Author of fantasy horror comedy novel Lemons Loom Like Rain, which is available on Amazon. You can also read excerpts at stevenshinder.com and check out facebook.com/StevenShinderStorytelling.
Order 66 Survivors Who Are Not in 'Jedi: Fallen Order'
The new video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a fantastic addition to the Star Wars mythology. Set five years after Revenge of the Sith, it does a good job of connecting to the films, TV shows, and print media in an organic way. Since it is set within the dark times era, I cannot help but compare it to the show Star Wars Rebels, the events of which begin nine years after this game. Both stories feature Jedi in hiding trying to restore hope and meeting characters who are familiar to us along the way.
'From a Page' of Yes History
Within the last few months, I did a series of Yes studio album reviews as a way to commemorate their discography turning 50 years old. The last studio album review was Heaven & Earth, but then a week later, on October 25th, there was a surprise announcement. Now available via Burning Shed was From a Page, a collection of studio tracks worked on by Yes in 2010. At the time, the lineup consisted of Benoît David (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass), Oliver Wakeman (keys), and Alan White (drums).
In The (Former) Present: 'Live from Lyon' Reviewed
On October 25, Yes announced and released a box set containing previously unreleased studio material under the title From a Page, along with a re-release of In the Present - Live from Lyon. This has brought the attention of Yes fans back to the days of the following lineup: Benoît David (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass), Oliver Wakeman (keys), and Alan White (drums).
What's the Future of 'Joker?'
A week and a half ago, I got around to watching the film Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix (whose birthday happens to be today). It's a film that I was hesitant about seeing, and it definitely challenged my pre-conceived notions of Batman characters, particularly Thomas Wayne, who does not have many visibly virtuous characteristics here. (Though it may be a matter of perspective.) All that being said, I am glad that I watched it. I appreciated it more than I thought I would. It is a well-crafted, thought-provoking standalone. I am left with questions, which may be SPOILER-filled. So if you have seen the film, feel free to read on.
'El Camino' Shows What We Already Know
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie premiered on Netflix earlier this month, and I have had some time to digest it. Since it has been out long enough, I may bring up SPOILERS not just for the movie, but also for the Breaking Bad TV show.
'Heaven & Earth'—Collecting Visions from the Other Side
In early 2014, the Yes lineup of vocalist Jon Davison, keyboardist Geoff Downes, guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire, and drummer Alan White recorded a new album. They reunited with Roy Thomas Baker, who had produced the failed 1979 Paris sessions. This seemed to be part of a pattern in which Yes revisited certain things from their distant past. After all, they had revisited material from the Drama era for their 2011 album Fly from Here, and they had done a 2013 Three Album Tour in which they performed Close to the Edge, Going for the One, and The Yes Album.
Forms of 'Fly from Here' Lingering
After Yes' 35th Anniversary Tour, the band ended up going on a hiatus. Many years later, Jon Anderson would admit that he left Yes in 2004. By 2008, there were plans to commemorate the 40th anniversary with the Close to the Edge And Back Tour. Other Yes veterans would have included Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass), and Alan White (drums). Rick Wakeman's son Oliver Wakeman joined the band in his father's place.
'The Dark Crystal' Canon Cracked
The Netflix fantasy series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a prequel to Jim Henson's 1982 film The Dark Crystal, has been embraced by many fans of the franchise. However, it has contradicted other Dark Crystal media, thus bringing attention to the question of canon. Below is a history of what the Jim Henson Company has said about the canon, as well as a broad overview of the contradictions (which may contain spoilers).
'Magnification' - Pure Imagination in a Metaphoric Dream
After The Ladder Tour, Billy Sherwood left Yes (though he would return much later). In 2000, the band embarked on their Masterworks Tour, with the set list decided by fan votes and including epics "Close to the Edge," "Ritual," and "The Gates of Delirium." During the tour, keyboardist Igor Khoroshev was involved in an incident involving two female security guards. After he left the band, the Yes lineup was down to Jon Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass), and Alan White (drums).
A Look Back at DC Universe: Year One
Happy Batman Day! In honor of this occasion, I thought it would be fitting to look back at the first year of the DC Universe streaming service. Below, I have written down the shows, movies, and comics that I experienced through DC Universe. Though I did not quite get everything down, this whole reflection goes to show just how much content there is to explore on the service.
'The Ladder' - Living Within the Vision
After the Open Your Eyes Tour wrapped up in 1998, the Yes lineup of Jon Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Igor Khoroshev (keys), Billy Sherwood (rhythm guitar), Chris Squire (bass), and Alan White (drums) felt ready to record another album. Needing an outside perspective, they decided to work with producer Bruce Fairbairn at Armoury Studios in Vancouver. While Open Your Eyes was very poppy, the poppiness on the next album that became The Ladder was dialed back a bit, and there was plenty of prog rock. The album felt like a good blend of old and new. It includes ethnic instruments, some of which were played by Randy Raine-Reusch. In addition, Rhys Fulber contributed dance loops, and The Marguerita Horns played horns.
'Open Your Eyes' - Yes Caught at the Crossroads
In 1997, keyboardist Rick Wakeman left Yes (again) after being displeased with promotional strategies regarding the Keys to Ascension albums and the lack of communication with Yes management. As a result, some tour dates were canceled. Billy Sherwood, who had been mixing the studio tracks on Keys to Ascension 2, decided to come in and help since he wanted Yes to keep on going. He had known bassist Chris Squire since the late 1980s, and was considered as a potential replacement for vocalist Jon Anderson prior to 1991s Union. Though Anderson's voice replaced Sherwood's on "The More We Live-Let Go," Sherwood's bass playing remained intact. In 1992, he had toured with Squire as part of The Chris Squire Experiment (with Alan White on drums). And in 1994, Sherwood performed with Yes at their shows on the Talk Tour. Plus, in 1995, he sang "Wonderous Stories" on the tribute album Tales from Yesterday. So he wasn't a musician who came from nowhere; he was very familiar with Yes music and had worked with Yes members.