Ranking the Discography: Yes Part XIX: Fly From Here (2011)

Fly From Here was the first album without Jon Anderson since Drama. It instead features Benoît David on vocals, and Rick Wakeman’s son Oliver Wakeman. (This is their only album with Yes). David was previously in a band called Mystery, and was also a member of a Yes tribute band called Gaia (later renamed Close to the Edge). Jon Anderson was diagnosed with acute respiratory failure. Squire had seen videos of Close to the Edge on YouTube, and saw how closely David resembled Anderson’s vocals. Rick Wakeman was unable to participate, so he recommended his son instead. Trevor Horn, who had produced for Yes during the 80’s, gave David guide vocals to follow. Halfway through the recording, Oliver was replaced by Geoff Downes. Wakeman left with his tracks, which he included on his album Cultural Vandals. David also had respiratory issues of his own. Squire was unsympathetic towards him, and he was replaced by Jon Davison, who would eventually become a permanent vocalist.

In 2016, a new version of Fly From Here was released, called Fly From Here–Return Trip, this time featuring Trevor Horn on vocals. The original version of the album is no longer available for streaming, however I was able to find it on YouTube. Although I listened to both, I prefer David’s vocals to Horn’s, so I’ll be reviewing the original instead.


Benoît David: vocals

Steve Howe: guitars, backing vocals

Chris Squire: bass, backing vocals, lead vocals on “The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be”

Geoff Downes: keyboards

Oliver Wakeman: additional keyboards on both versions of “We Can Fly”, “Hour of Need”, and “Into the Storm”

Alan White: drums

The Tracks:

  1. “Fly From Here: Overture”: The opening to the 6-part suite starts with some very sharp pianos and crunchy guitars and some pumped drumming.
  2. “Fly From Here, Part I: We Can Fly”: This is where we first hear David’s vocals, and they sound somewhat similar to Anderson. The overall sound reminds me of Drama.
  3. “Fly From Here, Part II: Sad Night at the Airfield”: The song shifts to a somber tone. I like the piano and chorus, but the guitar feels wrong, as if it doesn’t match the production.
  4. “Fly From Here, Part III: Madman at the Screens”: The melody from the overture resumes, and I kinda like how the band mixes the sounds.
  5. “Fly From Here, Part IV: Bumpy Ride”: Bumpy is a good name for this interlude. It’s got kind of a messy feel.
  6. “Fly From Here, Part V: We Can Fly (Reprise)”: The reprise has a faster tempo with the piano and drums. I wanted to like this suite because I like Yes’s suites a lot. But the song was all over in the place, especially in the middle sections.
  7. “The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be”: This has some good melodies on the guitar, but feels kind of simplistic compared to the suite.
  8. “Life on a Film Set”: This song goes back and forth, particularly in the middle. This was one of the best songs.
  9. “Hour of Need”: The album continues to show some late improvement, with some good variation on rhythms from the bass and keyboards.
  10. “Solitaire”: Howe flies solo on this and shows off some nice solos, providing a good interlude before we get to the closer.
  11. “Into the Storm”: The closing song has a steady beat, ending the album on a high note.

Final Verdict: This album was all over the place, and not in a good way. There isn’t much synergy, and as much as I tried, I felt this album was overall average. I do feel that David was done dirty because his version is much better than Horn’s, and you won’t find that version on Spotify.

Grade: C


Author: rocklobsterjwt

I am a Christian and an anime fan. My blog will cover anime reviews and maybe an occasional story

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