The records "Fragile" and "Drama" were milestones in the long career of Prog-Urgestein Yes in very different ways. While with "Fragile" Keyboardass Rick Wakeman joined the group and gave it from now on decisive impulses, it was nine years later with Geoff Downes again a virtuoso keyman, who provided for a certain reorientation of the exceptional group with "Drama". Now Yes perform exactly these groundbreaking works in a double pack.
A lot's happened to Yes in the last few months. The formation, founded in 1968, was hit hardest by the loss of bassist Chris Squire, who died of leukaemia on 27 June 2015. His place is taken by his confidant Billy Sherwood. And with Jon Davison, Yes has established a singer who is at least favourably regarded by the fan community. We are curious whether the concerts in spring will conjure up a new band spring.
eclipsed: Why do you bring the quite different albums "Fragile" and "Drama" completely on stage within one set?
Steve Howe: It's just another series from the series we've developed to perform different albums in their entirety in a long concert night. This underlines that Yes have always understood themselves as a concept band and definitely not as a singles band. This series is enthusiastically received by the fans, which flatters us very much. Another reason why we're continuing with this.
Geoff Downes: The ulterior motive in this particular set is that we want to merge the yes of the early seventies with the yes of the early eighties. We think it's an exciting thing. Because not a few of our followers separate these two decades as far as the Yes-Sound is concerned. But musically they are not so far apart. I hope that at the end of the day the audience will go home with this realization.
eclipsed: So "Fragile" and "Drama" have more to do with each other than many Yes fans want to admit?
Downes: Yeah. The fact that many of the old Yes freaks have little to do with "Drama" to this day is due to the fact that Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman were not on this record. In terms of composition technique, however, the pieces of "Drama" are in no way inferior to the Yes early work. Only the sound world is a little more modern, just owed to the eighties.
Howe: For me it is not important to what extent these two records belong together musically. We have always attached great importance to each new work sounding individual, without losing a certain basic Yes character. That's all I can say.
eclipsed: What significance does "Fragile" have for you in the Yes catalogue, what "Drama"?
Downes: "Fragile" is certainly more complex than "Drama". Independently of this, Yes can be heard pure on both discs, i.e. an independent world of sound. With "Drama" Yes managed to bring progressive rock back into the consciousness of many people, who had been completely on the ground the years before because of the punk movement. And with Drama, Yes arrived in the '80s.
Howe: "Fragile" was the first time Rick Wakeman was there, he was an enormous enrichment for our sound! The classic line-up of the band was completed by him. The band had found each other for now. This makes this plate an important work. "Drama", on the other hand, is a continuation of the Yes style in a slightly modified form. Anyway, I still like this production very much.
eclipsed: "Drama" is one of the Yes albums that is most controversially discussed, many fans reject it. Why is that?
Howe: It's still a mystery to me today. For one finds in it all the attributes typical of Yes. Anyway, I really like this record. And we will give everything live to convince the skeptics of their quality.
Downes: Hey, guys, this thing is good! Just because I was involved in this..