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- Posted on Dec 9th 2010 12:00PM by Pat Pemberton
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Performing to a hometown crowd at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Anderson inserted Lennon's 'Give Peace a Chance' into a live version of the Yes classic 'Your Move.'
"When we wrote this song, we were thinking of John Lennon," Anderson said, noting that the recorded version of their song actually does feature the chorus to 'Give Peace a Chance' "way in the distance."
Anderson, who wrote "blessing to John Lennon" on his Facebook page hours before the show, also inserted the chorus of the Beatles song 'She Loves You' into 'Time in a Word,' another Yes favorite.
While Anderson thanked the Beatles for inspiring him to become a musician, he thanked his wife, Janee, for saving his life. "Some of you know I got sick a couple of years ago," he said, looking toward his wife, who sat in the front row. "She saved my life twice."
Anderson was preparing to hit the road with Yes in 2008 when he suffered a respiratory failure. As he recovered, his band replaced him and hit the road. Now that he's healthy, he and his wife travel together on laid-back acoustic tours, recently covering over 3,000 miles with a guitar, a ukulele and a dulcimer. Wednesday's show was so casual, his wife actually stopped him during one song and whispered something, after which Anderson looked toward the back of the room and called out, "Can we get a little bit of reverb, please?"
The occasional slip-up or forgotten lyric -- laughed off -- added to the sense of intimacy, as did Anderson's stories. One great tale was about the time a 16-year-old named Joe Cocker sat in with Anderson and his brother for a rendition of 'Hit the Road Jack.' Or the time Yes was warned, during the Falklands War, that a gig in Argentina could turn violent.
"Chris [Squire, the bass player] turned around and said, 'You know who they're going to shoot first? The singer,'" Anderson recalled. "I ran around that stage like you would not believe."
The stories were woven in between classic Yes songs like 'Sweet Dreams,' 'Long Distance Runaround' and 'Roundabout,' plus some of Anderson's solo work. Performing alone, Anderson often added scats, as he did on 'Owner of a Lonely Heart,' Yes's smash hit from the '80s.
"We were mega, mega rock stars for 10 minutes," he said before beginning the song. Despite getting dumped by his band, Anderson seemed to be content and having fun. Unlike his hero, John Lennon, he got a second chance.