." He describes plans for the album: "What we want to end up with is an album that showcases what we're all about as individuals, but to make certain that it has an overall sound which represents this new band." He also mentions the possible involvement of Bill Bruford, which had been previously ruled out by Bruford (see below): "I know Bill Bruford's name has been mentioned, and I'd be happy to have him involved. But right now, we've approached nobody else at all. And, to be realistic, until we have our schedule mapped out, then there is no point in bringing anyone else in." In yet another May 2012 interview, Rabin said, "Jon and I speak all the time. [...] Rick Wakeman, Jon and I have been talking about doing something for the last 3 years. [...] schedules are a real problem."In a mid-Apr 2011 Facebook message, Anderson had said, "all is great with Trev, Rick and Myself, writing ideas , and thinking of next year  already." In an Apr 2011 interview, Anderson said, "At the moment, I am writing with Trevor Rabin and Rick." Asked about the collaboration in a May 2011 radio interview, Anderson said, "we were writing songs just two weeks ago [...] it's gonna be fantastic next year ". In this interview, published Sep 2011, Wakeman describes meeting Rabin in London "recently" to discuss the project. Then there was this in a joint Oct 2011 interview by Anderson and Wakeman:
Wakeman: [I'm] waiting to hear from Trevor at
the moment. To be fair, I certainly haven't chased him, as I've
been so busy this year  (as indeed Jon has and certainly
Trevor as well). I really want this to happen; I believe it
could be amazing in so many ways. I will certainly play my part
in trying to bring this to fruition.
Anderson: We've talked about creating a project; it's just finding the right time to work together.
The Nov 2011 Classic Rock
Presents... Prog (issue 21) has this on the
Rabin is also to be involved in
a new project with [...] [Wakeman and Anderson.] But things are
still in the formative stages right now.
"We are still working it all
out. I did spend some time with Jon when he was over in the
States doing solo shows not that long ago. I'm sure this'll
The original idea was for the project to be made up of and be
called Anderson Bruford Wakeman Rabin, echoing the Anderson
Bruford Wakeman Howe project of 1988-90, but Bruford is not to be
involved. I had multiple reports that plans for the project came
to a halt in Mar 2011, but the project returned to being a going
concern. I reported the project's demise here on 31 Mar, but in
response to the subsequent online discussion, Wakeman explicitly
denied that the project was cancelled and his webmaster advised
looking to the RWCC for any official news. A report from close to
Jon Anderson also denied the project had come to an end. Wakeman
discussed the matter at some length in his April 2011 GORR:
I haven’t spoken to Bill. Jon, I don’t think, has spoken to him; I don’t think Rick has. So maybe someone has spoken to him, someone in management, but I certainly haven’t spoken to him.Bruford repeatedly denied his involvement or interest. His webmaster, Sid Smith, responded to a fan with this message (18 Mar 2010): "Your message has been passed to Bill. He retired from public performance 15 months ago and isn't joining any band. Perhaps sales are down at Classic Rock?!" In Apr 2010, Smith posted to Bruford's website:
In his 18
May 2010 blog, Bruford said in reply to questions:
a lot of people talking about Yes, which you may
all know that I am not re-joining and have received no such
invitation from anyone connected with the band. [...] Can’t we
just let rumours be rumours? It just clogs up the place.
The answer to Roger Norway - 3/16/2010 12:02:37
PM [who asked about
the reports of Bruford's involvement in the
Anderson/Wakeman/Rabin project] is therefore – I have
no interest. These rumour things often get started by a ‘slow
news’ day over at the magazines and blogs.
In a Jun
2018 article, Anderson said he asked Bruford at the Hall of
Fame induction (in mid-2017) to join the band. Anderson: "He said:
'No, I'm going to continue teaching.' And I said: 'Yeah, you're
doing the right thing'."
with the current Yes line-up
With Yes being inducted into the Hall of Fame and the possibility of a reunion of the current line-up and ARW at the ceremony, the issue of a longer-term reunion has re-surfaced. I discuss the ceremony here, and what could happen in the long run here. ARW then started using the Yes name: see above on that.
Asked in an Oct
2019 interview about ARW re-uniting with Howe and White,
Wakeman said, "it wouldn't work". He then expanded on this:
I would give the first rehearsal half an hour before somebody walked out. It would happen before we even decided what to play or how to play. [...] we did the Union tour and it worked [...] A reunion, another one? Would that work? I don’t think so. [...] What would you play? There’s no new, great material since that time. There is nothing that has been recorded from any of the Yes camps where you can go, “Great! We can introduce that now.” It will be the same classic stuff [...] If you were going to to write something, how on earth would you do it with so many people? It would be really, really difficult.
[...] I’ve had a wonderful time with Yes. I still enjoy it with Trevor and Jon. [...] The Hall of Fame was great and it was wonderful to see Alan and Steve, but what would be achieved by everyone getting together and trying to do a reunion? We wouldn’t achieve anything. [...]
