Yes – “Fly From Here” (2011)
“Attention passengers,” this is your pilot Chris Squire speaking; I’d like to introduce you to your co-pilot and crew. We are Yes, and we’ll be your in-flight entertainment this evening. I’ve turned off the seatbelt sign, so please feel free to move about the cabin or enjoy the view of the landscape outside. Now, where is my bass…”
More than 40 years (!) after their 1969 debut made waves in the London underground music scene, Yes at this point in time is in a very unique position: that of being one of the originators of the past 40 years of progressive music, while BEING influenced in turn by those 40 years. When the almighty Dream Theater is honored to be its opening act, Yes is doing something right.
For some passengers who have enjoyed Yes’ other journeys, the absence of crew chief Jon Anderson will make boarding this plane a non-starter. And that would be unfortunate, because although this veteran crew will not take you to necessarily-uncharted lands, it’s a very pleasant flight indeed.
2. We Can Fly
3. A Sad Day At the Airfield
4. Madman At the Screens
5. Bumpy Rid
6. We Can Fly – Reprise
7. The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be
8. Life On A Film Set
9. Hour of Need
11. Into the Storm
The first half of this flight is taken up by a 25-minute suite in 6 parts, “Fly From Here.” It’s about a pilot all by his lonesome in a deserted airfield, with only the old planes to keep him company. He even runs one of the engines just to break the silence and keep himself sane. It’s unclear just how the airfield got this way, but the bright melodies of the main theme (“We Can Fly”) and the quirky bounce of “Bumpy Ride” make this a very entertaining takeoff point. The triumphant reprise especially puts the bow on top and is one of the most uplifting hooks in recent progressive memory.
The second half of “Fly From Here” features more traditional, stand-alone Yessongs. The wide-eyed, smiling, major-key melodies make “The Man You’ve Always Wanted Me to Be” seem like an extension of the previous suite, and “Life On A Film Set” showcases the more minor-key, discordant side of Yes.
For “Hour of Need,” Chris Squire and crew strip the band down to a bare-bones arrangement for the “other” instantly-catchy hook of the record. Co-pilot and guitarist Steve Howe has the cabin to himself for “Solitaire” and the full band returns for the final descent and landing of “Into the Storm.” It has an arena-sized chorus an a classic-yes hallmark: a catchy lead keyboard hook.
Throughout “Fly From Here,” the crew members all get to take a turn in the wondrous display of both individual talent and smooth teamwork. I personally got this album as a gift for someone else and probably enjoy it more than its receiver! “Fly From Here” for me has turned Yes from a band I’ve always just-sort-of liked to one I now TRULY enjoy.
Thank you Yes, for keeping us younger listeners in mind with “Fly From Here.” Bravo, gentlemen….keep on flying!
Written by Matt P