Jon Anderson with the Band Geeks – Musicianship As Close to the Classic Yes Lineup as it Could Get
The musicianship in the band Yes has always been regarded as top notch. Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman, Bill Bruford and Alan White have always been recognized as some of the world’s best musicians.
Their complex, beautiful music was a direct result of where their abilities could take them. As the different iterations of the band progressed over the years, I personally still valued seeing the original members play the music live even through there were limitations.
The current Yes band has a very good lead singer, Jon Davidson, but their renditions do not “ring true,” so to speak, because as good as Jon’s voice is, it is not Jon Anderson’s. On the flip side, when Jon Anderson tours, the magic is certainly there when he sings a Yes song, but the band lineup on his last several tours has not had the chops to even attempt some of the more complex, classic Yes music.
Then one day I came across this recording of “Close to the Edge,” and was blown away.
Here was a group of musicians taking on the most difficult of Yes songs, and killing it. The Band Geeks reminded me of Leonid & Friends, the Russian-based band whose covers of Chicago’s classic songs are as good as the originals. It goes to show that indeed with great musical talent, these difficult Yes songs can be brought to life as good as the originals.
So, when it was announced that Jon Anderson was going to tour with the Band Geeks I was beyond excited.
And, boy, did this concert deliver. Yours Is No Disgrace. Perpetual Change. Close to the Edge. And You and I. Heart of the Sunrise. Starship Trooper. Awaken. Ritual. (For their next concert they swapped The Gates of Delirium for Ritual.) I’ve seen Steve Howe’s version of Yes play most of these songs, but I have to admit, I felt more nostalgic and better connected to the music listening to Jon sing them – it felt more like Yes.
The bass player, Richie
Richie was very shrewd – taking advantage of both Starship Trooper and, in particular, Ritual to play some unbelievable bass solos. It looks like he was having the time of his life playing these great Yes songs with Jon Anderson as the lead singer.
My trusty little Sony DSC-RX100M6 came through
My “go to” concert camera, the Sony DSC-RX100M6, came through very nicely. I took 730 pictures and one video, and drained two batteries.
I hadn’t planned to shoot any video, but I was inspired to capture the end of Ritual. The footage is a little shaky at the beginning, and I was in a quandary with where to point the camera at first (a very good reason to have a plan before rolling video with a single camera), but I eventually settled in.
Jon Anderson & The Band Geeks - NousSommesduSoleil - Palladium Times Square 4/21/23
In an interview before the tour began Jon talked about how he was rehearsing the songs – how he hadn’t sung them in quite a long time. Some of the rust showed during the concert. Occasionally Jon missed or changed some of the lines. He knew it. He would smile to his wife, Janey, and then lightly knock his forehead. It didn’t matter. Jon’s voice was in excellent form, hitting all the high notes in all the songs.
I hope Jon’s experience with the Band Geeks was a positive one. It would be great to see him expand his tour with them. It’s certainly a show I would attend again. Thank you Jon and the Band Geeks.
WOW. BEAUTIFUL captures! Love them all, but particularly number 17 and 34. Long live JON ANDERSON!
Thanks for the kind words Margaret. I wish I could have captured Jon dancing with Janey better, but they were all the way on the other side of the stage, so I had tons of equipment and people in the way. This was the best one. It was such a great, spontaneous moment.
Saw them at their first show in Westbury LI. As a Yes fan who saw every tour in the 70’s…this show was brilliant. Band Geeks and Anderson brought me back to a wonderful place that’s been locked away in memory for far too many years. I felt blessed to be there…
Wow. I’ve been watching Since the early seventies maybe thirty concerts possibly more period.
This band Grew up listening to yes. And it shows. To all you die hard yes fans out there catch john anderson and the bangeeks you will not be disappointed.
Thanks Phil. Please thank Richie for all of us Yes fans. This concert was an absolute treasure.
One of the best “yes” show I have ever seen … Jon was exceptional…Andy Graziano played his heart out… I think he might be able to teach Steve Howe how to play like Steve Howe … and there hasn’t been a presence on the bass since Chris has left us… until Richie came along…I was blown away
Your words are 100% mine. I travelled all the way from The Netherlands (as two friends did too) to see the shows in New York and Reading, to witness what I hoped it would be. It turned out more to be more than that; this was pure magic. Yes can’t be Yes anymore with both Chris Squire and Alan White gone. And even if Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman would return in the band it would not be the same. This was more Yes than Yes is nowadays, without being mean. Anderson’s voice is the lead ingredient and the musicians all realize that they need to follow him to deliver. And they all did.
I totally agree with you. When a found the Band Geeks
Midst of the pandemic the sounds and tempo was
I thought what if Jon seen this and would also sing with them how great would that be.
12 shows and 2 in Chicago area and I’m so stoked for them both ❤️🎼😎
This was precisely what I thought when I first heard the Band Geeks. Unbelievable that it has come true.
Yes epics and classics have found new life with the Band Geeks. I have been watching their videos on YouTube for years and no matter what they cover, they nail it. All of them are very talented and you tell they enjoy playing all these songs. You add Jon to the mix and what could be better? I too hope they extend this tour and/or record some for a Blu-Ray release. It is just unbelievable how great they sound.
By some miracle I got free tickets to Jon Anderson and tbe band geeks ! I’ve been a fan since a teen and at 78 Jon Anderson still has an amazing gusto and carried the three hour show with a talented young band at full
Energy- I had seen their videos and apparently so did Jon and he was so impressed he got them to do this . I did not think I would ever see these songs played like this again it was extraordinary congrats to band geeks and Jon!
im devasated i missed this show at scottish rite.fan since 71.73 i went to spectrum to see them,sat rite next to allen.i was hooked.im 66@still ahuge fan of jon.don;t care 2 much 4 new yes lineup.BUT, i give steve credit 4 keeping YES music alive.
Thanks for sharing those wonderful pics. Jon Anderson is the real soul of Yes.
Thanks for the kind words.
Unbelievable that all I’m gonner say when I watch the show I just fell on my head and said thank god there BACK ?