“Progressive rock will always survive in some shape or form,” says Alan White, one of rock’s most revered and respected drummers, as he discussed his long career with Yes and the band’s Royal Affair Tour, which comes the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, June 15 at 7 p.m.; and the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, June 16 at 6:30 p.m.
The tour also features Yes, Moody Blues bassist John Lodge, Carl Palmer’s ELP Experience with vocals by Arthur Brown, Asia paying tribute to John Wetton, and a tribute to John Lennon by White (who backed Lennon in concerts and on albums in the late ’60s and early ’70s).
With such a star-studded lineup, one can see why the tour has a regal feel.
“The band is kind of like a bunch of English royalty musicians getting together who have been around for quite some time and are all seasoned and are pretty amazing players who have a great history,” says White, 69.
Given his own longevity, does it ever get monotonous for him as the years and gigs pass?
“Not really, no,” he said. “I’ve been in the band for 47 years. That’s a long time to be in the same band but it’s still great! It’s great to see all of the people out there still enjoying themselves through our music.
“We are doing some songs that we haven’t actually played in a while, and we’re going to be playing ‘The Gates of Delirium’ from the (1974) Relayer album, which we haven’t done for 10 or 12, maybe 15 years. That is pretty demanding to play onstage, but I’m sure the band will rise to the occasion.”
When the tour kicked off at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa., June 12, “The Gates of Delirium” was actually in the band’s setlist for the first time in 18 years. Yes also played “Rhythm of Love” for the first time in 15 years, and the GTR song “Sketches in the Sun” for the first time in seven years.
Yes’ current lineup includes guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Billy Sherwood, keyboardist Geoff Downes, drummer Jay Schellen and singer Jon Davison, in addition to White.
Here is the band’s setlist from the Sands Bethlehem Event Center, according to setlist.fm.
“No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed”
“Going for the One”
“I’ve Seen All Good People”
“Sketches in the Sun”
“Rhythm of Love”
“The Gates of Delirium”
For more information, visit yesworld.com.
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