Ninety percent of everything I did with Yes, live and in the studio, I loved [...] it was a joy. Do I want to tempt fate and do something that could end up a nightmare? [...] back then there were big record companies like Warner, Arista, and Atlantic that wanted to back the band. Those companies don’t exist anymore. There isn’t a major company out there that would back a project like that.
Asked by a fan at an Oct 2018 show whether he could ever see
himself playing live with Steve Howe again, Wakeman said no. Asked
in a May
2018 interview (in Portuguese) whether the two bands will
join up, Anderson answered:
Neste momento eu acredito que não seja possível. Porém, gostaria que acontecesse um dia. Já aconteceu antes, então, nunca saberemos...
Google Translate offers: "At this moment I believe it is not
possible. But I would like it to happen one day. It's happened
before, so we'll never know..."
From the other side, asked about the possibility of a reunion in
2018 interview, Howe said, "No, it's completely off the
In another Jun
2018 article, Anderson commented:
I remember in the 1960s, in England, there were always two to three versions of The Drifters performing at the same time. So this has happened before. Somebody asked what do you think about [the other Yes]? And I said: ‘Well, it’s not my cup of tea!’ But they are all nice people and everybody has to do what they have to do.
In the same article, Kaye said:
I think it has created some confusion with the fans[.] I hadn’t really thought too much about it until I came back into the Yes fold this year. I’m sure there’s probably some animosity going down. But I think it’s generally accepted that Jon and Rick wanted to do their thing with Trevor. This band, with Steve and Alan, obviously existed before Jon and Rick’s. And it is, by a lot of people’s standards, the Yes band. But, of course, there’s debate because the singer, Jon, is not in the band.
In a joint Apr
2017 interview with Rabin, Anderson said of the idea of a
reunion with Yes: "I don't really have any interest in doing
that[.] It would be kind of a miracle if it happened. But you
know, it's one of those things where you never say never." Asked
whether he and Steve Howe had ever bonded over music, Rabin
replied, "We're cordial. We didn't develop any kind of creative
camaraderie on Union. We played together and I think
everything's fine with us on a professional level. But there's no
kind of desire to do an album together or anything." In another Apr
2017 interview (conducted Mar), again asked about a new
Union, Rabin said:
I think that would be fine if that’s what happens. But I think from ARW’s point of view, we’ve always looked upon ARW as being the best… we look upon ARW as being our version of a reunion
In the Jul 2017 issue of Prog,
Rabin said he has "personally no interest" in a reunion, while
Wakeman said, "There's too much water under the bridge. There's a
lot of issues that will never be made public because there's no
point. Do I ever see a rapprochement? Absolutely not." Anderson,
however, is somewhat more open about the possibility of working
together: "Your guess is as good as mine."
In a Mar 2017 interview, discussing the other Yes, Wakeman said,
"I don't think they like us. But I've absolutely no interest in
them". Asked about the possibility of a new union, he laughed,
saying, "Well there's another pig flying by." In a band interview that
month, the interviewer asked whether we could we expect an
emotional, historic picture of all the members of the band through
Anderson: No, no.
Interviewer: You're not going to talk to them?
Anderson: We don't like them.
The interviewer went on to ask whether meeting the others feel a
bit like a wedding where two grandmothers who don't talk to each
other are forced to share the same table. Rabin described this as
"a great analogy". Wakeman said: "You've just summed it up
entirely. [...] I've been married four times and I did not invite
my previous three wives to my last one." The interviewer continued
to probe on the relationship with the official Yes; Wakeman
replied, "They're nothing to do with us. We have no interest in
what they do. And they probably got no interest in what we do. We
just play Yes music as we want to play it." Anderson and Wakeman
both dismissed any possibility of a reunion. In another Mar
2017 interview, however, Anderson was more friendly about
his successors as Yes lead singer: "I actually haven't ever met
them [Davison or David], but I'm very happy they enjoy singing the
songs I wrote[.] And they do a very good job as far as I see. I've
watched a little bit and I'm very impressed with how they sound
and how they make it work. It's a very hard gig getting up there
and singing Yes music for weeks on end. I can testify to that,
because I did it for 35 years." And in another,
asked if he the Hall of Fame induction would lead to further
performances with Howe and White, he said:
Not really. I doubt it. I can’t imagine going on the road with them at this point, given the different agendas that their band and ours have currently. I have my understanding of YES and they have theirs. We were brothers in it once, but… But you never know. If everyone were to get emotionally in the right place, you never know what might happen.
In a May
2016 interview (presumably conducted in Apr), Anderson was
asked, "Do you see yourself reuniting with any other members of
Yes in the near future?" He replied, "No, just Trevor and Rick.
