A couple albums ago, the band Yes was faced with the prospect of not having a keyboardist. Big things are expected of a Yes keyboardist because such people as Rick Wakeman, Tony Kaye, Geoff Downes, Patrick Moraz and Igor Khoroshev have filled that position. So, like any overachieving act, Yes filled the position of keyboardist with an orchestra.
Ever since, the rest of Yes have been quaking in their boots. Who knows what asymmetrical fixes might be tried if any other member were to leave? Previously it was thought that only a few of the top musicians would be eligible for membership in Yes.
But at the same time, all members must be smiling a bit amongst themselves. One Yes member had been replaced by a whole crew of musicians. I’m sure their chests must be puffed out with pride knowing this. So let’s look at what might be used to replace the other members of Yes.
Seemingly the central position in a lot of acts is the lead singer. Now I know you are a step ahead of me and think that the singer for Yes might need to be replaced by a choir. But not just any choir.
My brother Lani has oft described Jon Anderson, Yes’s most prolific lead singer, as sounding like “Mickey Mouse on helium”. So obviously a choir founded on bass voices is not a good replacement. Instead, let us scout out boys choirs, or (when the material is more adult), a woman’s choir might make a good replacement.
A committee of choir members might write the lyrics. Perhaps if we had every member of that say 20 person committee write a word and other words in 20 word intervals, perhaps we might end up with something as random as say Jon Anderson, Trevor Horn, Benoit David or the current John Davison might write.
It wouldn’t be right if the position of guitarist were taken over by another orchestra. Attrition might result and we might get only one orchestra to represent the one guitarist as well as the one keyboardist. So I say we go to jazz music and find a big band to replace the guitarist be it Steve Howe, Trevor Rabin, Billy Sherwood or Peter Banks. A big band would be wonderful to replace in-your-face lead notes like those coming from a distorted guitar.
The position of drummer, be it Alan White or Bill Bruford, could be filled by the rhythm section of a marching band. Plus you could have the band march and thus be a visual thrill for audiences.
Then what can you do about the position of bassist? Well every Yes album has Chris Squire owning this position. So much so that he is the man with the rights to the Yes name. Having never left the band he is perhaps the least prideful of all the members. I don’t think he has a need to challenge the rest of the band with more musicians than the other positions were filled with.
I suspect Squire would want the band to be progressive in his absence. As such they could replace him with one normal bassist, one slap bassist which can add punchiness to the band, a stand up bassist for some awesome slides not available with a fretted electric bass, and a cellist for that low and lengthy sustain.
So there you have it. The band Yes could easily be replaced by about two hundred musicians. Imagine the size of stage necessary. What a spectacle this would be. To some this might just be a fine end point for progressive rock music. It certainly is excessive and over the top just as Yes might want. Once and for all time Yes would have their most sought after feat. Yes would be the prog rock band with the most members ever in the line up.