June 29th, 2015
(Photo found here.)
It was incredibly disheartening to find out yesterday morning that Chris Squire had passed away Saturday night from leukemia. He was only 67 and he leaves behind a very young daughter. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to lose a parent when you are six or seven years old. Someone pointed out at a forum just how cruel Fate is: John Entwhistle died on the same date back in 2002. 27 June is just not a good day for bass players.
I never met the man but came close back in 2002 after the Yes show in Milwaukee. Squire seemed the most convivial and eager to sign autographs. He was always the rock star of the band – the least New Age-y and most ready to have a cocktail. My friends and I had really nice seats for that show and I will never forget Squire prancing around with his Rickenbacker. The neck seemed to go on forever and it was really neat to see just how he played “Roundabout” right before my very eyes. Plus he was the one who really hammed it up onstage, especially during “The Fish”.
As a listener, it was Squire who demonstrated to me that the bass could be a melodic instrument. That chewy, spongy tone was up high in the mix and usually heard playing its own melody in contrast to the one everyone else was churning out. The bass was a lead instrument in his hands. And then there was his backing vocals. Squire’s voice was a defining element of Yes’ sound. After Drama his bass may have been further down in the mix and Jon Anderson may have come and gone, but Squire’s tenor shone through. It was the beam from a musical lighthouse letting the listener know that it was Yes they were hearing wherever the bass may be and whoever is singing lead.
No doubt Squire influenced scores of musicians. Geddy Lee, Steve Harris, and Les Claypool seem the obvious ones. Tributes have been posted online from other proggers such as Steve Hackett, Pete Trawavas and John Petrucci but also from folks like Geezer Butler, Brian May, Tom Morello, and Robert Trujillo. Umphrey’s McGee covered “Roundabout” last night in Squire’s honor. Dereck Higgins has a really nice tribute up on YouTube.
And so to commemorate the great musical legacy of Chris Squire, I am posting Yes’ show from their stop here in Madison last year. It was at the Overture Center and the date was 25 July. I was at this show and have my criticisms of it but I’ll leave those for another day.
And You and I
Close to the Edge
Cans and Brahms
We Have Heaven
South Side of the Sky
Five Per Cent for Nothing
Long Distance Runaround
The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)
Mood for a Day
Heart of the Sunrise
I’ve Seen All Good People
Owner of a Lonely Heart
I could find no video from this particular show online but I did find “The Fish” from Yes’ show in Houston a couple of weeks later. Squire always seemed to be the one to show off and it was fun to have him up on the stage playing with his bass god reputation.
(Photo by Matt Apps taken at the Madison gig.)