Legendary rock band YES to play at Grand Sierra Resort on Aug. 31 | SierraSun.com

Legendary rock band YES to play at Grand Sierra Resort on Aug. 31

The Yestival brings legendary rock group YES to Reno next Thursday, Aug. 31.
Courtesy of Glenn Gottlieb |

A band spanning generations, YES, has been going strong since 1968 and will bring their masterful expertise in musicality and showmanship to Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort on Thursday, Aug. 31.

Several musicians have graced the stage in the group through the decades, including keyboardist, Geoff Downes, who first joined YES from 1980 to 1981.

He said making music was always a driving force in his life and something he always wanted to do professionally.

Through his session work in London, Downes worked with several people in the industry before crossing paths with YES, which at the time was short one keyboardist, and so the match was made.

Downes reunited with the band in 2011, and said their originality has remained a signature style throughout generations.

“YES has maintained originality, the music is very identifiable even with the first few notes of a song, you know that’s ‘YES’ right away – I think that’s one of the things that keeps it unique,” he said.

Another unique characteristic of YES is that the band treats their musical process in a more orchestral way, highlighting different instruments and bringing complex sounds and visuals into their performances.

“It’s about the blend of the different instrumentalists playing together, that has carried through the band’s entirety — it’s that bouncing of ideas then putting them all back together, which makes its own direction as a result,” he said.

Downes said it’s tough to choose just one song that really strikes a chord with him personally, but that if he had to name just one, “And You And I” sums up what YES is all about.

“That song has all the dynamics that YES is known for — there’s great orchestral music, dynamic music that gets quiet, and then goes into bombastic sections of the song,” he said.

Celebrated internationally, YES has traveled far and wide, sharing their music and awe-inspiring stage sets with massive crowds — and Reno’s show will be no different.

“This is one of the best productions we’ve had since I joined the band,” Downes said. “We have spectacular projections, lasers, smoke, all sorts of stuff going off. There’s art and album cover imagery, it’s quite an elaborate show that’s for sure.”

The last time YES visited the Reno-Sparks area, Downes recalls it being an interesting place with snow on the ground and an enthusiastic crowd.

He said next week’s show will be a treat for fans, and that the band is excited to get some time to scout around while they’re in town.

“They’re going to see a great presentation of YES music, somewhat of a historical performance of songs from each album performed in chronological order. There will be YES hits and classics, a few surprises, I’m sure they’ll enjoy it very much. We’re looking forward to coming out and will be playing a full show, this will be extra special,” he said.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at cwalker@sierrasun.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.