Yes live review – London Royal Albert Hall

Prog veterans Yes play their Drama and Fragile albums.

Jon Davison and Yes, live at the Royal Albert Hall

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The death last year of Chris Squire inspired debate over the group’s continued future. Could they – and should they – forge on without their ever-present bassist? This show, based on albums from two decades, suggests the answer to be in the affirmative.

Beginning with a moving tribute to Squire, his bass centre-stage and lit by a spotlight, to the sound of Onward, they revisit Drama, the album made with keyboard player Geoffrey Downes and vocalist Trevor Horn, the former having rejoined Yes in 2011, the latter receiving rapturous welcome during a guest appearance for its finale of Tempus Fugit. Drama has aged well, there’s no doubt.

Reassessment of Fragile, a catalogue staple since 1971, is quite unnecessary, and on Heart Of The Sunrise, Starship Trooper and Squire’s signature tune The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus), Billy Sherwood replicates those robust bass lines.

Sporting a kaftan and loon pants, frontman Jon Davison is more confident than his tribute-band predecessor Benoît David, sounding slightly shrill on Owner Of A Lonely Heart but possessing a voice to match the vintage qualities of his wardrobe.

With mainstays Steve Howe and Alan White leading the band there’s still plenty of mileage in Yes. Squire, who made it plain that he wanted their work to continue after he’d gone, would be proud.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.