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Yes, there is more after the band breaks up

| Friday, Oct. 21, 2011

It's not like they're Abbott and Costello, or Jay and Silent Bob. But Jon Anderson insists he and Rick Wakeman aren't going to be doing the staid-and-serious musician thing when they perform Saturday at Carnegie Library Music Hall in Munhall.

"Rick's a very funny guy," Anderson says, "and we tell lots of jokes. We're not just standing there. There's a lot of laughter going on."

From the ever-present lightness in Anderson's voice, it's obvious he's enjoying himself. As one of the founding members of Yes, his legacy is set. But there's still a need for Anderson to create. Last year with Wakeman, he released "The Living Tree," an album that features songs with vocals and keyboards that are offshoots of the Yes canon.

The same formula works on stage, if their YouTube clips are any indication. The ornate, elaborate compositions that marked Anderson's tenure in Yes -- including "Long Distance Runaround," "Soon" and "Roundabout" -- are presented in the same stripped-down manner, although Anderson, occasionally, strums a guitar.

"I think Rick has a very natural, romantic emotion in his playing," Anderson says. "He starts to sound like a full orchestra at times, and he can really play those keyboards. He's a beautiful piano player."

And Anderson• Well, those Yes songs are, by vocal imprint, his territory. No matter how many incarnations of the band come into being, no matter who steps into the lead vocalist's role, Anderson is forever the voice of the band.

"The music is beautiful and I was proud of the music I wrote," he says. "I was sort of the musical director in the band. I was always very interested in doing crazy wild things, like 'Starship Trooper,' 'Heart of the Sunrise,' real crazy stuff. I pushed the guys all over the place, musically, and 35 years of that is enough."

That statement precludes, it seems, any Yes reunion. But Anderson, who left the band in 2008 to deal with an illness, professes no ill will to his former bandmates for carrying on.

"There's always a band around that mimics what you do anyway," he says. "We mimicked the Beatles, Frank Zappa, you name it. We were mimicking everybody before we found our own voice. The band wants to do what's it going to do, and as long as they let the audience know who's in the band, I don't mind. Just so people don't go along expecting to see me or Rick."

Additional Information:

Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Admission: $45-$65

Where: Carnegie Library Music Hall, Munhall

Details: 412-368-5225 or website

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