Day 3 of the new line-up. Noise11, who are supporting Yes's Australian tour, carried an interview with Squire this morning. In it, Squire confirms that the change from David to Davison is permanent (or as permanent as anything in the world of Yes).
Davison was only confirmed shortly before the news was announced. That announcement came first via the Japanese promoter, but was on YesWorld's Facebook account in hours, and now this further clarification from Squire. This is all much, much faster than past line-up changes: think back to when Sherwood or Khoroshev left. Yes have entered the information age. And yet some fans are still complaining that we haven't been told enough, and we haven't been told quick enough!
Some further observations on the fan reaction online... Many have asked why the band didn't just cancel dates in April. I don't think most people appreciate the very considerable costs in cancelling a tour at this time. Journalist Jon Kirkman summed it up well on Yesfans.com:
"Take it from me having worked in the industry for more than 35 years you just cannot blow out a whole period of touring without massive problems. The tickets for this tour will have been on sale since the dates were announced and more importantly the deposits will have been paid to the band. Many bands need these deposits to set the tour up etc so short of death and even the Who toured following the death of John Entwistle then the tour will go ahead. Touring at this level just can't be postponed like a pub gig. There is a lot at stake"
What does all this tell us about Yes? The main conclusion that I draw from events is that Howe, Squire and White aren't going to stop. They are the core of the band and they will keep going, come what may. We've seen other bands, like Journey and Starship, which have gone through multiple vocalists. Yes may now find stability with Davison, but if something happens to Davison, they will find someone else.
So, farewell Benoît David. He was in the band for longer than Oliver Wakeman, Igor Khoroshev, Patrick Moraz, Peter Banks or, so far, Geoff Downes (adding his two periods together). (Tell me if I've got my maths wrong on any of those!) However, Moraz and O. Wakeman are the only ones who have appeared on as few or fewer studio albums (and even Moraz had his 1975/6 solo album appearances). I look forward to the new Mystery album, currently being mixed and expected this year, and hopefully many more after that.