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Jon Anderson – Prog God – 241

Jon Anderson Prog God 2016
Jon Anderson Prog God 2016

In the week when Jon Anderson is deified as the 2016 Prog God, we discuss Yes’ whole album live obsession and the fact that Trevor Horn appeared on stage with them again this week. Mark reviews Fly From Here which fits in rather well and Kevin reads the Prog magazine articles about Jon Anderson.

  • What’s Fly From Here like in retrospect?
  • What has Prog magazine to say about its new Prog God?
  • Is there another Trevor Horn-produced album on the way?

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

Show notes and links

Dave Watkinson’s photos from 1978 and memorabilia (click to enlarge):

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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

17 replies on “Jon Anderson – Prog God – 241”

Great show again really like the new format I believe it gives a new kind of spin on the show.
I have to say I have not seen a yes show since Magnification,however I was able to see all the yes shows up to that starting in 1976. I would have loved to go see Yes this past month however I was unable do to work that being said I still believe that Yes has more music to make and I agree with what Mark mentioned about ghost players I believe that is very possible.I would love to see Trevor Horn involved again this would be awesome.The whole album concert thing I could take it or leave it. I like a more free flowing live event from anytime of the Yes period.I would really like to see the more abstract tracks performed for example Silent wings of freedom, perhaps release release,Then,Astral Traveller,Dear Father,I mean really this list could go on for a while.
To me that would be a Great show and of course you could still do all the fan favorites Roundabout,All good people, Owner of a lonely heart.
Oh and my favorite Yes live concerts that I seen were of course Relayer , Going for the one, Tormato in the round oh hell they were all great shows who am I kidding.

Anyways really what matters the most is to keep what Yes started in 1968 alive and well into the future for many more people to hear and to fall in love with there beautiful music!


Paul Tomei

Greetings Paul,

Nice to hear from you again. Thank you for the positive words regarding the new show format. I’m enjoying it very much.
It’s interesting to read that you, like a few other people I’ve spoke to, are sort of hoping to a return to a non – album tour. I’m sort of on that side of the’s just that I haven’t had a chance to attend one.
Thanks again for your support and hope to hear from you again next week.

Mark Anthony K

Thanks for your podcast episode, Kevin and Mark. I think one reason why attendance is down this year for Yes shows is that they have toured every summer for the last four or five years and many people just don’t feel the need to see every show. I know that I had to make some decisions about time and finances so the Yes show in Chicago two weeks ago was one I didn’t need to do this year.

Let me be clear – if it was closer (it takes me about three hours to get to Chicago) or if I did not buy tickets to McCartney I would have tried harder to go. But when my wife says “do you need to see this one?” and I’ve seen them 7 times and saw the three album tour and the CTTE/Fragile tour somewhat recently, I could not truthfully answer “yes.” The pairing of albums for this tour made me MORE excited to see them but, there comes a point where you just can’t do everything. So, that’s why I think people are not attending as much as before.

There may be another point, though too. I won’t go see the Mike Love version of the Beach Boys because it is Mike Love and others. As much as I want to see Billy Sherwood, Jon Davison, etc. I think some people are going to be less excited about seeing only one member of the classic lineup.

Greetings Bob,

Nice to hear from you.
You make some interesting points. It makes me think back to my early days with my own band I had. We had a great promoter/ booker who always advised us to be careful how often we toured and especially how quickly we went back to certain cities. Not that I would compare my band to Yes but the theory is sound. If you go back too often..people will start to pick and choose.
Thank you again for your support and hope to hear from you again next week.

Mark Anthony K

Hello Kevin and Mark,
I want to comment on Mark’s review of Fly From Here. I must say I agree with your review almost completely and have very little to add. I think I liked Fly From Here so much when I first heard it because it was such a surprise. I had very low expectations for it. Like you said, it had been 10 years since the last studio line up, and they had a new, untried singer. Drama is OK, but not my favorite version of Yes. So, I had low expectations from the line-up. But I was surprised; really liked it (and still do) for all the reasons you mention.

