Review – Chris Squire – Fish Out of Water (2CD / 2DVD / 1LP / 2 X 7″ SINGLES LIMITED EDITION BOXSET) – by James R. Turner

At the last count there have been about 1 million approx. solo albums (ed. – I think you may be exaggerating there James…) from various members of Yes in it’s variety of incarnations (although to be fair, most of them are by Rick Wakeman!) and, now while the band strides the earth in two distinct incarnations (the ‘official’ Yes, where Billy Sherwood has stepped up into the much missed Chris Squire’s boots  and Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman), neither band has the anchorage or the sheer musical presence that Chris Squire had, the only man to appear on every Yes studio album and whose distinctive bass sound turned bass playing into an art, where it became more than just part of the back beat.

Billy Sherwood is excellent live at taking Chris’ place but there can only ever be one Chris Squire, Rickenbacker in hand, propelling the sound of Yes onwards.

Which is why, for my money, ‘Fish Out of Water’ is the finest solo album by any member of Yes ever released, it’s the finest album that Yes never released, and showcased Chris at his best. Here he takes on some astonishingly great sounds, aided and abetted by old Yes sparring partners Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz, such luminaries such as Mel Collins and Jimmy Hastings and orchestral arrangements by old friend Andrew Pryce-Jackson. This is pure undiluted Squire, where he lets his vocals and his bass take central stage.

In fact, he didn’t sound as powerful and as energised as this again until on the Yes ‘Drama’ album from 1980.

This re-issue on Esoteric Recordings  is available in both a standard double CD set, which includes the original album and the new stereo mix by Jakko Jakszyk (complete with bonus tracks, the single version of Lucky Seven and Chris Squire and Alan White’s Run with the Fox/Return of the Fox single) or a deluxe boxed set that includes the CD but also replica 7” singles of the bonus tracks, the album on 180g vinyl and ‘Fish Out of Water’ in a new 5.1 mix.

The only quibble I have with this is that the 5.1 mix is only available in the far more expensive box, and for those of us who love the album but don’t need the vinyl or bonus 7” singles, the cost of the box to get the 5.1 is quite prohibitive.

Hopefully when the box runs out, there may be second run of the CD with the 5.1 disc as I am sure the demand for it is out there.

Whilst some of the content (the interview with Chris Squire and track commentary for instance) is also on the 2006 Sanctuary edition of the album, the sound quality and remastering work is stellar. Where the Sanctuary copy fell was the sound of the album, it was very muddy, and the booklet looked like it had been run through a colour photocopier.

The mastering here brings out all the subtle nuances throughout the record and, of course, Jakko’s new stereo mix is a revelation, bringing new life into such epic pieces as the fantastic Hold Out Your Hand and You By My Side.

The two epics on this album were always Silently Falling, with it’s astonishing extended coda, and the orchestrally brilliant Safe (Canon Song) with its lush orchestrations taking up pretty much the whole of side two. This was true progressive music, none of yer regressive nonsense, this was Chris Squire pushing boundaries and making exciting dynamic and, on Safe, truly memorably moving songs.

You get the room for these songs to breathe and grow and develop, and the intricate sounds, subtle musical nuances, even the funk that’s on Lucky Seven (which to me was always the weakest on the album) has even grown on me and I can appreciate it a hell of a lot more than I ever did. Silently Falling for me is the centrepiece of this album, and oh, I would have loved for Yes to take this and make something of it as well (not that there is anything wrong at all with this version, far from it, but to hear Squire and Anderson singing on this together would have been amazing).

The 5.1 is even more astonishing, like King Crimson, Gentle Giant and, indeed, Yes, 5.1 is the music system progressive music was built for and, of course, Esoteric have a great track record in 5.1, as the Hawkwind ‘Warrior at the Edge of Time’ and the recent Barclay James Harvest re-issues show. It is a truly immersive experience for the music lover and it feels, just for the length of the album, that Chris Squire is in the room with you, that this is a private performance just for you, the sound of Silently Falling in 5.1 sending tingles down the spine. The whole mix is revelatory, there is so much more going on, and the mix is beautifully organic, pulling the sounds to life without ever compromising the album.

For those of you who already have this album on CD from previous below par re-issues and indeed the original vinyl and are wondering if it is worth getting a copy, I would say the sound has radically improved over any previous CD version and the Jakko stereo mix is revelatory. If you were thinking of the 5.1, which is on a par with the wonderful 5.1 version of ‘The Yes Album’ by the way, then you would have to look at your budget and decide if it is worth having,  complete with the vinyl.

