Just say Yes!
The legendary progressive rock band Yes will bring its massive sound to Coney Island on Aug. 11. The band, which formed almost 50 years ago, has endured many lineup changes over the years, but its essential prog rock fire is still burning for a new generation of listeners, said its keyboardist.
“One of the beauties of Yes over the years is that it constantly manages to re-invent itself and yet still retain the integrity of that original sound,” said Geoff Downes. “The sound of the music is much greater the sum of the parts of the individuals.”
Downes, who has been in Yes close to nine years — from 1980 to 1981, and again from 2011 to the present — is excited to dive deep into the band’s back catalog for the current “Yestival” tour.
“Yes has such a deep history of music that it’s very, very difficult to pick exactly what to do,” Downes admitted.
So for this tour, the band has chosen a novel approach. Each night, they play one song from each of the 10 Yes albums released between 1969 and 1980, from the self-titled debut through 1980’s “Drama.” A 10-song set might sound brief, but considering that the shortest track on 1973’s “Tales from Topographic Oceans” runs more than 18 minutes, fans will definitely get their money’s worth.
The 11-year spread of songs also captures a widely varying selection of Yes’s musical evolution, said Downes.
“ ‘Drama’ is very intense, almost like a power rock pop album,” said Downes. “Coupling it with the esoteric sides of ‘Tales’ makes for an interesting combination.”
Yes remains one of the few groups from the prog rock genre that is still carrying on, and Downes believes he knows why.
“We’re still here; we’ve still got a statement to make, and we’ve still got that great music to perform,” he said. “And that’s why I’m still out there doing it with Yes.”
Yes with Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy and Todd Rundgren at Ford Coney Island Amphitheater (3025 W. 21st St. at the Boardwalk in Coney Island, www.coney
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