You didn’t mention much about Benoit David in particular. I think his voice fit really well with Yes over all and the particular style of production on FFH. I must say that I like his voice much better than Jon Davison’s. I don’t remember the reasons for letting Benoit David go, but think it had something to do with him handling the Yes repetoir on tour.

Heaven and Earth was such a let down particularly because FFH was so good. I don’t think it is fair to compare a new Yes album to the classics, but it is fair to compare HaE to FFH. The contrast is vast. I won’t go into all the things I hate about HaE since it seems Kevin likes to keep things on a positive note.

Anyway, great, well thought out review. I think I’ll pull FFH out and give it a spin. It’s been a while since I listened to the whole thing.

All the best,

Hello Guy,

Great to hear from you.
Nice to read that someone agrees with my album review. As far as Benoit David. ..I do enjoy his singing very much and thought he suited the Fly From Here music very well. In fact I find he suited the Drama album music as well. Both Trevor Horn albums ( one produced..the other written and sung) sort of ironic. .or is it. Both Trevor and Benoit had the same problem as Yes singers. Their voices suited a very limited segment of Yes Songs. ..thus leaving them with a real struggle with the rest of the catalog. This is why I personally love and fully support Jon Davison. His voice is perfectly suited to tackle 95 percent of the catalog. But again..that’s just my opinion.

Thank you again for your support and hope to hear from you again next week.

Mark Anthony K

Not so sure about Fly From Here. The suite itself is great (and worth the cost of the album alone), but for me the rest of the album is weak (the playing is fine, the production, as MAK says, is great, but the material is just rather “meh”) No need to defend it – I know that’s probably an unpopular point of view.

As for the empty seats on the current tour: MAK suggests that this may be down to the decision to play two sides from TFTO and he may well be right. However I think this is quite possibly down to a difference between what audiences in the UK and North America want. Mark suggested that a tour featuring the stadium fillers from 90125 and Big Generator(presumably alongside the regular crowd pleasers) might be better attended.
I think the UK audiences (at least those who would attend Yes gigs) are the polar opposite and a TFTO (or Relayer) tour would be really well attended. I only hope they bring TFTO over here rather than give up on it.

Greetings Tim,

Thank you for your comments. I apologize for my late response.
Well its clear to me that some people will not agree with my opinion of FFH and that’s fine. Like I said in my response to Jeremy’s comments, it’s our differences of opinions that make things interesting. But we do see eye to eye on most points regarding the album.

As for your comments regarding the tour attendence.’s a point I did consider. It’s true that musical taste and tendencies differ in North America from Overseas. You maybe right…I guess we will see how the turnouts are once Yes continue the tour in the UK.

Thank you again for your support and we hope to hear from you again next week.

Mark Anthony K

WOW – Another epic-length mega-episode! So many subjects to comment about, but the thing that struck me most obviously was how your discussions of the relative value of the “Album Series” tours and declining concert attendance may be linked. If I remember correctly, it was Steve who spearheaded the Album Series shows, beginning with the Three Album Tour, which was a thing he had wanted to do live for quite a while. Also, much like Mark’s suspicion that Jon is trying to get as many different projects completed while he still can, I think Steve may have been pushing to get as many of these type of shows on record before inevitable decrepitude catches up with him (and if last week’s show in Reno is any indication, that’s not going to be any time soon!). The result of all this activity is a band that has been touring relentlessly since 2011 and – as Bob noted above – people may just not feel the need to see them every single time they show up (even with a guarantee that the show will be different each time, I guess).

What others would I like to see? I think the obvious answer to that would be the “Tormato Relayer” tour, right? (Now THERE is a cover art mashup to consider!)… I mean, aren’t you really curious to hear Geoff’s take on Pat Moraz’s keyboard parts? The only big drawback I can think of is that I’m pretty sure Alan’s drum work on Relayer is a bit beyond his abilities now, especially the opening to “Sound Chaser.”

Hello Joseph!

How are you my friend.
Good to hear from you again this week.
And some good points you have.

I didn’t realize that it was Steve who wanted to pursue the Album series idea..although now that I think about it…I sort of remember reading him say something to that effect. And yes…Steve has a ways to go til his rocking chair and reading pipe come calling.

