Fly From Here
By Michael Popke
Yes eras collide on “Fly From Here,” the first studio album in a decade from the pioneering progressive-rock band — now consisting of members from three distinct periods in Yes history: old-timers Chris Squire on bass and Steve Howe on guitars; keyboardist Geoff Downes, drummer Alan White and producer Trevor Horn from 1980’s “Drama”; and newcomer Benoit David, the former tribute-band frontman who replaces Jon Anderson on lead vocals and brings added masculinity to that role.
Anchoring the album is the 24-minute, mostly melancholy title suite, which is loaded with lyrical images of lonely airfields and prop planes. A version of “Fly From Here” was demoed for “Drama” but never finished, and a live performance can be heard on 2003’s “The Word Is Live” box set.
Elsewhere, Yes maintains its moodiness. David and Howe duet on the pretty, acoustic “Hour of Need,” and Squire handles lead vocals on “The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be,” singing in a sweet but weathered voice.
Is Anderson missed? Sure. But this version of Yes is still better than no Yes.