Monday, February 16, 2009

Yes Cancels Tour - Portland Curse?

I posted a few weeks ago my struggles around seeing Yes on its current 40th anniversary tour when the band stopped in Portland on February 14. I wasn't sure if I wanted to see the band without Jon Anderson, who has been too ill to tour. But the fact that they were playing a fairly small venue and whipping out rarities from one of my favorite albums, Drama, was pushing me to go.

Despite the encouragement from some of my fellow bloggers to just go for it, the $75 ticket price and a desire to take my wife out for Valentine's Day sidetracked the whole thing. Frankly, I forgot all about it until today.

That is when my friend and bass whiz BassBudd told me the show had been cancelled. Upon quick research, actually most of the rest of the tour has been cancelled, as cleanly laid out on the tour page of the band's Web site.

The formal statement from the band is "Due to unforeseen medical reasons, the 'In The Present Tour,' featuring Yes’ Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White is cancelling shows through February 24 (San Diego). The band wishes to apologize for any inconvenience that this might have caused to their fans and hopes to see them again soon."

News reports say that Chris Squire was admitted to a hospital in Houston a week ago with an unspecified medical emergency which required surgery on his leg. Eeeks.

That means they played one show on this leg of the tour (no pun intended) - in Mexico - and had to bail.

So that solved my dilemma. But here is the deal. I now think that Portland and anything to do with Yes are never meant to be. In fact there may be a curse on anything Yes-related when it comes to Portland. This is the fourth cancellation in the last four years. Check this out:

In 2005, all of the Yes guys minus Jon Anderson were supposed to come to the Roseland, on the More Drama Tour. This was drummer Alan White's band, Chris Squire's band, and Steve Howe acoustic, with a promised deep dive into the Drama material in an all star jam at the end of each gig. Drama-era keyboardist Geoff Downes was in White's band, so this was basically a chance for that lineup to perform stuff off the album. But that whole tour was cancelled due to "Visa problems" with one of the band. I had tickets to this one.

Then, in 2007, Asia (with Howe and Downes) had to cancel their show at the Aladdin Theater because John Wetton had to have emergency open heart surgery. I had tickets to that one too.

I also had tickets to the original 40th anniversary tour, where the band was supposed to play the very intimate and cool Edgefield last August. That tour was cancelled due to Anderson's health issues. I posted about it here.

And now this cancellation (also at The Aladdin) due to emergency surgery on Squire.

I suppose this happens when out of shape lifelong road dogs get too old. Squire has been getting larger and larger over the years while Howe has been shrinking. But I still gotta think, I will never see these guys in Portland again. One of them is gonna die next time.

Anderson in November discussed how the health of the band was in jeopardy in general.

He told, As for my health now, I truly feel reborn, it’s gonna take some months before I can do shows, but my dreams are coming true. Like most people my age - I’m now 64 - the body (and) mind goes through so many changes. I feel that my health has always been strong enough for the band…up until 2004. There had been too many tours, too much friction from outside of the band. This had made it impossible to keep touring the way Yes truly should.

With no new music, a lack of passion for the music and each other, and no real promotion of who Yes truly is, etc., things just looked so bleak. That’s why I suggested a break for six months, maybe do a progressive acoustic CD, and tour on a different style of touring, semi-acoustic for a while, and less shows per year… just for us to realise who we were. We were not communicating as a band.

Both (departed Yes keyboardist) Rick (Wakeman) and myself could see it happening, but sadly the others just wanted to keep going down that same touring spiral. That’s why Yes hasn't toured, as it happens, to the best.

Hopefully we will get back together and perform in the coming years, I truly hope so. The fans deserve it, and so do we.

Cool, Jon. I agree. But maybe for the sake of the next tour and everyone's health, skip Portland. I don't mind driving to Seattle, which is the last place I successfully saw any musician that has anything to do with Yes. That was on the band's 35th anniversary tour - the last one with Wakeman before he retired due to - yeah - health issues.


Dr. John said...

Wow! I heard something about a blood clot requiring emergency surgery, which leads me to believe that he has some narrowing of his arteries in his legs and one of them closed off all of a sudden, requiring emergent removal of the clot. Yikes! Best wishes to him and his family as he recovers.

VoxMoose said...

I wonder if the band's "Portland curse" started before or after your picture was taking with Squire? Hmm...