CRR archive album review by Eric Sandberg — Yes - Fly From Here: Return Trip
This album, released directly by Yes, arrives with some controversy attached to it as some fans feel it is a disservice to Benoit David, who was the band's lead singer at the time the original version was recorded. All of David's lead, harmony and backing vocals have been removed from the songs and replaced by the voice of Trevor Horn, who produced the 2011 release and co-wrote most of the songs, making this a post-facto reunion of the Yes lineup that recorded 1980's Drama. The only hint of David's prior involvement that remains is one songwriting credit and an acknowledgement by Horn in the new liner notes that Benoit is a "lovely guy".
Trevor Horn has ever been a source of controversy whenever he is involved with Yes. He was the first in a line of three singers to have a go at the near impossible task of replacing original singer, Jon Anderson. Later, as producer, Horn presided over a radical and divisive change in musical direction for Yes which also brought them their greatest chart success. Horn either left, or was fired, from the producer's chair during the making of Big Generator, reportedly because Chris Squire insisted that Tony Kaye actually be allowed to play on the album.
Even the 2011 release of the original Fly From Here album caused a stir when Oliver Wakeman, son of classic Yes keyboard maestro, Rick Wakeman, was dismissed at Horn's insistence so that Geoff Downes, his former Buggles mate, who co-wrote the majority of the songs on the album with Horn, be brought back for the recording (Downes has tenaciously held on to the keyboard seat in Yes ever since). I loved the original Fly From Here album and I will admit that it did cross my mind back in 2011 that it was a shame that Trevor wasn't the singer on it because I am also obsessed with the short-lived Drama era line up.
On to the new version….It's spectacular. Horn didn't just add his vocals, he remixed the entire album with some startling differences to the original mix. His voice is strong and naturally suits the material while his harmonies with the late Chris Squire mesh much better than Benoit David's original vocals. Horn also rewrote several of the lyrics which contribute, along with the new mix to making this album sound fresh and a worthy sequel to Drama.
A couple of bonuses on this release include the extended version of Steve Howe's “Hour of Need” which previously only appeared as a bonus track on the Japanese release of Fly From Here, and another previously unreleased Howe song, “Don't Take No For An Answer.” Howe apparently didn't take no for answer when he insisted on singing the song himself which, alone, cost this release an 'A" rating.
Bottom line: Fly From Here-Return Trip is a must for hard core fans of the band and might be worth seeking out by the casual fan, especially as the original album, with Benoit David, is now out of print.
1) Fly From Here – Overture
2) Fly From Here Pt 1 - We Can Fly
3) Fly From Here Pt 2 - Sad Night at the Airfield
4) Fly From Here Pt 3 - Madman at the Screens
5) Fly From Here Pt 4 - Bumpy Ride
6) Fly From Here Pt 5 - We Can Fly (Reprise)
7) The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be
8) Life on a Film Set
9) Hour of Need (full length version)
11) Don't Take No for an Answer
12) Into the Storm
Eric Sandberg: My true opinion on everything is that it's splunge.