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Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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Yes to perform two classic albums in St. Pete

When Jon Davison was asked to join Yes as its latest frontman two-years ago, only one word popped into the veteran vocalist’s mind.

“ ‘Yes’ was my response,” Davison said during a phone call from his Laguna Beach, Calif. home. “I was very excited about joining this band.”

Davison, who also is part of progressive rockers Glass Hammer, is well versed in the world of prog-rock. “I’ve been part of it for years, and anybody who loves prog-rock loves Yes,” Davison said. “This has worked out beyond my wildest imagination.”

So Davison is part of Yes, which stops Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater. It’s an evening with Yes. The band will play two of its classic albums, 1971’s “Fragile,” 1972’s “Close to the Edge,” plus new songs from its latest album, “Heaven and Earth,” and some greatest hits to boot.

“That makes for a long show, but it’s an awesome one,” Davison said. “We’ll be performing for two hours and 50 minutes. It’ll be epic, like a Bruce Springsteen show, but we can handle it. It’s a lot of material. The songs from those albums are so uplifting.”

Davison, 43, who was born the year “The Yes Album” dropped,” admits that he didn’t catch up with Yes until they were re-born during the early ’80s when the band hit the charts with its comeback album, “90125,” which received a boost from vocalist-guitarist Trevor Rabin.

“I was a little young when the great ’70s albums were out,” Davison said. “But I loved ‘90215.’ It’s an incredible album. But the thing is that you didn’t have to grow up with the vintage Yes material to appreciate it. I look out at the audience and there are so many people that are younger than me that are into these songs.”

Davison, who is a vocal doppelganger for longtime Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, shares a stage with bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Geoff Downes and drummer Alan White. Each of those musicians, save Downes, who joined the band in 1979, were part of the classic albums that will be rendered.

“I’m the new addition,” Davison said. “Each of these guys have been with Yes back in the day. It’s incredible to go out with these incredible musicians, who are masters.”

At one point Davison fronted the Yes tribute band Roundabout. “But we only played out twice a month, which is crazy when you consider how complex this music is,” Davison said. “When you play this kind of music, it’s best to play it night after night. That’s what I hope to do with this band for many years. It’s an honor to be part of a group like this.”

Davison had his hand in seven of the band’s new songs. “It’s great to be able to write with a band of this caliber,” Davison said. “We love to play the classic tracks but we also love to work on new songs. There’s a future for Yes and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”

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