Last year was a dramatic one for the band with a line-up change and their first new album in a decade. There were highs - Fly from Here sold well, shows at the beginning of the European tour leg saw the band energised and enjoying playing their new material - but there were lows - the joint tour with Styx was not the band at its best, and the European leg ended prematurely with David suffering health problems.
2012 looked as though it would be much calmer: roughly, work on the new Asia album in the first quarter of the year, some sort of touring by Yes (broadly playing the same set as in Europe) in Q2 and Q3, before Asia then tours and celebrates their 30th anniversary in Q4. That may still be the broad outline of the year, but the rollercoaster has started again with Jon Davison coming in as new vocalist, replacing Benoît David.
Mostly held before the Davison news, our latest poll asked what you were most looking forward to in 2012. We had 171 votes and the results are:
Squackett: 49 (27%)
Yes continuing to tour: 37 (21%)
New Anderson/Wakeman: 23 (13%)
Trevor Rabin's Jacaranda: 18 (10%)
New Mystery album: 11 (6%)
Next Jon Anderson solo project: 10 (6%)
Asia 30th anniversary: 8 (4%)
The Buggles return: 6 (3%)
Producers/The Path of Sydney Arthur: 4 (2%)
Journey to the Centre of the Earth live: 3 (2%)
New Billy Sherwood projects: 2 (1%)
Oliver Wakeman's Cultural Vandals: 0 ( 0%)
Other: 8 (4%)
... of which, Anderson/Wakeman/Rabin: 5 (3%)
So the voting was very spread, but a clear favourite in the long-awaited Chris Squire/Steve Hackett collaboration. Unlike some Yesmen, releases by Squire (outside Yes) are uncommon and perhaps that's why they attract more interest. Steve Hackett, of course, is well known in his own right, and now has an impressive tally of Yesmen collaborations: obviously with Bill Bruford in Genesis and Steve Howe in GTR, but also Geoff Downes, Trevor Horn, Rick Wakeman, Billy Sherwood and Tony Levin. Squire's guest appearances on Hackett's last two solo albums have whetted the appetite for Squackett.
Yes continuing to tour are second. Further Anderson/Wakeman work is your third choice. 5 people voted for the Anderson/Wakeman/Rabin project, and I presume many more would have had I explicitly included it as an option in the poll. However, the latest reports suggest the project is delayed again and we won't see any activity until 2013, and plenty are sceptical we'll ever see it.
However, Rabin's new album, Jacaranda, is finished and now expected May on Varèse Sarabande. Fifth choice, and above Anderson's next solo project, is the new Mystery album, largely finished, but awaiting a release date. So some Yes fans have clearly taken Benoît David to heart.
Anderson's next solo project gets 10 votes. The two Horn projects expected this year (although details remain unclear) get 10 together: 6 for The Buggles, 4 for Producers.
The Asia anniversary is only in seventh. I was also surprised to see Rick Wakeman's next live extravaganza, this time for Journey to the Centre of the Earth, so far down given the excitement there was around The Six Wives of Henry VIII a couple of years ago.
Since the poll, we've also had news of a possible Rick Wakeman/Tony Levin/Ian Paice project; more details of Billy Sherwood's plans, including guest appearances by Wakeman and Levin on a Supertramp tribute album; and there's the forthcoming Nektar covers album with Howe, Downes, Wakeman and Moraz all guesting.