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Yes Members Opt To Tour With Replacement Singer

Of the Oakland Press

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Yes’ decision to go on tour this fall is an attempt to make a positive out of a negative situation.

The group was slated to play a series of 40th anniversary dates this summer but had to scrap that outing due to singer Jon Anderson’s debilitating asthma. But after waiting around, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White decided to try again this fall, only this time bringing reticent group member Rick Wakeman’s son Oliver out on keyboards and spelling Anderson with Benoit David from the Montreal-based Yes tribute band Close to the Edge.

“We just made a decision, really, to go ahead and get out on the road for the fans who have been missing the music,” explains Squire, 60, who’s been Yes’ only constant member. “Replacing Jon would be impossible, but when I saw Benoit on his band’s Web site and I heard him, we felt like he’d be a good understudy and we’d be able to present the music in a way they fans would like it.”

Not everybody is happy about it — particularly Anderson, who posted a message on his Web site expressing disappointment with his bandmate’s decision. That note has since disappeared from the site and its archives, however, and billing of the shows has changed to reflect the fact that he’s not there.

Squire, meanwhile, promises that Yes does not consider David a permanent replacement for Anderson.

“Absolutely — of course not,” he says. “Unfortunately Jon has had these health problems for the last few years, which is why it’s taken such a long time (since 2004) to have any Yes shows out there. We’ve had to be very respectful of the fact he’s not been well and he’s been in and out of the hospital having quite a few major procedures.

“But if Jon is well again next year, he’ll be back.”

Away from Yes, meanwhile, Squire is working on a joint venture with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, which began as a guest role on an upcoming Hackett album but has now blossomed into a full-scale partnership that should release its first album in early 2009.

“We’re nearly 75 percent done,” Squire reports. “It’s real good. Steve Hackett is a very underrated writer and actually a very good singer. We’re doing a lot of harmonizing, and some of it is almost in the Crosby, Stills & Nash vein. It’s gonna be interesting when it’s done.”

Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White of Yes perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 27) at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Tickets are $75, $39.50 and $29.50. Call (313) 961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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