Jon Anderson Upset About Being Replaced For ‘Yes’ Tour

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A short time ago, it was announced that the 40th anniversary Yes tour will go ahead as planned despite the absence of singer Jon Anderson. Anderson, who suffered a serious respiratory attack earlier this year, was instructed by doctors to rest for six months or risk serious health complications.

After canceling the tour due to Anderson’s illness, the other members of the group have since decided to embark on the tour with another singer standing in for Anderson. Benoit David was discovered via YouTube by bassist Chris Jon Anderson Squire, and was subsequently invited to join the group for the tour.

Not surprisingly, Jon Anderson is disappointed with this turn of events. He addressed this issue recently by writing about it on his personal website. Among other things, Anderson says: "…I feel very disrespected, having spent most of this year creating songs and constant ideas for the band, spending time with Roger Dean creating a stage design, also working with VH1 and Sirius and XM Radio to help promote the welfare of YES."

He also mentions that most of the group has not bothered to be in touch with him since he fell ill, except for one: "…with the exception of one phone call from Alan [White], none of the guys have been in touch since my illness, just to find out how I am doing, and how we will foresee the future for YES. And [I am] disappointed that they were not willing to wait till 2009 when I’m fully recovered."

Putting on my editorial hat for a moment, I think Anderson has every right to feel the way he does. Is Six months too long to wait for the artist that was so instrumental in the creation of Yes? Anderson has been the voice of the group from the start, and all through the history of the group that I am familiar with.

Personally, if I had planned to attend one of those shows, I would be canceling my plans. I don’t know how other Yes fans feel about these developments, but I suppose tickets sales for these shows will be a good indication.

Six months is not a long time to delay the tour in order to have Anderson present. I think he is exactly right. The group that will be touring soon and using the name "Yes" is not Yes without Anderson, and I hope the other members of the group have not put an end to the possibility of a genuine with Anderson out in front where he belongs.

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  1. Andy September 22, 2008 at 11:52 am

    A correction… Jon Anderson did leave Yes after the 1978 album/tour for their album Tormato. Rick Wakeman also departed the group leaving Alan White, Chris Squire, and Steve Howe as the members of Yes. They invited Goeff Downes and Trevor Horn (of The Buggles)to join them as members for the 1980 album Drama after the two groups were recording in the same building.

    Fun Fact- Chris Squire is the only member of Yes to appear on every single album.

    Also: according to Chris, he has labeled Benoit as an “understudy” and not a replacement. While painted in shades of grey, the language of press releases and information comming out of the group is that they are very hopefull to tour with Anderson in 2009.

    One distinct reason for the current “In the Present” tour could circle around the bands vast catalouge of music, but Anderson’s lack of love for performing some songs. These include songs off the “Drama” album that he did not sing on. Many hard-core yesfans want them to open the catalouge books up, but Anderson has been somewhat cool to this idea. David could lend the band to “loosen up” a little bit with that, and really dig deep to give the fans some songs they haven’t hear in years.

    I personally hope that this tour occurs, and another next year with Anderson at the helm!

  2. Real Rock News September 22, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks for stopping by with that comment, Andy.

    I actually did read up a bit on Anderson’s history with Yes, and knew that he had left as you say, but when writing this piece, I suppose I let my personal vision of the group influence some of the wording I used.

    I also hope that they can all tour together next year, and hope that Anderson is not so ticked off by this situation that he won’t want to work with the other guys again.

  3. Tom Curtiss September 22, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    While it is true that YES has had a steadily revolving door on personnel lineups, I really don’t think that it was too much to ask for them to wait until Jon was well enough to tour with them. Personally, I won’t be buying tickets for this lineup/show. We’re all getting older and this could possibly be their last tour. I don’t want this to be my most recent memory of the greatest progressive rock group ever. When Jon returns I will be first in line for tickets.

  4. Vic September 22, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I too am hopeful of a full reunion next year of the classic lineup. Jon didn’t plan on being ill and there is really no excuse for the others not to be reaching out to him to wish him well. However, in Squire and Howe’s defense, the band was supposed to take only ONE year off after the 2004 tour. Jon was the one to go off and do other things (which is why Squire did the Syn reunion, Alan White did the Circa and White recordings and Steve joined up for the original Asia reunion). Jon toured with Wakeman and did his own tour along with a number of side projects thus avoiding a Yes reunion. There have even been rumors that Jon has indicated that he would leave Yes altogether. These guys aren’t getting any younger and I, for one, will see the new lineup just to see Alan, Chris and Steve. I just hope that the classic lineup can get past all of this for one last hurrah in 2009 that better reflects their 40 year legacy of great tours and recordings.

  5. Eddie Lee September 23, 2008 at 12:34 am

    I can understand Jon Anderson’s frustration BUT I also understand Chris, Steve & Alan’s frustration as well – they’ve been trying to tour for several years now!

    I don’t really care if they retire Yes now, but I can’t forgive them for not making a studio album when Rick was with them from 2002 to 2004.

