ARW: Anderson Rabin Wakeman Perform Classic “Yes” Songs at the Wellmont Theatre
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Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman, former members of the progressive rock band Yes, joined together to perform classic Yes songs as the group ARW (Anderson Rabin Wakeman) at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair on October 24, 2016. The three have not performed together since Yes’s Union Tour in ’92, so this tour was an exciting treat for Yes fans. During this performance on the ARW tour, they revisited the old Yes songs with Anderson on vocals, Rabin on the guitar and vocals, Wakeman on keys, Louis Molino III on drums, and Lee Pomeroy on bass.
As Molino, Pomeroy, Rabin, and Wakeman (in his wizard cape) walked on stage with an orchestra arrangement of “Perpetual Change” playing behind them, the four went to their places to start off the night with “Cinema” from the Yes album 90125, the album that was the first to have Rabin on the Yes lineup. Anderson joined the other members on stage and counted for the next song; the group proceeded with “Perpetual Change” from the platinum album, The Yes Album. Anderson’s singing was driving and lively as he sang the chorus, and finally the five of them were all together on stage as ARW.
Rick Wakeman, on his arsenal of keyboards (that took up half the stage), started “Hold On” with a bright intro solo which he then transitioned to his haunted house-sounding synthesizer for the chorus. “Hold On” was very rich and powerful with the rock styles of Rabin blending with the strong vocals of Anderson.
On “And You And I” the wizard, Wakeman, played his synths and organs in a graceful and tasteful way that contained that classic Yes sound whilst still being innovative, forward, and fresh. Along with that, Rabin played a spectacular, electrifying solo that really complimented the music they were making. Later, the group played “Heart of the Sunrise” from Fragile where Pomeroy played a hard hitting solo and Jon Anderson’s stunning voice sang on.
After “Heart of the Sunrise”, the band paid tribute to the recently deceased cofounder of Yes, Chris Squire. With his inventive, inspiring, and just truly great playing, Chris made Yes the impactful band that they were and are today and created a lot of the fantastic music that ARW played that night. With that, Jon said his thanks for Squire and dedicated the next song, “Long Distance Runaround,” to him.
Following a quick audience-initiated singing of “Happy Birthday” for Jon Anderson’s 72nd birthday (which is October 25th) was “The Meeting,” a soft ballad by ABWH, another group comprised of former Yes members that was active from ‘88-’90. This song was performed by only Anderson and Wakeman, and was a calming break from the high energy of the night. Well, lo and behold, that song was just a precursor to what I believe was the highlight of the night, “Awaken,” an epic featuring an extended solo by Wakeman. Rick Wakeman’s experience and artistry in piano and music really showed in his solo in this song. I was so amazed; my seat literally shook. His solo was so exciting and continually made me ask myself “What’s he going to play next?” With his thoughtful musical decisions and the mystical sounds from the keys, it was truly an extraordinary experience.
The show could have ended then, but after “Awaken” was a Yes fan favorite, “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” in which Wakeman left his pentagon of keyboards to play his keytar, thus trading solos with Rabin.
The set ended after “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” however, after being called back on stage by the audience, the band closed the night with another popular Yes song, “Roundabout.”
The amount of fun the five were having at the concert was very evident in both their playing and their energy on-stage. After ending “Roundabout,” they all went into one big group hug. The night of classic Yes songs was a delight to hear as it is reassuring to know that the music of Yes still lives on.
Click here for upcoming ARW tour dates