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Kaye vs. Wakeman – 276

Two wonderful albums!
Two wonderful albums!

Produced by Preston Frazier, David Gordon, Bill Govier, Wayne Hall and Michel Arsenault.

We look at the first two Yes keyboard players in a week when they are both to be inducted into the Rock adn Roll Hall of Fame. We also talk about all the political insanity of this week as well as the brilliant highlights in the world of Yes!

  • Did Tony Kaye go as far as he could with the band?
  • What did Rick Wakeman bring?
  • Could Fragile or Close to the Edge been made with Tony Kaye?

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

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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

38 replies on “Kaye vs. Wakeman – 276”

Hi. As always this was an excellent discussion. My understanding is that Wakeman brought more to the table than simply an impressive keyboard technique. His educational background at the Royal College of Music gave him a formal background in composition and arranging. It was these skills that Yes felt was needed to tackle the large scale multi-movement suites like Close to the Edge. No disrespect to Tony Kaye is intended. It is a case where Wakeman had a skill set that the band needed to move up to the next level. I do not believe Close to the Edge would have been possible without Rick Wakeman’s contribution.

Thanks Paul. It was great to have the chance to listen carefully to two great keyboardists!

It wouldn’t be a YES RRHoF induction without–wait for it!–some Drama! I wonder just who it was in ARW that asked that Billy not play, band or management? The only thing that makes sense to me is limiting the players to those being inducted, hence Steve playing bass on Owner, plus a special guest, like Geddy Lee.

For the set-list for One from Every Album up to Drama: Beyond and Before or Looking Around, The Prophet (getting into this lately), Perpetual Change, A Venture, anything from CTTE, The Remembering (or Ritual), Sound Chaser (to wake us up after The Remembering!), Turn of the Century (or Parallels), On the Silent Wings of Freedom, and Does It Really Happen. Surprises: Homeworld, Give Love Each Day, Fly from Here part 1, and, yes, Subway Walls! Plus Owner, I’m Running, The Calling. I mean these are the kind of songs that would be surprising; they can’t so them all–not with 2 other acts!

I initially thought Mark was a bit harsh toward Rick Wakeman but then I watched the speeches at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, I saw Rick’s tweet about no reunion happening after last night (100% not going to happen) and then Billy Sherwood’s note about how Scotland Squire never got a chance to speak because Rick went overtime. I’m in Mark’s camp regarding Wakeman now. Brilliant musician but a bit of a jerk as a person. I was always thinking that Steve Howe was the biggest stumbling block regarding a reunion, now I am thinking he is probably justified.

I’m looking forward to seeing Yes this summer on their newly announced tour. I’ll gladly do the 2.5 hour drive. Now I’m not so sure I’ll see ARW if they do a US tour this summer.

The RARHOF has basically over took everything else in importance of late. Even the fantastic set list idea for the Yestival tour.

My mind is full of stuff re the last few order….. the live set for the radio show, a photo of the two Jon’s, the miss spelling of band members for Yes and John Wetton on various formats from the RARHOF, then there is the Billy in or out bit, the amazing site of all of them in stage together, including Steve on bass and Mr Lee…Wow, yet tinged with the obvious non interaction on and off stage by various Yes men, thoughts on GD comments and billy’s plus RW on a reunion or lack of, Squires family…were they ok with the speach bit…or lack of, ARW gad more Yes men on stage than Yes, good to see Alan ok, Jon and daughter photo, Jon’s comments re 50th plans….see SO MUCH to think about….or is it just me .

Absolutely feel the same, where can I find Jon’s comments re 50th? Given we already have the every album to Drama setlist in US and a likely Tales/Relayer tour in UK next year, it is hard to imagine what else Yes Official (we might have to start calling them that!) can pull out of the bag short of some sort of one off reunion concert or to have JA appear with them.

In an interview after..see online..Jon was asked any plans for Yes’s 50th…he said ..kind of…”yes lots” or something similar.

