Parallels - The Music of Yes
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Parallels - The Music of Yes

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The best kept secret in music


" (Official Yes Website)"

Recently a good friend named Steve Abel asked if I would be attending a show by a Seattle-area Yes tribute band called Parallels I wasn't aware that this gig was happening but thought if nothing else it would be a good reason to get together with Steve, who I hadn't seen in some time.

At first I wasn't sure about going, given my own trepidation about tribute bands. But I was of the mind that if I want to, say, hear Steve Howe's solos, then I want to hear Steve play them, and if I did go to Parallel's gig I'd want to hear more obscure stuff.

I reconsidered when I realized that Randy George was in the band. Randy is an accomplished musician who is a proponent of prog rock in his recent associations with the likes of Neal Morse (Spock's Beard) and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and Rick Wakeman (Yes). It dawned on me that Randy wouldn't be in a "copy band", and a mutual Yes friend was excited about them, so I decided to check them out.

Though I originally expected the performance to be in some club, I had learned that it actually was being held in a small hall owned by a Lynnwood music store. No tables or bar, just snacks and sodas, with the seats consisting of metal folding chairs (ah, the pain an audience must endure to experience great art); but that last item aside it was nice to be in a setting where the focus was the band, not selling drinks. I didn't know the set list (or want to know, for the sake of surprise), and outside of Randy I wasn't familiar with the other musicians. I also found it interesting that the lead singer was a woman (Robyn Dawn). I imagine it must be tough to find a male who can sing Jon's parts without sounding like an imitator or just plain shrill.

The band opened with, appropriately, "Parallels", which was promising as I personally hadn't heard that played live since the GOING FOR THE ONE tour back in 1977--again, promising as it was something fresh to my ears. It was followed by a fairly faithful rendition of "Heart of the Sunrise", and though that's one I'd like to see Yes retire it was nevertheless engaging. I found that I was getting caught up in the performance--granted not as breathless as I would be at the masters themselves, but happy that this music is getting played. As Randy said early in the show the intent isn't to be mere imitators of Yes music, and the next selection was evidence of what an inventive group of musicians could do in bringing Yes music to local audiences--and it opened my eyes to the possibilities.

Though I probably groaned to myself when the band launched into "Long Distance Runaround/The Fish" (another one that I've gotten my fill of) they added something towards the end of "Fish" that spiked my interest: a short instrumental medley of all the songs from Chris' FISH OUT OF WATER album. It was creative and inspired, and unexpectedly elevated the song for me. More so than at the start, I was all ears and eager to see what came next.

I won't go into the entire set, except to mention that "And You and I" and "Awaken" were standouts, as was "Astral Traveler"--great to hear an early Yes tune that the actual band is reticent to do. The rest of the set consisted pretty much of songs Yes had been trotting out these last few years. It occurred to me that the longevity of tribute bands is to be ever evolving, playing a different set of songs at every performance. Obviously that's an easy thing for me to say, as it's asking a lot of musicians that probably won't ever make a living from being in a tribute band, and have day jobs and family that also demand their time.

At the Parallels gig Randy asked who in the audience had traveled the furthest. One gentleman said he was from Minneapolis, while another trumped that by saying he came from Australia. After the show I confirmed that the Aussie just happened to be in town. Then the dude from Minneapolis approached me, and introduced himself as John Costello and I figured that the gig coincidentally coincided with his trip too.

Not so, John advised me. True, he had never been to Seattle and wanted to see the Experience Music Project, but the #1 reason for this trip was this Parallels gig, as Yes tours usually bypass Minnesota, and this was his chance to hear some live Yes music.

I was stunned. Granted it's unlikely that many would travel a great distance mainly to attend a concert by a tribute band. But what about those people who live in the same city where these bands exist? In that case fans have a golden opportunity to hear songs being performed by musicians who are passionate about playing this unique brand of music, and are every bit fans themselves.

Mike Tiano (Publisher: Notes From the Edge / - Mike Tiano (Notes from the Editor)


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We are a tribute to the music of YES. We have been together for 2 years with the current line up. Our current repertoire is focused on the era known as Classic Yes. We strive for musical authenticity and aim to please fans who have kept the music alive.