That's enough." In another interview that month, with
Inside MusiCast, the interviewer asked whether Anderson
would like to be back with "them", i.e. Yes. Anderson
It depends who 'them' are. Because I know that I'm working[?] with Trevor and Rick now. In this process of life, you go through so many changes and I just go with it and see what's going to come, at the end. An obvious time could become when Steve and Alan could join us on stage, or something like that or... It's hard to say because Steve and Alan are the only people that I worked with.
(Anderson apparently forgetting Billy Sherwood there.) A similar
question in one of the Jun
2016 interviews saw Anderson cagey about any reunion. Asked
what the chances are, he replied:
Anderson: Very hard to say. Life is a strange sort of event. Sometimes you expect things to happen, and they don’t. Sometimes, things that you don’t expect, do happen.
Interviewer: I was always under the impression that it was Chris who didn’t want you back in the band. I imagine Alan White would certainly be amicable to you returning to the band…
Interviewer: … And probably same with Steve Howe. It doesn’t feel like either of those two guys would object to having you back in Yes. [I think the interviewer is probably inaccurate in his summary.] Have you spoken to them recently?
Anderson: No. [T]he whole procession of events that happened before I got sick was: something really bad happened, it wasn’t the guys in the band, it was management at that time, they did a terrible thing, it sort of poisoned the band. I got sick. I don’t know what happened, maybe it was psychological. I got really badly ill for a whole year, and they decided to carry on without me. But at that time, I just wanted to survive my illness and become well, which did take quite a long time [...] I came out of that, and the only thing I wanted to do was get back in the studio and compose [...] I didn’t have the strength to go on tour, and the band had already gone on tour anyway. That’s what they wanted to do, that wasn’t my idea of Yes, the kind of music they recorded. Definitely not my idea of what I would be doing with Yes.
The future is more exciting, and it always has been for me. I’ve always been grateful for having had those years with Chris; me and Chris were sort of the main guys in the band. And there was a time when we didn’t connect. That’s called “life.” Thank God I was able to connect with him before he passed away
A similar question in the Jul 2016
interview elicited this answer from Anderson: "Well, it's
hard, y'know, Chris passed away a year ago [...] Steve and Alan
are doing their thing. It's very hard to know when we'll get
together. It's got to be a musical idea. And somehow I think that,
er, the way things are going... I'm a very sort of adventurous
musician and the only way we'll get together probably is if we get
into the Hall of Fame in a couple of years or something like that.
And I think that will bring us together. And... But
generally speaking, I'm a more adventurous musician and I'm very
interested in working with Roine Stolt again and working with
Jean-Luc Ponty." In a Sep
2016 interview, Anderson was asked if it is weird for him
that "there's a band on the road called Yes that doesn't have you
in it?" He replied: "Well, it's ongoing", before mentioning four
Yes tribute bands and concluding, "So many bands are out there
playing Yes music, and Steve's band is one of them. He has the
name. That's life. It's a challenge to me to get on with my world
and stand up and say, "OK, we are ARW." I've got a T-shirt that
says, "A.K.A. Yes."" When the interviewer suggested that ARW is
the "more authentic" band, Anderson said, "Probably. But you could
say, "Well, the guy [Davison] has been in the band for 10 years [sic],
so he's as much a part of Yes as anybody else."" Asked then about
the last time he spoke with Howe, Anderson replied:
A long time ago. We've exchanged pleasantries. I was in touch with Alan [White], who has been very ill [more on White's health here]. [...] Over the years I've had ups and downs with Steve, but he's still my musical brother and one day he'll come through and probably be very happy about life. That's what it's all about.
when he opens up his heart and becomes, I suppose, more open, shall we call it, and relaxes about everything, he'll probably come around.
The interviewer then asked whether Anderson sees the current Yes
No. They're just playing music. They're just playing the Yes music. It's OK. I've seen a bit here and there on YouTube. To me, it's not inspired. [...] We're going onstage and we're going to perform it inspired to take it a little bit further along the line.
In a Nov
2016 interview, Anderson said:
Yes music is still surviving on many levels. There are some great Yes tribute bands around the world. [...] You can come to a Yes show or you can come to one of my solo shows as well. The band that calls themselves Yes now only has Steve Howe from the old band now [referring to the US summer tour 2016 that White missed due to back problems]. They are kind of good and they are continuing the music but Rick, Trevor and myself… we are the real Yes. We feel that, and the audience feels it, too.
(Responding to the interview on
Yesfans.com soon after, Downes said, "Oops, Alzheimers
kicking in... Alan White?? HELLO??" He later described Anderson's
words as "an intentional disingenuous comment (amongst others)
made towards fellow professional musicians".) Anderson's interview
continued with him being asked about the possibility of a reunion.
He replied: "You never know. There is the Hall of Fame… we could
get in by next year  or the year after , which is our
50th year. Who knows what's going to happen."
