Yes @ Paramount Theatre

Prog-rock extravagance ✨

📸: Paramount Theatre

Saturday, October 29th • 8 pm

These are boom times for Boomers reliving their glory days via the glut of 50th-anniversary tours celebrating iconic albums. 1972 yielded plenty of gems worthy of resurrecting in the 2020s, including Close To The Edge, British prog-rock group Yes’ most popular album—it peaked at #3 on the US chart. It’s wild to think that a record with so much virtuosic playing and so many abstruse verses could attain mass popularity, but those were different times.

Guitarist/backing vocalist Steve Howe is the only current member who played on Edge. Keyboardist Geoff Downes, lead singer Jon Davison, drummer Jay Schellen, and bassist/backing vocalist Billy Sherwood round out the lineup. Save for Howe, all of these musicians have to deal with memories that fans have of their imposing predecessors: Rick Wakeman, Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, and Chris Squire, respectively.

The four-part, 18-minute title track epitomizes the phantasmagorical spins that Yes put on rock, classing it up with rococo guitar and keyboard parts, radical tempo shifts, and lyrics that metaphorically address ecological fragility and spiritual enlightenment, inspired by Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha—all undergirded by Squire’s bold, muscular bass lines. The acoustic-guitar-laced “And You And I” shimmers and swells in folk-rock grandiloquence while “Siberian Khatru” closes the record with relatively straightforward rock churn, but glazed with the baroque effervescence that these highbrows couldn’t resist in the early ’70s.

For this tour, the high-definition video wall will feature the art of Roger Dean, who illustrated several Yes LP covers, including Edge. Prog-rock extravagance, guaranteed.


Dave Segal

Dave Segal

Dave Segal is a freelance music writer for The Wire, Pitchfork, Aquarium Drunkard, and other publications. He formerly served as staff writer at The Stranger and as managing editor at Alternative Press. Find him on Twitter @editaurus