YouTube Transcription: “Yes” in rehearsal
British progressive rock band Yes performed live to audiences in 25 cinemas around the US. Here is a selection of scenes from the technical rehearsal before the show, humorously narrated by Rick Wakeman, keyboard player of Yes.
Today is a really exciting day in the Yes calendar. We’ve been waiting for this day for ages. Yes, it’s when Yes will be doing their very first acoustic performance live, to be beamed around theatres all over America. and so, here we are, as Yes, assembled in the rehearsal room for some intense rehearsals in order to prepare for this momentous occasion… any minute now, we’ll be rehearsing… when the candle goes…
Unusually for Yes, rehearsals today have started at 11am. Usually, we don’t start rehearsing until 3pm, when Chris (bassist, RIP2015) arrives, as he only gets out of bed when the sun is in the descendancy. Today was different: last night, Chris never went to bed.
Here, Steve (guitarist) and I, practising “Long Distance Runaround”. Here, Steve and I, practising “Long Distance Runaround” again.
Already the tightness of the band beginning to show, years and years of playing together. One of the lovely things about Yes is everybody’s always so happy. Could hardly stop Alan (drummer) laughing at times.
And there’s the crew, as ever, busy as ever… the camera crew as busy as ever,… and the crew, as busy as ever.
Ah yes, Steve and Alan there, working on the new version of “Roundabout”, which actually sounds like the old version of “Roundabout”.
Ah, apparently it is a new version… and there’s Chris playing away, apparently unaware that the rest of the band have gone away on a tea break. Never mind, he’s enjoying himself. “Oh, where have they gone?” I might as well go as well. And Alan’s gone, and Chris is still there. Somebody’s coming to tell him that they’ve all gone for a tea break. The crew are discussing where the tea is. And now, in fact, it is the tea break. We’ve all been working really hard for about 8 and a half minutes now, and it’s time to have a cup of tea.
Note the hustle and bustle, and the intensity of the rehearsal as everybody prepares for this momentous occasion of the live broadcast around the Regal cinemas.
This is the great song “Time Is Time”, taken from the “Magnification” album, and it’s great to see the band all playing together again. Hear the beautiful guitar, the lovely percussion, the piano… and Chris appears to have gone to bed.
Amazing how busy the crew are, even at this time while the band is playing, getting last-minute things ready.
Everybody has always felt that Yes has been a loud band, but today we’re playing quietly, mainly in order not to wake Chris up.
Ah, the familiar sound of applause, and here’s Steve showing everybody how he managed to thread a needle and cotton yesterday in order to mend a button on his trousers.
Very often at rehearsals one of us will start playing and everybody else will join in, and there’s Alan, started, and Steve’s joined, Jon has joined and now I’ve joined… and now everybody’s stopped, and Chris has started… totally unaware that we’ve all stopped.
(Jon, in a Yorkshire accent, supposedly like a workingman’s club) “Ok, tonight we’re gonna ‘ave bingo, and after t’ bingo a stripper’s gonna come on and take her clothes off! Say no more!”
All of us in Yes are aware that the career in the arenas can’t go on forever, so we’re preparing for a future career once we can no longer do this. Who knows, in five years time it could be Yes at the Variety Club, in Northern-England Leeds.
Ah, there’s Chris looking for his bass guitar, while Alan, like all drummers, continues to build a shed. (I didn’t understand that joke, perhaps it sounds like hammering)
The band always wish to ask loads of technical questions: Jon just checking there to see whether the reverb is on his voice naturally or coming electronically.
As the rehearsals gain intensity, the band move in to play “Blue Moon” (not a Yes song), the theme tune to my old soccer team, Manchester City… but as we don’t know the “middle eight” to that tune, we now move onto something else… yes, it’s the verse of “Blue Moon” again.
Just three or four minutes now to transmission, and intensity really, really hots up, and so they move into “Things ain’t What They Used To Be” (another non-Yes song).
It’s long been known about the intensity of Yes rehearsals, and here is a rare insight, indeed, into how we work in order to create those wonderful stage shows that we do.
The hustle and bustle continues on stage as we realise there’s just a couple of minutes to go.
(I will transcribe part 2 of this soon…)
Here is one of the songs from that performance on just after this: