“Music seems to last in all shapes and forms and progressive rock will always survive in some shape or form,” states Alan White, one of rock’s most revered and respected drummers as he discussed “The Royal Affair Tour” which kicked off June 12 in Bethlehem, PA with scheduled stops June 15 at the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, NJ and June 16 at The PNC Bank Center in Holmdel as well as his long career with YES and more. 

This tour features YES, Moody Blues bassist John LodgeCarl Palmer’s ELP Experience with vocals by Arthur BrownAsia paying tribute to John Wetton and a special tribute to John Lennon by White himself. With such a star studded line up of players, one can see why the tour has a regal feel.

“Well, I guess it’s kind of an occasion seeing that the Royal Family has been in the headlines quite a bit and the band is kind of like a bunch of English royalty musicians getting together who have been around for quite some time and are all seasoned and are pretty amazing players who have a great history with music.”

Given the longevity of its components; does it ever get monotonous for White as the years and gigs pass?

“Not really no,” he responded with a hint of surprise. “I’ve been in the band for 47 years; that’s a long time to be in the same band but it’s still great! It’s great to see all of the people out there still enjoying themselves through our music. We are doing some songs that we haven’t actually played in a while and we’re going to be playing, “The Gates of Delirium” from the “Relayer” album which we haven’t done for 10 or 12, maybe 15 years and that is pretty demanding to play on stage but I’m sure the band will rise to the occasion.”

With so much material to choose from; how does the band choose its song list and keep things fresh? 

We ourselves do close to two hours and the whole show is about three and a half to four hours,” he explained. “We’ve all got a pretty good handle on what we should be doing and we all analyze it and then we all submit our input and we come up with a list and we go from there.”

Countless shows, repetition of the vast YES catalog and the sheer undertaking of playing what the people want to hear can create moments on stage that are perhaps less than stellar; how does the band handle these occasions? White chuckled a bit as he stated the obvious, “Sometimes we all make mistakes, you might not always hear them; sometimes they’re so simple that they never should’ve happened in the first place. We’re only human and to perform at that level every night; we do it as close as we can.” 

Now that the rehearsals are done and the tour is underway, White is looking forward to seeing his old friends, band mates and performing for the crowds once again.  

“There are four band’s on this tour; we are the headliners, we have John Lodge of The Moody Blues who will do a Moody Blues set and then some of his own music, AsiaCarl Palmer is opening the show with his ELP Experience; it’s going to be a great tour.”

To discover more about the “Royal Affair Tour” please visit www.yesworld.com.


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