ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”


Madison Square Garden, New York

THE COMBINATION of three Yes-men and two Bugglers is potentially the best thing to hit BOF-rock in a decade. On my left, a monolithic 12-album world-class outfit who must have been running short of ideas to maintain their style and audience, particularly since Andersons and Wakemans idea was to split.

On my right, a two-hit-wonder, pariahs of pure plastic pop for pure plastic people and a name chosen for its crassness — Buggles. A startling combination which could induce schizophrenia: In fact, the opposite has happened — Buggles have been totally absorbed into the Yes-machine leaving no cracks showing. The exception is a new number, ‘We Can Fly From Here, the only song to explore properly the opposite polarities now contained in one cookie-jar — the fresh-wrapped rhythms and catchy lines of the Bs and the monumental orchestrations of the Ys. Intriguing.

Note, though, theyre still called Yes, not Buggles, or Yuggles, or whatever. The outcome is a giant step backwards into the ‘Close To The Edge/Fragile era, possibly a wise move, since most of their lasting music was carved into the rocks around them. The point being, is this a deliberate scheme to increase ratings? Its tempting to assume the answer is yes, for the following reasons: ‘Drama, the recorded offspring of the union, harks back to those days strongly, and thus when its displayed live, meshes in perfectly with the rest of the set, which comprises 95 per cent of material from — youve guessed it — the same period, ‘Yours Is No Disgrace, ‘And You And I, ‘The Fish including a stunning sequence of bass guitar/drum interplay backed with a keyboards/lead guitar rhythm. This reversal of musical roles is worth parting with pennies for and so on.

Finally, is it coincidence that Trevor Horn employs an almost identical high-voice technique to that of Jon Anderson? Hmmmm? So dont worry, Yes-fans youll love ‘em even more, just the way they were. The rest of us will mourn for what could have been.