A series of essays wherein I explore the numerous musical identities of my favorite musician: from child prodigy to teen idol to guitar hero to singer/songwriter to award-winning in-demand film composer.
Featuring news/updates and commentary/analysis of Trevor's career and associated projects.
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Setlist wisdom: "...as one of many ones of me."

There is a particular symbolic meaning, I'm sure, in the decision of the boys to perform "Perpetual Change" from 1971's The Yes Album.  It is a song which they have all played at various times over the years and so it is - as is the entire ARW setlist - a piece of their shared history, a song they all know well.

And speaking of that history, its' place at the head of the setlist is also symbolic as a nod to two of the openers for YesWest shows - "Cinema" paired with "Leave It" for the 9012Live tour, and the overture of "Perpetual Change" for the Talk tour in 1994 which preceded "The Calling" ("Cinema" had actually been switched out as the intro and moved to the middle of the setlist).  But up to the present day Trevor had played the intro more times than the actual song, as it was only performed twice in 1984.  "Perpetual Change" represented, as did "Sweet Dreams" from Time and A Word, an acknowledgement of Tony Kaye's previous tenure, but the crowd-pleasers from that album took precedence as the first YesWest tour wound on.

Rick Wakeman's history with the song is near the equal of his lead singer bandmate's, as he first played it in 1971 once he joined Yes on their Autumn run of dates in the UK and America.

I note all this because "Perpetual Change" is one of those songs which has come to be regarded as a Yes classic overall, but also specifically with each of the principles' involvement in Yes music.  It makes for a compelling statement and reminder to those in attendance that this music is a part of them as much as it is a part of history - Yes history and their history.  And as such I find it a very fitting welcome back to the continuum of their relationship with each other and our relationship with them.  Music is living history because it breathes anew each time we experience it, especially when performed live.

And I also appreciate the orchestral mockup of "Perpetual Change" which precedes the opener as a nod, again, both to Yes history (their use of Stravinsky's The Firebird suite as well as Young Persons' Guide to the Orchestra as entrance music) and also the desire Trevor previously had to create new entrance music for YesWest to use - I'm assuming he created this particular track using his TASCAM GigaStudio samplers.