Jon Anderson and the Band Geeks Live – 578

Produced by Joseph Cottrell, Ken Fuller, Wayne Hall and Jeffrey Crecelius

Mark and I have been watching videos of Jon Anderson’s latest live project, this time with the fabulous Band Geeks. We discuss our reactions this week.

  • How did the Band Geeks get on playing a whole concert of Yes music with Jon Anderson?
  • How did Jon’s voice hold up?
  • Was it an enjoyable concert of Yes music?

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  • Joseph Cottrell
  • Ken Fuller
  • Jeffrey Crecelius and
  • Wayne Hall


Aaron Steelman

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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:

8 replies on “Jon Anderson and the Band Geeks Live – 578”

As I expected, the Jon & Band Geeks shows sound great. My only disappointment is that the tour is very short and focused on the east coast area, leaving out many of us. They really need to do more tours, which I’ve heard is the plan, to cover the rest of the US, and then hit the UK & Europe, if possible. I know Jon prefers shorter tours nowadays, an aspect of his aging. I loved seeing Jon with the rock school students last year, but this new show is light years ahead in terms of the musicianship and the setlist. In fact, I think Jon should have the Band Geeks as his permanent backing band for as long as he wants to tour with a band, rather than perform solo shows.

Now as far as the new adverts for the Yes tour next year, I’ve been told that as of now that nothing has changed, that it will still be all of Relayer, probably 2 songs from the new album, 1 from The Quest, and classic cuts. Add some Tales? I’d love to see that again, as I did back in ’16. We will have to wait & see. It’s a waste of time to get upset & comment on social media about a new advert poster, “no Relayer!” My life attitude is that it’s a waste of time, life is too short to waste guessing or speculating on something next year or anywhere in the future, or in the past for that matter! The past is the past. Live for today, not the past or the future. Plan for tomorrow but live for today. Patience is a virtue, but on social media many folks don’t have it or show it.

Regarding the new album, I’ve had an advance digital file copy and I love it! It’s rockier than the last 2 and to me it’s the best Yes studio album since at least “Fly From Here” or “The Ladder.” I know Yes fans will really enjoy it as it’s not as mellow overall as the last 2 were. The title track is fantastic. This is Yes in ’23.

Now for the upcoming US, and hopefully Canada, tour, I’ve suggested to Yes members that they perform “The Prophet” song. I don’t believe they’ve ever done it in concert and it’s long overdue. I know that Geoff loves the song & the Time and a Word album. So if they do it as the deep cut at shows, as Steve likes to do, you can thank me!

I agree, Doug. “The Prophet” would be a great track to hear live. Actually, “Beyond and Before”, too. As for what will eventually turn up on the setlist, we’ll have to see. Various people will have “been told” apparently different things by the time we get there… and minds will change. It was ever thus. The deciders will decide in the end. And I’d be delighted if we do, indeed, get the whole of ‘Relayer’. 🙂

Another fine episode — punctuated, but hopefully not punctured, by me. Thanks for the thoughtful and nuanced review of the first Jon Anderson / Band Geek concert, Kevin and Mark. (Officially their name is singular, not plural – but that seems to have been abandoned to publicity, history… and SpongeBob SquarePants!)

I very much echo Mark’s comment about the distinction between listening with the heart and with the head, if I can paraphrase. One of the reasons I enjoy going to multiple Yesshows, when and if I can afford to, is that it gives me the chance to scrutinise different aspects of performance, arrangement etc. on some of them… and, on others, simply to immerse and bathe myself in the glory of music. Analysis can definitely enhance musical appreciation, but sometimes it can wound or kill pleasure and spontaneity, too.

Your point about the difference between, and the bringing together of, technical mastery and “feel” is also important. It relates to the larger point that there are many ways of performing and presenting music (including Yes music), all of which provide different angles, points of entry, matters for disagreement, and vehicles for enjoyment.

Which brings me to Mark’s concluding “rant”. I very much agree with him. Of course, the haters will respond that it’s about who or what gets to be called Yes officially. But that, too, is a simple matter. It’s those members who operate in and through the official banner: that’s Davison, Downes, Howe Schellen and Sherwood right now. Over the years the line-up has changed quite a bit, and so has the music and the way(s) in which it has been presented. Personally, I can find highlights and value across the spectrum, as well as having particular favourite eras and performances.

But for those who don’t appreciate current Yes, or simply aren’t prepared to give them a chance (the overlap between these two categories seems large), the message is equally straightforward: no-one is forcing you to listen to them, and no-one is forcing you to publish bile about them. And when the latter happens, it’s a verdict on the commenter, not the band.

(Constructive and informed criticism is quite different to dismissal — in spirit and tone, as well as in attention to detail, attempted fairness, and an awareness that liking or disliking something is not the same as a reasoned judgment on its quality or validity.)

Anyway, that’s my own “rant footnote” over. 😉 Meanwhile, as you rightly indicated, Kevin, Yes music is finding many avenues for expression right now, and that’s a really healthy thing. For me, the performances that communicate best are the ones where that aforementioned “feel” is present; where I have a sense that this is a piece of music not from 50 years ago, or whenever, but one existing and finding its voice afresh in the present moment.

Technical facility is necessary for that, but it’s not the only factor. As Mark suggests, there’s a coherence that comes with experience… when the music becomes so much part of the bloodstream of the musician that it exudes a life of its own. That’s difficult to define, and will not be experienced in the same way between different listeners, but you know it when you hear it…

Just a note on the speed of the performances. Long time Yes fans may feel the Band Geeks are rushing but, Heart of the sunrise for instance is played more at the speed of the original recording. Yes have slowed down many pieces through the years.

Thanks for the timeliness of this good episode! Re. listening to the Band Geek tour so far, I’ve found the energy extremely invigorating and Jon’s obvious joy (and age) quite touching. So surprised (but pleased) to see and hear Ann Marie Nacchio on Roundabout since earlier Richie had reported that she would NOT be joining the tour with JA.

Did anyone else think that the performances on the second night already showed improvement over the opening night? My impression on first listen was that the performance already seemed tighter and with fewer mistakes. . . It would indeed be great if these are being professionally recorded for later release (and editing out the most obnoxious crowd noises, those folks who’d rather hear themselves vs. the music). Are they sound guys putting reverb on JA’s voice, perhaps? If so, that doesn’t bother me in the least.

BTW, following Kevin’s comment, I rather like the idea of two excellent bands touring and “competing” with each other, not only spreading the music more widely but possibly goading each other on towards better and better performances! I’d hope there would be no animosity or rancor, but I think trying to outdo each other could only be good for the music.

Very happy yo see this as I am heading to the Baltimore show on May 6.

“Gates of Delirium” Jon Anderson@Santander Performing Arts Center Reading, PA 4/23/23

I booked tickets at vicar st Dublin because they were advertised as jon with the band geeks now I find he is with tge music students an entirely different show, I wanted to hear jon with a band performing the original yes stuff and listening to them on you tube they sounded brilliant but now it’s just jon with a bunch of students, not the same at all, I’ll go along but very disappointed that this was not what I bought into

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