Yes: Ever get lost in one of their wildly fantasy-driven record covers for endless hours, “I’ve Seen All Good Things” or “Close to the Edge” trilling endlessly in the background? Or later danced endlessly (while driving, no less) to “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” the group’s New Wave comeback? The band, which has sold some 50 million albums over the years, was neck-and-neck with Led Zeppelin for years, even to the point where there were attempts to merge parts of the two after the latter’s self-destruction via drummer John Bonham’s death in the late 1970s. The band has also been a baseball-like draw for rock compulsives fascinated with constant personnel changes, battling egos and offshoot projects.
For the current tour, the lineup will be classic, and playing in support of a new album getting its American release on the date of this gig. Who’ll be onstage? Call it a mix of the older and newer Yeses, with stalwart group founder Chris Squires on bass, über-guitarist Steve Howe showing off his considerable chops, former Plastic Ono Band drummer Alan White on the skins and newer hitmakers Geoff Downes on keyboard and singer Benoit David – picked to replace temperamental frontman Jon Anderson from a Yes tribute band – on lead vocals.
As for Styx, I have a longtime appreciation of the group’s big hits “Come Sail Away,” “Lady” and “Babe.” It’s pop at its most popular, bridging the guitar sound of heavy metal with prog/rock elements and keening male emotion. And yes, they seem to have also had as many lineup changes as any of these classic acts touring these days.
Look for audiences that sway here with arms in the air, some twirly-armed attempts at hippie trance-dances and a load of lit lighters seeking encores at the end – all quite a distance, on one level, from that first big concert that got everything underway 42 years ago at Bethel, but in keeping with the rock world’s many changes since. For Bethel Woods reservations, call (800) 745-3000 or visit www.bethelwoodscenter.org.