Agreed – for some of what we think actually happened, we need to hear all sides first (e.g. was Scotty supposed to speak?). But no clarification is needed on other things – Rick’s speech was totally inappropriate and embarrassing (having sex with your wife in a coma, etc), it would have been in bad taste 30 years ago, let alone now. For a number of years I’ve found Rick’s comments, tweets and interviews more and more annoying. He seems obsessed with toilet jokes, and with trying to annoy ‘official’ Yes. This was the final straw for me – he’s had so much good will from me despite releasing very little high quality new music in almost 40 years. When I think that I wept with joy when he walked on stage at the NEC at the ABWH gig, seeing my hero, a legend, for the first time with other classic Yes members. How the mighty have fallen.

I long ago had my fill of Jon Anderson’s “happy-happy joy-joy” pseudo-spritualism – whatever project he’s involved with, nothing happens without his approval, so all the bad blood is on him as well. Still, JEEZ, Rick!

A thought on the Yestival set list. I’m struggling with running order; how one song will flow into another. This adds a whole other dimension to the choice of songs (not to mention the time available for the set).

I’m beginning to think that the choice of Geddy Lee as “inductor” for the band was intentional to begin with – possibly an attempt to try to preemptively ward off conflicts for the performance.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Rick tweets (if he tweets) out a big apology soon. I don’t think he can really help himself sometimes – he’s a loudmouth and a natural performer – not to mention his second career as a comedian – and all it takes to get him going is to stick him in front of an audience.

My fantasy set list: Every Little Thing (what a great opener!), Astral Traveler, Yours Is No Disgrace,
South Side of the Sky, America (recorded during the CTTE sessions), The Ancient (so Steve can stretch his electric guitar muscles), To Be Over (because I don’t want to see Alan embarrass himself in public), Parallels (tribute to Chris, show time for Billy), Onward (a good showcase for Jon), and Tempus Fugit. . . and then, of course, bloody Roundabout and Starship Trooper for the encore.

I have to say Yestival is a great idea. I’m looking forward to hearing those songs. Maybe Yes’s 50th will turn out just fine .

A good show guys, all positive from my side. I’m just chuffed that within a year we get a Yes -ARW tour, a new album, probably a live album, tons of of Yessongs we haven’t heard in ages, a 50 anniversary, maybe a Yes exhibition and a few books, LOADS OF YES.

I do hope we get a Yes tour in the UK because I want to hear those rare songs played.

Can you imagine following anyone else ..crazy, happy Unbelievable times. As a Yes fan we have seen this two band situation before …be happy they are there playing for us.

Keep Yessing


So good to hear someone speak up so eloquently for the current line up. Loved the last tour. Really looking forward to hearing what they might do in the studio. And yes that acoustic version of Leaves of Green last year was wonderful.

In terms of Kaye / Wakeman although they superficially play the same instrument they don’t really. One is an r&b player and belonging to the rhythm section rather then the front line and the other is a killer virtuoso pianist who also used technology to stand in for choral and symphonic sounds and textures. One is in the Vincent Crane or Jimmy Smith mould the other is Emil Gilels and the LSO rolled into one sparkly cape.

I love Wakeman’s 70s work as a sideman and a Yes man. In recent years he seems to me to have settled for a shtick pitched somewhere between Richard Clayderman, Jeremy Clarkson and Mrs Mills. His keyboard sounds haven’t been that great since the 80s and there is no sense that he is trying to find the edges of the envelope let alone push at them a bit. He is always impressive technically but I am not sure what it is in aid of. Compare that with the outputs of say Vangelis or Jean Michel Jarre and Klaus Schulze, who are both a year older, and the contrast is stark. Even Mike Oldfield who has been a bit stuck in a cycle of Tubular Retreads seems rejuvenated by comparison. Nothing can take away from Rick the audacity and genius of his contributions to many hours of great Yes music but I wouldn’t pay to see ARW and I am not sure I am even going to bother with the record now either. Which would be a first for me since Relayer.

Wow, great descriptions of both keyboardisrs. I was listening to No Opportunity Necessary the other day and was struck by how percussive and choppy the organ work is. Great work by Kaye and really adds something to the song that I don’t think Waksman could pull off

Thanks Joe. It was great to listen carefully to both guys. Both brilliant in completely different ways.

