Yes indeed! Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman (ARW) carefully juggle the cerebral and commercial

ARW Photos by Andy Argyrakis

For the first time since Yes’ enormous “Union” Tour in 1991, incomparable singer Jon Anderson, keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman and guitar great Trevor Rabin returned to the road with an ambitious intention of bridging the group’s cerebral and commercial periods. And after two hours filled with both Yes’ progressive origins and MTV-ready rock from the ‘80s and ‘90s, ARW not only sounded incredibly in step with one another, but also managed to succeed in an otherwise very challenging juggling act between these divergent (and sometimes downright controversial) eras.

At one point in the retrospective, Anderson predicted additional prosperity for ARW in 2017, which includes more touring, hopefully some new studio recordings and perhaps a criminally belated induction of Yes into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

ARWSure, some prog pursuits have been quick to turn their nose at pop-minded “Hold On” or “Rhythm Of Love” compared to say “Perpetual Change,” “Heart Of The Sunrise” or “Awaken,” but after hearing the trio alongside bassist Lee Pomeroy and drummer Louis Molino III, everyone’s prodigious mastery of that entire spectrum was undeniable. No, Anderson might not have gotten quite as high as he did the first time around, but for 72, he sounded and looked tremendous, while his gifted partners also maintained their edge (at 67 in the case of Wakeman and 62 for Rabin).

Whereas the current incarnation of Yes is focusing on playing landmark albums from the ‘70s in their entirety as of late, ARW’s inaugural outing was more singles-driven, but even the common nature of impeccably performed selections “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “Long Distance Runaround” and “Roundabout” were still met with thunderous fanfare. There were also some unexpected surprises, such as the long forgotten but sturdy rocker “Lift Me Up,” the classically-minded “The Meeting” (from the barely ever touched “Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe” sessions), plus the “90125” b-side “Make It Easy” book-ending “Owner Of A Lonely Heart.”

At one point in the retrospective, Anderson predicted additional prosperity for ARW in 2017, which includes more touring, hopefully some new studio recordings and perhaps a criminally belated induction of Yes into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. In the meantime, this edition of what Wakeman once called the band’s “holy trinity” did a commendable job connecting the dots in one of the richest, most profound and occasionally quite popular bodies of work from the last fifty years.


Click here for more ARW photos from the Chicago Theatre.

For additional information on ARW, visit ARW-Tour.com.

Upcoming concert highlights at the Chicago Theatre include Stars and Strings (Nov. 9); CL (Nov. 10); The Fray (Nov. 11); “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” (Nov. 17-20); Sebastian Maniscalco (Nov. 25-27); “Game Grumps” Live! (Dec. 2); Miracle On State Street starring Charlie Puth, James Bay and JoJo (Dec. 3); 93XRT/Goose Island BIG Holiday concert starring Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats with Mavis Staples (Dec. 7); Jerry Seinfeld (Dec. 8-9); Dave Koz & Friends (Dec. 11); R. Kelly (Dec. 13-14); Aretha Franklin (Dec. 17); The truTV Impractical Jokers “Santiago Sent Us” Tour Starring The Tenderloins (Dec. 18) and V103 NYE Comedy Jam featuring Nephew Tommy, Bill Bellamy, Capone and Melanie Comarcho (Dec. 31). For additional details, visit TheChicagoTheatre.com.

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