Yestival Tour Preview With Yes, Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Kevin checks in with this preview of the tour ahead of the Phoenix stop at Celebrity Theatre: In the spirit of the heyday of classic progressive rock music, the touring show known as Yestival presents a trio of the era's most influential acts: Yes, widely recognized as the most influential progressive band of all time, pop and prog maestro Todd Rundgren, and Carl Palmer, the lone surviving member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. And while any one of these artists could fill a larger venue, fans in Phoenix will experience a real treat as the Yestival tour makes an Aug. 25 stop at the Celebrity Theatre, an intimate theater in-the-round that has for decades been the city's favorite place to enjoy a concert.

There has been an ongoing dispute over who has the legal right to use the name Yes, with the result being that band founding member Jon Anderson has been touring as ARW, an outfit that also includes seminal Yes keys player Rick Wakeman and later era Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin. ARW has recently begun billing themselves as "Yes featuring ARW," and that faction of the band played a stellar show at Celebrity Theatre late last year.

The Yes line-up for Yestival consists of guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keys man Geoff Downes, singer Jon Davison and bassist/keys player Billy Sherwood. Joining Yes for the first time for the Yestival shows will be Dylan Howe, Steve Howe's son, who will be playing drums alongside White. The consummate musicians promise a set that will include at least one song from each of the band's first 10 albums, from debut record Yes to 1980's Drama.

Rundgren has a brand new album out called White Knight, and in a statement made through his publicist he indicated that fans would hear some of that record as well as songs from his days with Utopia. So far on the tour Rundgren has foregone most of his hits in favor of deeper album tracks, with the exception of the 1972 smash "Hello It's Me." "Whatever we're playing, we like to put on a good show and get people on their feet if we can," said Rundgren.

Palmer's show is being billed as "Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy," and as such will focus on hits like "Lucky Man" and "Hoedown," though Palmer indicates there will be some surprises too. Also in a statement made through his publicist, Palmer said, "There will be some music that most fans will not expect to hear. So as we say; 'Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends!'" No doubt there will be some emotional moments during Palmer's set as he honors his fallen bandmates, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, both of whom died last year.

Palmer may also mention to fans that an enormous ELP box set is due for release Sept. 29. Fanfare: Emerson Lake & Palmer 1970 - 1997 will include 11 of the band's albums on CD in remastered versions, a previously unreleased live concert on vinyl, four previously unreleased live concerts on CD, audio Blu-rays, two 7" remastered vinyl singles, a hardback book and a wealth of memorabilia including a poster, a badge and a tour program.

For a complete list of upcoming shows at Celebrity Theatre go here.

To find additional Yestival dates go here.

Yestival Tour Preview With Yes, Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer

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