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Drama begins at 40 with Geoff Bailie – 446

Produced by Jeffrey Crecelius, Wayne Hall, Preston Frazier and Bill Govier

We were delighted to welcome back onto the show the smooth tones of Yes fan and serial prog podcaster, Geoff Bailie this week to talk about the 40th birthday of Drama.

It’s a mini round table episode – leave your thoughts and reactions on the show notes for this week’s episode!

  • Why was Drama an obscure album at first?
  • How did it become more popular?
  • Is it really Yes?

Listen to the episode and let us know what you think!

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Show notes and links:

YMP Patrons:

Producers:

  • Jeffrey Crecelius
  • Preston Frazier
  • Bill Govier and
  • Wayne Hall

Patrons:

Aaron Steelman

Dave Owen

Mark James Lang

Paul Tomei

Joost Maglev

David Heyden

Martin Kjellberg

Paul Wilson

Bob Martilotta

Lind

Michael O’Connor

William Hayes
Brian Sullivan

David Pannell

Miguel Falcão

Lobate Scarp

Chris Bandini

David Watkinson

Neal Kaforey

Rachel Hadaway

Craig Estenes

Dem

Paul Hailes

Mark ‘Zarkol’ Baggs

Doug Curran

Robert Nasir

Fergus Cubbage

Scott Colombo

Fred Barringer

Scott Smith
Geoff Bailie

Simon Barrow
Geoffrey Mason

Stephen Lambe

Guy R DeRome

Steve Dill

Henrik Antonsson

Steve Perry

Hogne Bø Pettersen

Steve Rode

IanNB

Steve Scott

Jamie McQuinn

Steven Roehr

Ken Fuller

Terence Sadler

Michael Handerhan

Tim Stannard

Jim

Todd Dudley

John Cowan

Tony Handley

John Holden

Joseph Cottrell

John Parry

Keith Hoisington

John Thomson

Barry Gorsky


Robert and David

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Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from the following two creative commons sources: thanvannispen and archive.org

13 replies on “Drama begins at 40 with Geoff Bailie – 446”

Excellent episode. Very much enjoyed the conversation. I hope you will try this format again. Bring in Geoff or one or two others to a round table.

Enjoyable conversation. Thanks, guys. Regarding the UK ‘Drama’ tour: It may be that the some of the negative reaction to Trevor and Geoff was down to a touch of conservatism in the audiences here, and a proprietorial feeling towards the band from its hardcore fans. I heard the concerts in Brighton and at the Rainbow (first night) in 1980. In terms of playing, the band was on form. Geoff’s keyboards were more textural and less flashy – which didn’t go down well with some Wakeman loyalists. I think they added freshness. Chris, Steve and Alan were on fire. The main problem, unfortunately, was Trevor’s voice. It works fine on the album. But on tour he was being required to hit notes well above his range, and his vocal chords were pretty shot by the end of the US tour. I’m afraid I found him painful to listen to for much of those two shows, despite Chris’s noble efforts to cover for him. It was crazy that they didn’t transpose down, at least. Poor Trevor was all over the place with his pitching for a number of songs. He was missing (or not even attempting) high notes, and when I knew one was coming I was literally crossing my fingers. Sometimes the top of his voice just dropped out altogether. It wasn’t how I wanted to hear Yes, and I assumed the band couldn’t possibly survive after that. I’m delighted it did, of course. I would never heckle or boo, but I did find it embarrassing for a group with such high musical standards, and I wasn’t surprised that some people reacted as they did. Trevor’s production capabilities are legendary. The Buggles was never my thing, but Art of Noise I found quirky and innovative. Trevor’s ‘Return Trip’ re-mix of Yes’s (and his) ‘Fly From Here’ is interesting – but for me, Benoit’s vocals were far, far better… and to be honest I don’t think it was very respectful to mix him out and imply that because his first language is French he somehow didn’t get what was needed vocally. Anyway, that’s history. I struggled a little with ‘Drama’ in the light of my deep passion for ‘Tales’, ‘Relayer’ and ‘Close to the Edge’ back in the day. But with hindsight and re-discovery on the road I have come to recognise it as a fine album indeed. I’m really glad it has earned the respect it truly deserves over time. Steven Wilson and Billy Sherwood both rate it among their favourites… and that’s some commendation.

I was also at one of the Rainbow concerts. Yes, it was all seated and a “polite” and enthusiastic audience… although there may have been some heckling.

My recollection is that Trevor did an excellent job on the Drama material, but I agree that he really struggled with the “classic” Yes repertoire.

A moment that sticks in my memory is during “And You And I”… the quiet section where the (very high) vocals are front-and-centre. He completely fluffed one of the high notes, which resulted in gasps and even laughter from the audience… which would have been audible from the stage!

So if the UK audiences were perceived to have been critical, I can only reply that it was to some extent justified.

All credit to Trevor and everything he has achieved, but attempting to sing “And You And I” was not his finest moment.

After the gig, I happened to pass the rear exit of the theatre just as Trevor was driving out of the car park, alone in his car. He looked very grumpy!

I love ‘Drama’ and have since getting a promo copy at my radio station in Aug ’80. Love the music & vocals, and the packaging-with Roger back & his wonderful painting on the front & back. I played it to death on air, and on cassette in my car & the vinyl on my turntable. My best friend was a store manager with a large record store chain & the windows were covered in the ‘Drama’ promo flats & with the promo mobiles hanging in each store. It got lots of radio airplay in the U.S. and sold very well. I saw 5 midwest shows on the U.S. tour & they were exciting, with no obvious problems by Trevor singing. Here’s my album signed by the band in Cincinnati on the tour, and by Roger at NEARfest in ’00.

