Thursday, 31 March 2011

Anderson Wakeman Rabin cancelled

For reasons as yet unknown, I understand that the Anderson Wakeman Rabin project has been abandoned.

There has been an air of competition between this project and the current Yes line-up, echoing the ABWH/YesWest rivalry at the end of the 1980s. It's now clear that the original plan back at the beginning of 2010 was for Anderson Bruford Wakeman Rabin... at least, that was Anderson and Wakeman's plan; it doesn't appear that Bruford ever actually agreed to it. Four ex-Yesmen together was a tantalising prospect and, against a Yes with only three longstanding Yesmen (Howe/Squire/White) plus some newer members, an ABWR project would have had a strong claim to the mantle of being the 'real Yes'. ABWR would have had the majority of the band from Fragile and Close to the Edge, and as many of the band members from other key albums like 90125 and The Yes Album. Even when it became clear that Bruford was not involved, AWR was still an impressive line-up against HSW, as I argued in an earlier blog post.

But the project is now over; meanwhile, HSW have recruited two more former Yesmen for their team, with Trevor Horn producing and co-writing the new album, Fly from Here, and Geoff Downes playing on the album and possibly more. As far as I know, Anderson and Wakeman are still working together, with further touring and a live album planned for this year. Yet that means the 2011 project with the second most Yesmen involved is John Wetton's new solo album, Raised in Captivity, produced and co-written by Billy Sherwood, with guest appearances by Tony Kaye and Geoff Downes, as well as brief Yes member Eddie Jobson, Robert Fripp, Steve Hackett, new UK guitarist Alex Machacek and former King Crimson lyricist Richard Palmer-James.

[5 April update: Well, there have now been denials from R. Wakeman himself and another source close to the trio that the project is dead. So, I am uncertain what is happening now! More as I get it...]

Sunday, 20 March 2011

DPRP poll

I always like to see DPRP's poll of the best prog rock of the year. Their 2010 results are now out: see here. But I wondered how Yes-related acts did in this broader field.

Favourite Album: Won by Spock's Beard's X, the best Yes-related performance was Mystery's One Among the Living (with Benoît David, plus Oliver Wakeman guesting) at #18. Steve Hackett's Out of the Tunnel's Mouth (with Chris Squire guesting) was just behind at #20. Asia's Omega was at #26. The Living Tree was at #44. Then we have to jump to #132 and Yoso's Elements. Lower albums get less than 5 votes each, so I haven't trawled through the rest of the list.

Favourite DVD: Won by Transatlantic's "An Evening With Transatlantic: Whirld Tour 2010", but Asia's "Spirit Of The Night: Live In Cambridge 2009" managed #19.

Favourite Track: Won by Spock's Beard's "Jaws of Heaven". Mystery's "Through Different Eyes" was 34th equal. Steve Hackett's "Fire on the Moon" (with Squire) was 43rd equal.

Favourite Art: Won by Unitopia's Artificial. Asia's Omega came 19th equal.

Favourite Concert: Won by Transatlantic at Tilburg. Nothing Yes-related got more than one vote.

Biggest Disappointment: Won by Mike Portnoy's departure from Dream Theater. The Living Tree came 11th equal here, while Anderson not returning to Yes was 16th equal (although that's on a mere 4 votes).

Favourite Newcomer: Won by UK band Haken. Mars Hollow came 7th, and Billy Sherwood is producing their second album. Yoso came 16th equal.

Biggest Happening: Also won by Portnoy's departure from Dream Theater! The announcement of Yes's new album made 16th equal (on 3 votes).

Favourite Guitarist: Won by Steve Hackett for Out of the Tunnel's Mouth. Jeff Beck for Emotion & Commotion (exec. producer: Trevor Horn) was 13th equal. Steve Howe picked up a couple of votes only.

Favourite Keyboardist: Won by Ryo Okumoto for Spock's Beard's X. Downes (for Omega) and R. Wakeman (for The Living Tree) were tied at #17.

Favourite Vocalist: Won by Daniel Gildenlow for Pain of Salvation's Road Salt One. Benoît David (for One Among the Living) was 11th equal. Jon Anderson shared 25th equal (for The Living Tree) with John Wetton (for Omega).

Favourite Drummer: Won by Nick D'Virgilio for Spock's Beard's X. Carl Palmer was 12th equal (for Omega).

Favourite Bassist: Won by Dave Meros for, guess what, Spock's Beard's X. John Wetton was at #9 (for Omega). Tony Levin was 13th equal (for Stick Men's Soup).

So, overall, and perhaps surprising some Yes fans, David and One Among the Living pretty much beating Anderson and The Living Tree! And a reasonable performance by Asia and Hackett's Out of the Tunnel's Mouth.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Plotting out the Yes year

If you can pull yourself away from the global news from Japan and Libya, the Yes news is coming thick and fast. The new, expanded & remastered ABWH from Gonzo is now available, and the current band are on tour, with the rest of the year beginning to become clear.

[Edit: And the latest Chris Squire interview confirms Downes will be the main keyboardist on Fly from Here.]

Now-4 Apr: Rite of Spring tour continues.

Apr: Finish the new Yes album, Fly from Here: recording appears to have been completed, although final overdubs wouldn't be a surprise and there's then the mixing, mastering etc.

28 Apr-26 May: Asia tour North, South and Central America. This may leave Squire with time to move forward the Squackett release. White is at a charity show on 30 Apr, and there is his mystery project with Tony Levin and possibly David Torn to fit in somewhere.

28-30 May: Two Yes shows, with Asia opening, in Mexico. Recently announced and still something of a puzzle. Will there be further Yes touring around these two shows? Will these shows debut Fly from Here material? What do these shows tell us about the ongoing uncertainty and rumours as to Downes' involvement on the new album and the possibility of his replacing O. Wakeman?

Jun: Unclear... but presumably some promotional activity for the new album.

Jul: Approximate release date for Fly from Here. Trevor Rabin's long-awaited new solo album is also due in the summer, as is an Anderson Wakeman Project 360 tour live release.

Jul/Aug: Yes North American tour with Styx.

Sep/Oct: Unclear, but one report suggested a South American tour by Yes around Sep. There's probably a Japan tour at some point, but whether in this period or later (early 2012?), we don't know. CIRCA: tour Europe. Howe has a solo release planned for Sep. Anderson & Wakeman may be playing Canada, and possibly the US and Europe, around Oct.

Nov/Dec: Yes European tour.

Dec: Asia possibly re-group to start work on their next album.

2012: I'm guessing now, but Asia will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Asia, so another solo album and a new round of touring presumably. Howe has hinted at spending more time on solo projects in 2012. However, continued touring by Yes also seems likely.

It's not clear when the Anderson Wakeman Rabin project might get going. Could be this year, could be 2012.