For the last 21 years, Trevor Rabin has been focusing his energy and devoting his time to composing films scores and working with orchestras. In fact, the accomplished guitarist is more active now than he ever has been in his 44-year career -- something he occasionally finds himself politely pointing out to fans on social media.
Yet in that time away from the glitz and grind of the rock star lifestyle, Rabin has felt a increasingly strong internal tug pulling him back to the stage and arenas full of cheering fans.
Now Rabin is back on tour, reunited with his former Yes band-mates Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson. The trio performs tonight at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem.
"Frankly, I wasn't sure if I would ever do it again," Rabin said during an Oct. 9 phone interview. "When (Yes guitarist) Chris (Squire) died (in 2015), it hit us all pretty hard. We used that as a catalyst to say, 'Let's go and do this'."
Though the three musicians had kicked around the idea of getting back together, Rabin said scheduling conflicts kept the reunion from happening sooner.
"There is an excitement when getting up on stage. It's really in incredible feeling and there's excitement to it," he said. "That excitement I thought had taken care of anything I was missing on the road. But the interaction with an audience is something that can not be replaced."
Rabin said the group is taking a new approach to the music of Yes by slightly tweaking some of the arrangements. So far, Rabin said, it's worked out nicely. "If the audience is anything to go by, we're sounding pretty good," Rabin said. "It's kind of like skydiving: the first second is terror, but once the first second has gone by, it's like you've done it all your life."
Rabin, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, joined Yes in 1983. His distinctive guitar style was first heard on the band's triple-platinum-selling 1983 album 90125. The success of 90125 was anchored by the Rabin-penned single "Owner of a Lonely Heart."
Surprisingly, Rabin said his initial reaction to hearing "Owner of a Lonely Heart" for the first time on the radio was less than optimistic. However, the song would go on to become Yes' first -- and only -- single to top the Billboard 100 chart.
"The first time I heard it, I thought, 'Ooh I'm not so sure.' There was an absolute fear of (fans not liking it), then the album started taking off," he said.
Rabin said "Owner of a Lonely Heart" is a testament to the staying power, and strength, of Yes' catalog. He also recorded guitar on the Yes albums Big Generator, Union and Talk, before leaving the band in 1995 to concentrate on film scores and orchestral music.
"I think one of the things I've learned is they (the songs) live so well. The songs have been around a while and seem to be as vibrant and vital as ever," he said. "The good news is we're not doing five shows in a row. That helps the creaking bones."
In the two decades since his exit from Yes, Rabin has also proudly watched his son Ryan's band Grouplove achieve their own success. Grouplove's 2011 debut EP, Never Trust a Happy Song, spawned the singles "Colours" and "Tongue Tied." "It's such a phenomenal thing. I obviously offered whatever help I could give," Rabin said. "He went off and did his own thing."
Rabin said there still lots of music to write as he continues his quest to craft the perfect song. "I still have to write something I'm 100 percent satisfied with," he said.
Trevor Rabin performs with Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson tonight at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center, 77 Sands Blvd., Bethlehem. Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets cost $59.50-$79.50. Information: sandseventcenter.com