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Posted: 2009 12-04


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How old will I be before I come of age?

I swear, when the faux Journey-meets-Yes that's currently touring under the original group’s name without their founding songwriter and voice play this song — they don’t even seem to understand it. (don’t even try to get thru it, it might make you sick.) The dynamics are missing, the orchestral flow — and trust me, you wanna cut it before the singer even comes in.  In their hands and heads this is a series of soulless solos — a seniors’ karaoke embarrassment.

Now listen to one member of Yes, actually the member, do the song. You may enjoy it more than the original album-side suite. I do.

I kind of shudder at the now-common quasi-pejorative term “prog rock.” We called it “progressive music” back when this stuff was being invented — or just "progressive" for short —  because it wasn’t saddled with being “rock,” but rather was an extension, a progression of the rock structure into jazz and classical and world music creating a new mosaic. Zappa, Return To Forever and ELP were all progressive. Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck and John McLaughlin. Anything that's pushing what's musically possible is progressive.

And here you hear how it’s progressed since then. Sure, he doesn’t have a young man’s voice, but he has an old sage’s spirit and a lifelong arranger’s command of sound.

At times this is orchestral, at times funky, at time operatic, at times anthemic rock n roll. In the hands of the lyricist, this abstract, ethereal story becomes clear, and the precise dynamics have sweetly evolved from its first telling decades ago. “The journey takes you all the way.”

As Paul Simon, one of Jon Anderson's heroes says — Proof.  The guy who envisioned and manifsted the band's sound can enlist new cats to play Yes’s music better than Yes.  But the “act” that’s now touring under that name clearly hasn't been able to replace their music’s soul and leader.

YouTube Uploader: BassLudeman

Jon Anderson playing in Bratislava with some really great Slovak musicicans:


Jon Anderson: vocals, acoustic guitar, chinese strummer
Peter Machajdik: keyboards
Miki Skuta: piano
Juraj Burian: guitar
Oskar Rozsa: bass
Martin Valihora: drums
Viliam Csontos: backing vocals
Eugen Prochac, Jozef Luptak, Jan Slavik, Vladimir Sirota: cellos

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