Great comments- thanks! It’s such a rich tapestry in Yes world and I love talking about it!

Well its official now…we have two Yes bands.

Yes (official) + Yes featuring ARW

Life as a Yes fan has never been boring that’s for sure. I’m just going to say ENJOY the music for all concerned.

Get ready for masses of comments for years to come. Writing a Yes book, one can never really be up to date, just look what happens!

Dave W

Never boring (though the 90s weren’t great) but there is something shameful about this. As Roger Waters found out the people in a band that keep the name benefit from the glow of the past. Everyone else is ex. Took him a long long time to turn that around. Whatever the rights and wrongs this ARW bunch are doing themselves no favours when what they need is a charm offensive. It’s petty and a turn off for most people. Also, and probably through no fault of his own, it makes Jon Anderson’s spiritual shtick look a bit hollow.

It will be fascinating to read all about Jon in Dave’s book! I wonder if there will be clues in his story…

Single mindedness, vision, creativity, belief and being strong with whatever comes along to knock you off the track. Creates masterpieces of Yes music.

Calling the shots you get Awaken, Close to the edge, RSOG, GOD, shall I go on?

It gets you Olias, And you and I, Magnification, and more.

It gets things done…and to a high standard.

I’m pleased we have strong creative musicians at the helm of Yes music.

I’m going to save my comments for this coming weeks episode. Needless to say this 2 Yes business is getting stupid and tiresome.

I could care less about the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame, who said what to whom, the moral virtues and vices of the various bandmembers, any of their personal lives, ridiculous drama, stupid soap operas, or even what they decide to call themselves.

All I want from any of these people is what has been lacking for many years – the creation of some decent new music.

We know new music is on its way, but look at the situation Official Yes only play back catalogue material. Their last attempts at new music isn’t big played for whatever reason.

Yes with ARW…..within a year of forming likely a put out a live album and a new album.

The 50th anniversary is going to great for both Yes’s because I think, ironically we do get to hear those unplayed Yessongs from the early days.

Sit back and enjoy while you can…Yes’s do remember us in the UK ok.


Yestival: I was going to comment that Yes was billed in my area in August simply as “Yes”, but now the listing has been updated to “Yes, featuring Jon Anderson, etc.” So, I realize it is ARW, not Yes that will be appearing. First, I think it is a mistake for ARW to change their name to Yes, etc. I think ARW was more appropriate and I was hoping they’d make their own way with their own new music. I realize this is an 100% marketing decision, but I think it is a bad one. Just plain confusing for fans. (August 28 at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA; btw)

Regarding Tod Rungren in the Yestival line up. I saw Tod Rungren a few years ago on a similar “festival” tour and he was awful. I remembered and liked his hits from the 70s and his production credits are legendary, but his voice is shot and he just can’t cut it any more. I remember thinking at the time that he should hang it up. So, sorry to hear he’ll be in a review-type line up with Yes.

Interesting what you say about Rungren when Billy Sherwood rates him. I have no knowledge whatsoever of him. I’ll have to do some research!

Interesting pod apart from the yawnfest that is RRHOF.

I really enjoyed both of your reviews of the Yes Album & Fragile songs. Perhaps you should do another on this subject and compare TK and Rick”s performances by comparing Yessongs to the originals. Are there any recordings of TK playing music from Fragile, CTTE etc?

Thanks Jeremy. That’s a really good idea. I think I’ve only seen Tony with Circa on video playing Yes songs but there could be something we could use.

My old copy of YesYears features a performance of Heart of the Sunrise from the Big Generator tour featuring Kaye. I enjoy Kaye for what he did in the early days of Yes (particularly the second album), but his performance in that song is really bad. I think the band knew Kaye was out of his league – Rabin is playing a lot of Wakeman’s keyboard parts on guitar, and Kaye simplifies some of the piano riffs with simple ‘finger swipes’ down the keyboard. I am sure you can find recordings somewhere online.

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