As for the album series you would like to see…wow…Tormato and Relayer…what a tour that would be. Like Tim said in his comments. .fans taste seem to differ on each side of the ocean. It’s possible Tormato and Relayer would do great on the Euro side of the ocean (I’m sure Kevin would love that tour) but on my side I don’t think Tormato would do as well. ..I could be wrong though. I still say Relayer/90125 is the answer for North America.

Thanks again for your continuing support and we hope to hear from you again next week.

Mark Anthony K

Great episode yet again. I really liked all of the Jon Anderson retrospective. 40 years since Olias! That gave me a double take. I remember all of the delays to its release then the thrill of having it at last and the fabulous music and artwork. I thinkI may have mentioned it here before but thanks to a friend I had who worked in a record shop (JG Windows in Newcastle) I had all of the promo stuff, including cardboard mobile etc. I regret not having it now.
I was surprised that you didn’t know that Jon played everything on the album. That was one of the factors causing the lengthy process of this masterpiece.
While it is good to hear MAK’s album reviews, I take them with a massive pinch of salt given his rather unusual preferences when it comes to Yes material. The Fly from here review sounds amazing but there’s no substance. It is vague. He doesn’t make any comment about the lead vocal, only the backing. I infer that Jon Anderson was not the singer. Also I found his comparisons to Heaven & Earth odd in that Fly from here predated it.

Greetings Jeremy,

Great to hear from you again.
Well…I realize that my opinion on Yes material may be a little odd to the majority of fans..but it’s the differences between us that make things interesting…especially Yes music.

As far as not mentioning the lead vocals ..if there is one thing that has been talked about to death is Benoit David. From the moment he joined til the moment he left there have been lots said about his singing. I thought I might spare the listeners. But if your interested. .Benoit’s singing never bothered me…he sounded closer to Trevor Horn then Jon Anderson in my opinion….which is why I prefer Jon Davison.

And my comparison of Fly from Here to Heaven and Earth I thought was easy to understand…originally when I heard FFH I didn’t think much of it…only after hearing Heaven and Earth did I realize how good FFH actually is. Heaven and Earth is a misses the target in every way but after re listening to FFH it’s clear that it is more a Yes style album.

Anyway…that’s just my opinion and it doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong. Kevin and myself appreciate your support and look forward to hearing from you again next week.

Mark Anthony K

Hey Mark, good to read your further thoughts on FFH.

I am the odd one out here given that I’m a bit of a Yes dinosaur. I know that my comment must read like a criticism of your opinion but that’s not what I intended, I apologise for that. I embrace the broad church here.

It’s great that you revisit albums that you’ve previously reviewed. Nothing is set in stone. I remember when Relayer came out the first few times I listened to it I was most disappointed but having stuck with it my opinion changed completely. Same with Time and a Word.

Perhaps you and Kevin can go through the albums again.

Hello Jeremy,

There is no need to apologize. If there is one thing I believe the right of people having their own opinions…even if it doesn’t side with mine. Hahaha.

As for your idea of revisiting the Yes catalog.’s an interesting idea…and I will talk to Kevin about it.

All the best,

Mark Anthony K

I agree that FFH is a much better sounding recording thanks the Trevor Horn’s production. If only he had done H&E. (Imagine H&E with Horn producing and less rushed to get out!). That said, there is something lacking from FFH. It never takes off; it’s too grounded! FFH (the song) is too pedestrian lyrically. It’s a good song, just not a YES song. The same for the rest of the songs; fine songs, just lacking the kind of energy Drama had (since some of those songs were also Horn/Downes songs brought into YES, and it worked!).

Maybe it’s time to give the complete album tour a rest. It would be so hard to top this last Drama/Tales show! I’d love a tour set that features deeper cuts with just enough of the well-known classics to keep interest strong. If they did do an album tour, I’d love to hear Magnification and The Ladder, though maybe not both together! Relayer would be great, but can Downes pull it off? Can anyone but Moraz? It did work on the Symphonic tour, so there is hope!

The new format is working well; it has a better flow to it.

Thanks for the comments about FFH! Also, glad you think the new version of the show works. πŸ™‚

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