Review – Yes – Fly From Here: Return Trip (Actually by “Yes – The Drama Line-Up”) – by Roy Hunter

I’ve been a fan of Yes (in it’s many guises) since I bought their 1st album back in 1969… I discovered King Crimson at The Rolling Stones’ “free in the park” concert, July 5th 1969 – and avidly sought out any music in this new as yet unidentified genre we now lovingly call “Prog”… So the ‘Yes Album‘ (the black cover) was maybe my third or fourth proggy purchase…

Oh what a joy, nearly 50 years on, to get my hands on this “new” release from one of my much-loved bands!

So what do we get here? A revamp of the 2011 release – the much maligned “Fly From Here” issue – the one with Canadian Benoît David as lead singer. I’m not reviewing THAT album per se, but obviously one can’t help compare it with this new release.

‘Fly From Here: Return Trip’ – sees the return of Trevor Horn as lead vocalist. No, his voice doesn’t have the range of Jon Anderson, Benoît David or Jon Davison, but as he wrote most of the material, I defy anybody to say he shouldn’t be the lead singer on this album! He does a creditable job, you can hear every word, and the differences in the production actually make this the better album in my opinion.

The fact that Chris Squire (R.I.P) is a feature of this line-up brings a sense of continuity from that far off ’69 Yes album… And of course the much admired (and often denigrated) “Drama” album of 1980… This re-release of “Fly…” is almost like a Drama, part II

There has been some tweaking of the tunes here and there, the production has shortened some by a few seconds, and if you listen closely you’ll pick out the changed/upgraded moments throughout the “Fly…” suite.

Also included on the album is an extra track, but the highlight for me is the doubling in length of the piece called Hour Of Need… Originally 3 minutes 7 seconds, thin voiced and low production has metamorphosed into a full-on prog track of 6 minutes 44 seconds!! Once the vocal part concludes we get Steve Howe in a display of just how great a musician he is! Brilliant, and it makes the second half of the album march on… literally!!

The extra track?? Don’t Take No For An Answer… It is a good bonus track, but some weakness in the vocal does show up here. Am I being super critical? I don’t think so, as the tune itself is so much better than a lot of pulp we get thrown at us these days.

In conclusion, of the 2 albums, this is the superior release, and I would have bought it, in my hour of need, for the re-vamped Hour Of Need.

That aside, it is a completist’s delight!

Released 25th March 2018

Order ‘Fly From Here: Return Trip here

See Yes on BBC Breakfast:

2 thoughts on “Review – Yes – Fly From Here: Return Trip (Actually by “Yes – The Drama Line-Up”) – by Roy Hunter”

  1. I just completely disagree. David and Davidson are both better vocalists than Horn.. Whether he wrote the original music or not is not really the issue. The original album: ‘Fly from Here’ Was not maligned, but was a critically acclaimed album. Yes, the fans always have something to say about what musicians are in what versions of yes. That has been going on since the day the Jon Anderson first got sick before the ‘close to the edge and back’ tour. What interests me is that every review I have read of this new release has a different reason for it being released in the first place. ‘Horn/Down actually wrote the vocals’. ‘It’s a tribute to Chris Squire’ is another one. ‘He deserves to sing on this album because he wrote the song’. Well, he should have sang on the album the first time. The original album, released in 2011 was great. I personally like the ‘fly from here’ sweet better than the second side, but that’s just me. What David managed to do, being a better lead singer by your own admission, was make the vocals into a very haunting, yet uplifting sound. You can feel the necessary loneliness that was supposed to be transmitted by this epic song and its lyrics, essentially the storyline. I do think it’s a slap in the face of David. I think the original sounds better. I am not against anyone who has ever been in the band. It is none of my business anyway. I just go to all the concerts and buy all of the albums as I am a lifelong fan since 1971. The problem here really is is that Horn is not as good of a lead singer as David. He never really was. Drama was an excellent album and I bought it the day it came out. The live version that they released on ‘in a word’ was awful by any standards. But drama was an excellent album. What I’m trying to get at here is that I believe that this album did not need to be redone. Especially by somebody who cannot sing it as well, regardless if they wrote the music. Horn had his chance in 2011, and he decided to go with David as the lead singer. That was a wise choice. As regards to the reviewers who say that ‘it’s a tribute to Chris Squire’. Ridiculous, as Chris Squire was the bassist on the original album. That makes no sense at all. The final insult is photo shopping out of David’s face and replacing it with Horn’s face. Very creepy. I have seen too many concerts in many cities watching individuals and small groups actually throw insults at David on the stage, just because he was not Jon Anderson and dared to do his part to try to keep yes going. I think he deserves more credit than he has ever gotten. And this new release does not help.

  2. I agree with Jeffrey Seelman’s review.

    It’s not a bad remake… but it was certainly unnecessary. The original was so much better IMO. I would have liked to see them put that energy into a NEW studio album than remake one that didn’t need it. I can only guess that they have very ill personal feelings toward Benoît, and felt the need to rewrite history.

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