In a different Nov
2016 interview, asked about a reunion with Yes if the band
get inducted in the Hall of Fame, Wakeman said: "I think there's
no chance of us ever reuniting[.] There's not a hope in hell of
In another Oct
2016 interview, Rabin was asked, "What are the relationships
like between all the past and present Yes members? Are the guys in
Yes upset that you and Rick are going on tour?" He replied:
I really don't know. It's not something I concern myself with, so I don't know and I don't care. It’s not something I spend a lot of time thinking about. The only guy I speak to quite often is Alan White, who has always remained a very close friend. Alan and I don’t have any issues at all.
Asked about ARW said in an Aug
2016 interview, Downes said:
I think we’re just, you know, we let them get on with it really…I don’t think there’s any……we just wish them luck. Anything that’s going out promoting the music of YES is good for everybody. It’s not a kind of us versus them scenario.
And asked about the possibility of a new Union: "Ummm, I'm not
seeing that at the moment but you never know what might happen.
YES is a very strange band (laughs…..) weird things happen with
YES." While another Aug
2016 interview, this time with Howe, has him saying:
I would say good luck to them [...] Anybody can play Yes music, and hopefully the bar is set very high. [...]
We’re just going to carry on, irrespective. [...] we’re delighted, really, that there’s more Yes music being out there, getting played.
Similarly, asked in a Mar
2016 interview what he thought about the project, Howe
Maybe there’s three things I can say about it. First, anybody can go out and play Yes music because our music can be explored in so many different ways. The second thing is obviously you’ve got to go out there like Yes have for the last eight years – we’ve proved that we can do things like the full albums show. The third thing is that getting back with people you’ve worked with before is really good, especially if they’re a musician – some of the people we’ve worked with in other fields have certainly derided the band at times and sometimes been quite greedy. That’s the only thing I’ll say.
Billy Sherwood was asked the same question in an earlier Mar
2016 interview and said:
That's happened down through the ages [...] There was Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe back in the day [...] so I don't have a problem with it at all. Y'know, I know all those guys. They're lovely people [...] so I wish them well and I think, y'know, they're amazing musicians so it's going to be great, whatever they do. That said, there's plenty of room on the playing field for multiple teams [...] I'm happy about what I'm doing [in Yes] and I'm happy for anybody else who's making Yes music in 2016.Anderson/Wakeman
Not at the moment. I spoke with Rick a couple weeks ago, and he’s getting ready for a tour next year  [...] Journey to the Centre of the Earth, a big tour. But he actually said to me he had some new music he wanted to have ready in a couple weeks, and I said, “Please,” because we might as well continue writing together, because we respect and love each other very much.A Nov 2013 interview had more: "We're working on a project, doing a couple of songs in the moment. He's doing a lot of orchestral work next year  [...] We won't tour the next year  together, but the year after , I'm sure. We are always in touch." In a May 2012 interview, Anderson said, "Rick's working on some new music now. I'm not sure when he's going to finish the music but he's actually working on some new music for a new album". In his Jun 2011 GORR, Wakeman mentions that he and Anderson "have been exchanging music to work on for [...] the pair of us" (as well as material for the project with both of them and Rabin; see below). Asked in a Jun 2011 interview, Anderson said:
Anderson & Trevor Rabin
Anderson and Trevor Rabin were sporadically collaborating over several years before ARW took off. They were reportedly writing together in 2006. Anderson has mooted both the possibility of joining Rabin on some film work and of touring the YesWest catalogue. In a May 2008 article, he talked of him and Rabin "maybe touring some of that '80s-period music, because it was very special. [...] I wouldn't do it, like, Yes. I'd do it like me and Trevor aspiring to be the two of us making music and see what we come up with." The article describes Anderson as being "amenable to some sort of reunion of the Yes[West] lineup", although it is unclear whether Anderson indicated the involvement of any of Squire, White or Kaye. However, it appears this co-writing activity has since been directed to the project with Wakeman.
2014 interview with Anderson said he had received an e-mail
from Rabin on 11 Mar "because they were connecting with ideas and
working on film scores."
Trevor Rabin & Rick
Rabin hopes to get Wakeman to get on his new solo album: see under Rabin for details.
Wakeman's interview in Prog #110 stated: "Wakeman reveals that there's a reasonable prospect of him teaming up with Rabin to make an album [...] the idea was apparently discussed even before the formation of ARW." In a Jul 2020 interview with Andy Burns, Rabin said, "We're talking about doing an album together and... just the two of us. [...] We'll see what happens. [...] There are so many things to do and little time to do it." In a Sep 2020 interview, Rabin said, "Rick and I are actually still talking about doing an album together. Just piano, guitar."
Wakeman and Rabin both appeared in a comedy promo
video for a project by Rick's son, Adam.
Any news, additions or corrections, please e-mail Henry Potts. Thanks.