Friday, Nov. 29, 2002 | 9:16 a.m.
Apparently, Yes really enjoys playing Las Vegas.
The veteran progressive rock unit returns for its 15th area appearance -- and third this year -- Tuesday night at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Yes' lineup, which has featured countless permutations since the British band's formation in 1968, currently consists of five longtime members. Founders Jon Anderson and Chris Squire are joined by Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and Alan White, all of whom first came on board in the early '70s.
Wakeman rejoined the band in 2002 after spending the last several years concentrating on solo work.
Yes has released several albums in recent years to little fanfare, including 1999's "The Ladder" and 2001's "Magnification." For the most part, however, the band continues to perform its most recognizable hits, many of which were compiled on this year's five-disc boxed set, "In a Word."
One of the group's previous Las Vegas shows -- a Halloween 1999 concert at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay -- was later released as a DVD in 2000, titled "House of Yes -- Live From the House of Blues."
Where: The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Tickets: $43, $53, $73, $103.
Opening act: None.
Personnel: Jon Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass), Rick Wakeman (piano, keyboard), Alan White (drums).
Latest release: "In a Word" (Rhino, five-disc boxed set, 2002)
Album feedback: " 'In a Word' strains to build a case for Yes' later work, but the essential sides were cut in the Seventies ... and could have been more economically contained on two discs." (Rolling Stone, 2 stars); "True, you do need to have a deep interest in Yes to get into this -- and if you do, you'll likely have much of this material already -- but if all you want is one comprehensive Yes album in your collection, this suits the bill." (allmusic.com, 4 1/2 stars).
Essential releases: "The Yes Album" (1971), "Fragile" (1972), "Close to the Edge" (1972), "90125" (1983).
What to expect: Following its longtime tradition, Yes' lengthy live shows not only feature a sampling of the band's 25 years, but also give each of its talented musicians a chance to display their instrumental chops with solo material. Howe's acoustic guitar medleys and Wakeman's intense keyboard workouts are generally among the highlights.
Recent set list: Historic State Theatre, Minneapolis, Nov 24: "Firebird Suite," "Siberian Kahtru," "Magnification," "Don't Kill the Whale," "In the Presence of," "We Have Heaven," "South Side of the Sky," "Close to the Edge," "In the Course of the Day," "The Clap," "Birthday Song," "Show Me," "The Six Wives of Henry VIII," "Heart of the Sunrise," "Long Distance Runaround," "Whitefish: The First/Tempus Fugit/On the Silent Wings of Freedom," "Awaken," "Starship Trooper." (from forgottenyesterdays.com).
Tour feedback: "Despite Yes' insistence on playing a dozen notes where three might do, they can still pull such forays off. Helium-voiced Anderson, whose increasingly fragile pipes haven't lost their effectiveness, and Wakeman provided an airy envelope to Howe and Squire's noodling." (Toronto Sun); "Yes filled the first half of its generous 2 1/2 hour performance with newer material, which occasionally rocked, occasionally dazzled but often simply billowed like so much artsy stage smoke." (Chicago Tribune).
Previous Las Vegas appearances: March 19, 1972 (Convention Center Rotunda, with Black Sabbath); April 6, 1973 (Ice Palace); June 19, 1975 (Convention Center Rotunda); Aug. 1, 1976 (Aladdin); Sept. 27, 1977 (Aladdin, with Donovan); March 24, 1984 (Thomas & Mack); March 6, 1988 (Aladdin); May 12, 1991 (Thomas & Mack); July 27, 1994 (Thomas & Mack); Dec. 6, 1997 (The Joint); July 25, 1998 (The Joint); Oct. 31, 1999 (House of Blues); Aug. 24, 2002 (Las Vegas Hilton); Aug. 25, 2002 (Las Vegas Hilton).
Says Wakeman: "I have never had a problem with any of the guys, all of whom I think the world of and have much respect for. There seems to be a really good feeling about the future. There are no negatives floating about, and that is always a great situation to be in." (from rwcc.com, Wakeman's official site).