This is a legendary ground-breaking record, from a legendary ground-breaking musician and, other than a Christmas record (the amusingly titled ‘Chris Squire’s Swiss Choir’) stands as the solo testament to Yes’ anchor. Maybe it is so good because he never made another, not knowing the man I couldn’t speculate on why not, maybe he felt he’d said all he needed to say solo, or perhaps he felt more comfortable within Yes, who can say? However, as one of the most innovative and distinctive musical forces in music, and a year after his untimely passing, this remaster is the appropriate way to celebrate his definitive musical statement.

Released 27th April 2018

Buy the boxset here

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:

YES Release Fly From Here – Return Trip featuring Trevor Horn on Vocals on 25th March

On 25th March prog icons, YES, will release a brand-new mix of their album Fly From Here – Return Trip, featuring the Drama line-up and new lead vocals by Trevor Horn, to coincide with their 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Fly From Here – Return Trip can be pre-ordered via Pledge Music here:

https://yesthedramalineup.pmstores.co/

The original 2011 release of Fly From Here featured the band members who appeared on Drama: Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, plus Benoit David on lead vocals with Trevor Horn in the role of Producer.

The addition of Trevor’s lead vocals has produced a genuine sequel to Drama. Fly From Here – Return Trip was developed as a labour of love for all involved and the new vocals were recorded over the last two years amidst other commitments. Trevor began re-recording the lead vocals the day after he guested with YES at the Royal Albert Hall in 2016 and within 24 hours the rest of the band had joined him at his studio. Additional overdubs by other members have also been added.

In addition to remixing parts of the album, Trevor has added personal liner notes and the sleeve design features the painting by Roger Dean originally used on the inside of the 2011 edition.

Trevor Horn says: “I really enjoyed listening to Alan and Chris playing together again. Finishing off the album was a labour of love.”

Fly From Here – Return Trip also contains a previously unreleased song, ‘Don’t Take No for an Answer’ recorded in 2011, with Steve Howe on lead vocals. Additionally, the full-length version of ‘Hour of Need’ is included. This has previously only been included as a Japanese bonus track.

“It is great to have the original Drama line up playing Fly From Here plus several other songs Trevor had a big part in writing.” Comments Steve Howe.

Geoff Downes adds: “It’s quite amazing what Trevor has done with the album and the way it has turned out. It is most refreshing and adds a whole new dimension to the original recordings from 2011. I think the fans will appreciate it as a genuine sequel to the Drama album, and embrace it as a valuable part of our YES50 celebrations.”

Track Listing:-

Fly From Here – Overture

Fly From Here Pt 1 – We Can Fly

Fly From Here Pt 2 – Sad Night at the Airfield

Fly From Here Pt 3 – Madman at the Screens

Fly From Here Pt 4 – Bumpy Ride

Fly From Here Pt 5 – We Can Fly (Reprise)

The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be

Life on a Film Set

Hour of Need (full length version)

Solitaire

Don’t Take No for an Answer

Into the Storm

The album is a long-awaited treat for all YES fans and following Chris Squire’s passing in 2015, represents the last chance for fans to hear a follow-up to the classic YES release Drama which reached number 2 in the UK album charts in 1980.

The album is available to pre-order now exclusively via Pledge Music, plus some extra Roger Dean images and Pledge offers, and fans will be able to collect their orders, or buy direct for the first time, when YES attends the 50th Anniversary Fan Convention at the London Palladium on 25th March 2018 as part of their eagerly anticipated March 2018 UK tour. Trevor Horn will be guesting with Yes at the London Palladium [both shows] and Paris. Please see the tour dates below.

MARCH 2018 (UK & Europe)

 

Tues 13th Bristol            Colston Hall
Wed 14th    Sheffield       City Hall
Fri 16th        Glasgow       SEC Armadillo
Sat 17th        Manchester   Bridgewater Hall
Sun 18th       Gateshead    Sage
Tues 20th      Birmingham  Symphony Hall
Wed 21st    Brighton       Centre
Fri 23rd        Liverpool       Philharmonic Hall
Sat 24th        London       Palladium
Sun 25th        London       Palladium
Tue 27th        Tilburg       013
Wed 28th      Antwerp       De Roma
Fri 30th         Paris       Olympia

 

UK Tickets available from BookingsDirect.com 24hr Ticket Hotline 0844 249 2222 (subject to fees). Also available from venue box offices and select authorised ticket agencies.
Front row, Meet & Greet & VIP packages are available from YESWORLD.com
There is no support.   Please see ticket for start time.