Great episode guys and a format to move forward with now and again, I have ideas already! Yes Simon, in all you say there.

I saw about three gigs and if course went through the Tommy Vance radio announcement on the BBC about it all. Yes it was devastating at the time, I was young but completely upset about the change, so much to say really about livingthrough it all. A bit ironic timing for the big reveal as we had Yes at a time many would say playing their finest gigs, 78/9. I could go on, but Trevor had a good shot at an impossible task really for the UK fans,less so as you spoke about for the USA fans. The artwork is one of Roger Dean’s finest and a rocking Yes made the right album not only for themselves moving away from the quoted style of fiddly jingly jangly lovey dovey light folky style it was heading.

All three drove Yes on keeping the band alive, Chris was especially good at that. It’s now recognized as a good Yes album because of its clever mix of styles and sounds.

Take me back however to 1980 and seeing Yes live – Yes had almost all in place from the lighting, Roger Dean stages, album cover, song choices but it couldn’t last with Trevor in that form in the UK. We all could see that but finally, isn’t it great that we can all geek out and discuss this bands history as a going concern even now in 2020, nearly all the changes Yes have been through are kind of good, because we have this unequalled variety of music and band members.

Entertaining discussion about Drama. I think everyone is partially right. Drama is not essential Yes, but it is an important bridge to the next major phase of Yes because of the Trevor Horn connection. It is unique with its streamlined, riff-based, punchy drum sound yet evoking some 70’s Yes styles. Genesis released Duke in the same year. Duke’s sound was similar; more riff-based than prior Genesis, and a big drum sound while keeping some of the earlier styles. The big difference between the two bands was Genesis had Phil Collins at lead vocals and they had hits like Misunderstanding. Drama on the other hand didn’t have any hit singles and Horn was not really a front man. The rest, as they say, is history.

Very good listen – I do hope you do some more of these sparingly – I think this was maybe the biggest change for Yes fans ever as all other versions either had Jon, or someone sounding like him where Trevor doesn’t on the album really, (and live I never saw but can’t imagine). I mean they have never tried singing (with a different singer) like this again (although ‘From the Turn of a card’ comes close to sounding something quite different that could have worked).
Drama is good but I enjoy more one offs like ABWH, Relayer and Magnification. This reminds me of what it is like to be a Yes fan, we can’t all agree as there is so much history and variety in line ups and sound.
Good stuff.

Thank you for the interesting discussion. Drama was my first tour having missed the 10th anniversary. I love the album and it is essential Yes. After buying the LP it was clear the band felt it was a new beginning much like TYA in its structure of four long pieces two each side sandwiching a short piece per side. Saw the first gig in Toronto. The Squire White rhythm section was tight and Howe was very crunchy and heavy on the new tunes. Machine Messiah and Tempus Fugit I’m particular were superb with the latter featuring a long Chris solo. I’m a keyboardist and though Downes is no Wakeman much less a Moraz, he was good on the classics. This being opening night, Trevor was excellent with many of us commenting he was pretty close to Jon. In hindsight, I would have liked another LP by this band and don’t really consider the redoing of Fly from Here counting. I think removing Benoit was not very kind much less the treatment of Oliver. Anyway my two cents.

Hi fellows. Interesting talk with Geoff about Drama. I was a Yes fan starting in early 70’s, and remember when the news broke out about Squire, White and Howe getting together with The Buggles to work on what would become the new Yes album. I was definitely curious about what it would sound like, so picked it up on release day, and I’ll say I was very pleasantly surprised. Tour tickets went on sale for the show here in Montreal, so I bought one without hesitation, and the performance was very good. The audience of around 15000 loved the show, and I was not disappointed at all. The band were on form, and Trevor did an admirable job. I honestly cannot fault him. It’s regrettable that he seems to have struggled so much on the U.K. leg though. Could they have continued this way ? Perhaps not, but if Downes had not left for Asia I do envision that he would have fit in well with the 90125 lineup in place of Kaye. I think his playing style would have worked, and he’s a stronger writer than Tony so there would have been that too. A possible 90125 with both “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” AND “Heat Of The Moment” ? Interesting possibility.

I found this episode rather frustrating. You were asking the wrong question from the start. You should have asked what would have become of Yes if they hadn’t made Drama. Geoff eventually got to make the point that if it weren’t for Drama, Yes would have disappeared.
Most of the previous comments above relate to Trevor Horn singing live; these are of no relevance to the subject. I was at the Drama tour and ok it wasn’t the same without Jon but is was a good concert. Drama is an exceptional album. Since then there have been only two Yes albums which have been any good, 90125 and Talk. Apart from that, they may as well have disappeared

On the tour, I saw Yes at the old Richfield Coliseum, south of Cleveland, Ohio. My first Yes show, and it was fantastic. I enjoyed Geoff’s expanded Man in a White Car, with it’s nod to Video Killed the Radio Star (and why not? Rick brought in his outside music too). No major problems with Trevor’s voice. Steve and Chris and Alan were super.
On the album, I really like Drama. Not top 5, but good music. If there had been no Drama, Yes would probably have been “over,” but I bet some version of the band would have reunited after a few years anyway.
I also think no Drama, no 90125 as we know it. I hear a song like Does It Really Happen as a bridge to the 90125 songs: a really good rock song that has something extra because it is Yes. It seems to me, as came out in the round table, not only that the two Trevors were needed for the album, but that the experience of doing Drama was probably critical to what Chris, Alan, and Trevor Horn were able to bring to 90125. (But maybe I am horrifying the people who put 90125 in their top 5. I don’t, although I like it.)
Last, I too enjoyed the format quite a bit. Let’s bring back Geoff and add in David, Simon, and others. Topic: Heaven & Earth is a better Yes album than Tormato. Discuss. 😉

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