JANE FONDA & LILY TOMLIN PERFECT IN GRACE & FRANKIE
THE GLORIOUS CORNER
Story By: G. H. HARDING
SQUIRE PASSES --- We’ve lost so many music greats this year, but over the weekend we lost a true, true music giant; bassist-extraordinaire Chris Squrie, co- founder of Yes, at 67 from a rare form of leukemia.
Current Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes first tweeted the news, "Utterly devastated beyond words to have to report the sad news of the passing of my dear friend, bandmate and inspiration Chris Squire."
Yes confirmed Squire's death on their official Facebook page. "It's with the heaviest of hearts and unbearable sadness that we must inform you of the passing of our dear friend and Yes co-founder, Chris Squire. Chris peacefully passed away last night in Phoenix Arizona, in the arms of his loving wife Scotty,” wrote the band.
"For the entirety of Yes' existence, Chris was the band's linchpin and, in so many ways, the glue that held it together over all these years. Because of his phenomenal bass-playing prowess, Chris influenced countless bassists around the world, including many of today’s well-known artists. Chris was also a fantastic songwriter, having written and co-written much of Yes' most endearing music, as well as his solo album, Fish Out of Water."
Yes formed in 1968 after singer Jon Anderson met self-taught bassist Squire at a London music-industry bar; the pair was soon joined by guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye, and drummer Bill Bruford. Yes released their self-titled debut in 1969. However, it wasn’t until Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman replaced Banks and Kaye, respectively, that the prog rock group really hit it big with 1971's The Yes Album and Fragile.
Over the ensuing decades, Yes would see a parade of band members depart, enter and reenter, but Squire was the lone constant in the shape-shifting band, serving as their bassist for nearly 50 years. He is also credited as a co-writer on many of Yes' greatest cuts, including "I've Seen All Good People," "Starship Trooper," "Owner of a Lonely Heart," "Yours Is No Disgrace" and "Heart of the Sunrise."
In addition to his work with Yes, Squire was involved in other side and solo projects. His 1975 solo LP Fish Out of Water is revered among prog fans.
In May, Squire revealed that he was recently diagnosed with acute erythroid leukemia, which would force him to miss the band's summer co-headlining tour with Toto. The absence marked the first time in the band's history that Yes performed without their longtime bassist.
"This will be the first time since the band formed in 1968 that Yes will have performed live without me," Squire said in a statement. "But the other guys and myself have agreed that Billy Sherwood will do an excellent job of covering my parts and the show as a whole will deliver the same Yes experience that our fans have come to expect over the years."
We recently viewed again their Songs From Tsongas - The 35th Anniversary Concert and Squire’s bass work throughout the show was outstanding; in fact, it was the highlight of the concert, especially his compelling solo on his song “The Fish.”
A major, major loss.
Grace & Frankie --- I finally had the chance to sit down and watch, well, at least the first five of thirteen episodes of the Jane Fonda/Lily Tomlin Netflix show Grace and Frankie, and really enjoyed it.
It’s been widely written about already, so you may well know the plot already. It’s about two couples, Fonda and Martin Sheen, Lily Tomlin and Sam Waterson, whose husbands decide to leave them both and hook up … with each other. It’s not the newest narrative in the world, but the combined talents are fierce and highly compelling.
Fonda continues her cable-net hot streak first started with her wonderful work in the Newsroom and Tomlin, well, she’s terrific, certainly equaling Fonda’s caliber here. Sheen and Waterson, besides making an interesting and believable couple, are terrific too. Who knew?
The show, from Friends-creator Marta Kauffman, is cute, almost too cute in some ways, but works for certain. The shows I saw dealt with the usual issues in a plot like this; where will we live; what do we do when the credit cards are cut off. Surprisingly, the tone of the show is somewhat similar to the new Odd Couple, with Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon. Actually, with Kauffman involved, you can see the road signs.
With a particularly strong supporting cast; Brooklyn Decker and June Diane Raphael as Fonda’s daughters, the short, as half-hour sitcom, works terrifically well.
Did I like it … most certainly. It’s already been set for a Season Two.
CLOSING NOTES --- Gloria Reuben’s solo show Friday night at L.A.’s Saghettini was a big success, according to All Access’ Roy Trakin. "She was great; the band impressive and she gave me a head-rub when she did her Roger Rabbit number.” She’ll be back on the East Coast shortly. Catch her in USA Network’s Mr. Robot …
You have to hand it to The Stones; on their current Zip Code tour they’ve featured a special guest appearance or a deep dip into their legendary catalog at nearly every stop, and at the band's concert Saturday night at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium they continued that trend by having none other than Ed Sheeran, who served as their opening act for the show, later joined the band onstage to duet with Mick Jagger on "Beast of Burden” …