Steve Howe Shares How They Keep It Together In Yes
via MysticRhythmsLive / Youtube
When creating the setlist for their latest tour, Yes took into account their impressive 55-year musical history. This is what adds a special touch to their current Classic Tales of Yes tour.
Longtime Yes axeman Steve Howe recently discussed with Ultimate Classic Rock their career as well as the current tour, which included pieces from the oldest albums to the newest ones.
From the title track from their 1977 album, Going For the One, to well-loved classics like “I’ve Seen All Good People”, “Roundabout”, and “Starship Trooper”, and even some songs from their last two albums: 2021’s The Quest and this year’s Mirror to the Sky. Howe and his bandmates are creating another legend with Classic Tales of Yes.
With such extensive discography, Howe shared how the band kept it together. “I think if Yes doesn’t have challenges, then it might as well stop — so we like the challenge,” the guitarist explained.
Challenges as driving forces
When Ultimate Classic Rock mentioned that the extensive setlist seemed like a challenging feat to pull off, Howe explained:
“Yeah, and it’s not been easy. You know, we’ve had our moments. In retrospect, we would have liked a few more days [of rehearsal time]. But everything is what it is, isn’t it? You find yourself there. You think you’re ready, but you never know until you actually get up there.”
Identifying these ‘challenges’ as the driving force that has kept Yes thriving, he further added:
“So yeah, it’s exciting, to say the least. Challenging. I mean, I think if Yes doesn’t have challenges, then it might as well stop — so we like the challenge. Certainly, the ‘Tales’ edit has been a real challenge, but a really delightful one.”
Steve Howe giving Yes classics a fresh twist
During the US leg of the Classic Tales tour, Yes has incorporated songs such as “Machine Messiah” from the 1980 album Drama and “It Will Be A Good Day (The River)” from The Ladder, released in 1999.
The tour will also be the backdrop for fresh Yes tracks as the band introduces their latest album, Mirror To The Sky. Furthermore, the band is revisiting a unique aspect of their history by including an edited version of Tales From Topographic Oceans, marking the first time since 1974 that they have performed side 2 of this 1973 double-sided album on international stages.
Steve Howe himself took the initiative to create a 20-minute edit of these tracks in celebration of the album’s 30th anniversary:
“It was my idea of actually giving it a new perspective and a new opportunity, if you like, to see it as it’s never been seen. In less than 20 minutes, you see four 20-minute tracks go rushing by you. It was great fun, and I happen to like editing. I like working out how things can kind of fit together. It’s been really delightful and lovely to play some of Side 2 again.”
Classic Tales Of Yes
Following last year’s sold-out U.S. tour that saw them relive and celebrate the 50th anniversary of their iconic album Close to the Edge, Yes announced on July 17, 2023, their “Classic Tales Of Yes” tour in the U.S.
The current lineup, which consists of Howe (guitars, vocals), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Jon Davison (vocals, acoustic guitar), Billy Sherwood (bass guitar, vocals), and Jay Schellen (drums), started their trek on September 21 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Classic Tales features many iconic tracks from the influential and pioneering Rock & Roll Hall of Famers’ catalog covering more than five decades as well as music from their acclaimed new album MIRROR TO THE SKY, which was released on May 19th.
“As always, we are committed to pushing new boundaries and are very excited to be performing another chapter in the rich legacy of the band,” Downes teased the awaiting fans.
The evening’s festivities will commence with a special on-site presentation by the renowned English artist and designer, Roger Dean, celebrated for his extraordinary artwork, which has graced iconic album covers and posters, prominently for bands like Yes and Asia. Every concert will feature a Roger Dean gallery in the venue’s reception/foyer area.