  6. Greg O’Neal September 23, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    This is the saddest period in YES history to date. The blow off of Jon by the band is absolutely disgraceful. While I love their music and the band as a whole, I can’t believe that after all these years they don’t get it that Jon is the spiritual leader of this group, the fifth “instrument” with his amazing voice and skill, and the focal point from which all the bands music and positive energy is illuminated on stage. Without him their is no YES – period. Benoit David has a *heavy* burden ahead.
    I understand the itching to tour, but I have read and heard that the magnitude of the 2004 tour and preceding years of touring almost wiped Jon out and risked his voice and health. He needed more time, and he deserved to have the band support him 100% as a founding member and one who has contributed so much to the YES franchise. The worst punctuation on this recent mess is that Jon was gravely ill, and the fact that the rest of the band, sans Alan, didn’t ring him up to talk and check on him and talk about the band’s future is just mind boggling, and downright sad. I never thought YES would take the road of a Journey, sticking in a replacement singer (call it whatever you want). I always thought they were a better band than that, and I guess I was wrong.
    I expect half the fan base or more will boycott the fall tour, and I sincerely hope they do in protest. I won’t be going. I want to see, as I think many YES fans do, these guys have a triumphant few more years together with some more tours and new music. I look to them to reflect back out to us, their bonds together and brotherhood of musicianship, doing something extraordinary and very special, as only they can do. I always hope for harmony within and among the band, so they are a working unit walking the talk that they sing and play so beautifully together as one. For Chris/Steve/Alan – patch this up. Get on a plane and go make this right with Jon. I think most of the fans are standing by with great hope for future of the YES we cherish, with Jon out front lighting the way.

  7. Andy September 23, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    While I will agree that if the report of only Alan calling Jon is true, that is very sad.

    However, Jon Anderson is not Yes. While maybe the handling of the current situation may have been better done, I think what’s done is done and we need to look to the future. (That statment comes very hard for me, someone who’s as devoted as ever to maintaining classic rock) Jon Anderson’s voice was the “5th insturment”, but the band has traded places with everyone except the bassist in 40 Years.

    Jon Anderson’s condition is very, very serious still. I think that the band is trying to work with someone else, but also hopeful that Anderson (as well as Wakeman for that matter) will still be able to work with them.

    I just can’t see Anderson’s condition improving so much in 6 months that he is then ready to do a full blown tour. I’m not a doctor, but anything that deals with breathing isn’t something to mess with.

    I really, really, really want to give Benoit David a chance, and I hope that the greater Yesfans out there will too. Its not his fault that Jon got sick, and I highly doubt that any of us would say “no” to a phone call from Chris Squire if we were the lead singer in a Yes tribute band.

    I am hopeful for the Benoit David era of Yes music. (Even if not billed as Yes)

    I am hopeful for Jon Anderson’s return to Yes

    I am hopeful for more involvment from Rick Wakeman

    I am hopeful for the future of Yes, because damn-it, after 4 years they are actually doing something again!

  8. Sandy Pluris October 16, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    I am very disappointed to learn that the other band members with YES think so little of Jon Anderson that they are not willing to wait for him to fully recover. I just got an e-mail from my local ticket provider telling me that tickets were going on sale soon for the YES concert. I was really excited and was about to buy them, thinking that Jon Anderson was ready to tour again and recovered from his illness that cancelled the tour earlier this year. Instead I discovered that there was a substitute. It just isn’t the same. To me, Jon Anderson is YES and without him YES is not YES! My husband is a long time fan and we have together been to almost 20 concerts over the years. My husband has been to about 26. Don’t know if he will want to go to the fake YES concert or not, but I do know that we will both want Jon Anderson to return and be a part of YES when he is fully recovered. Shame on his long time band members and “friends” for not caring more about their band mate.

  9. Harold of the Rocks April 21, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Well, here we are in 2011 and there have been several successful Yes tours.

    Sorry but, Benoit David has done a great job.

    Anyone calling it “fake Yes” is missing out on some great music and great setlists. I’ve enjoyed the shows and the smaller venues.

    But most of all, I’ve enjoyed seeing the songs that Jon would never do. Yes setlists got stale and the new version of Yes has changed that.

  10. Ken Kerry April 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I am very disapointed that Jon Anderson will not be on tour with YES this year 2011. I will not go see nor will I purchase a cd with noone other than Jon doing the main voculs. This proves that the rest of the band has no respect for the man. Unlike the band Defleppard (not correct spelling) but you get the picture. Here the other band members wait for there BROTHER drummer to get better and learn a new way to play the drums with one arm. That is a band I will always respect. Keep going Jon, you have a gift of a voice.

  11. Proggy December 3, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Typical Chris Squire is all I can say……. but it appears to me that these guys still have some unresolved B.S between them that they can’t after 40yrs call each other up and say g’day…
    Seems both sides are playing mind games…. time to grow up I reckon.
    And what’s this thing Squire has for Trevor Horn….?? Why get rid of Oliver Wakeman too…?? It didn’t work in 1980 with these guys (Drama – although good LP) and it might backfire again now…..
    On a side note who else thinks Steve Howe could double for Mr Burns in the Simpsons….

  12. jim365 October 6, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Rick Wakeman said in an old interview that he thought YES would be around long after he was dead and gone. Members have changed over the years in YES. But John is seeing what happens just likr Geof Tate being replaced in Queen’s Ryche. When the long time vocalist is replaced it seems weird. Van Halen. Judas Priest. The list of bands goes on where it is weird when lead vocals are replaced by someone immitating the origional. AC/DC, Bon Scott died. That’s different. John Anderson was done wrong. Plain and simple. But he knows to handel it with grace. Leaving the possibility open to let by gones be bygones

  13. Stephen August 8, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    what’s the story now with Jon not being on tour with Yes? I see they are touring with the band’s current line-up consisting of singer Jon Davison, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Geoff Downes.

    YES alumni are Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Bill Bruford, Trevor Horn, Trevor Rabin, Billy Sherwood, Tony Kaye, Peter Banks, Patrick Moraz, Benoit David, Oliver Wakeman, Igor Khoroshev and Tom Brislin.

    My sister and other friends saw them in KC, MO last night and they say it was a super concert, fine….. But
    Jon Anderson is still singing! and other Yes alumni play still

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