DRUMMER Alan White admits that he and fellow members of prog rock legends Yes have had their work cut out for the UK tour which comes to Manchester next Saturday.

For the band is to perform two of its classic albums - 1971's Fragile and Drama from 1980 - from start to finish as part of the show. This will be the first time the band have played Drama live in the UK.

"We've all been doing our homework," said Alan. "When we decided to do this I went back and listened to the album and thought we must have been crazy to do what we did.

"For me listening as the drummer I though it sounded like very hard work but then I was only around 29 when we recorded it and I was a bit more agile than I am now."

But Alan is looking forward to showcasing what is arguably the most controversial album in the band's history.

"I think Drama has always been very underrated," he said. "There is some excellent playing on it and it remains a pretty adventurous album even now."

Drama is an album which divides Yes fans.

Two of the group's seminal figures, singer Jon Anderson and keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman, did not appear on the album being replaced by Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn who at the time were the pop group Buggles. Downes will be a key member of Yes for the current tour.

"Oh when we went in to record the album which became Drama we were all over the place," admits Alan.

"Rick and Jon had gone off to so solo projects and the rest of us were left a bit in the lurch, not really knowing what to do.

"So I booked a studio and basically said that whoever turned up on the Monday would be in Yes."

Guitarist Steve Howe and bassist Chris Squire started working with Alan on the album.

Buggles were recording next door and they kept popping their heads in," said Alan. "We got on really well and the next thing they were playing with us."

Alan and Steve remain in the band along with Geoff Downes, singer Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood on bass.

Founder member Chris Squire died last year and Alan admits that touring without him is something he's having to get used to.

"We were in the band for 43 years and had a great relationship," he said. "Chris was a truly great bass player and can never be replaced as he had a magnetism and was such an innovator.

"But life goes on and Billy is a great musician in his own right."

After such a long time on the road fans may forgive Alan for deciding not to head out around the world for another major tour but he remains as enthusiastic as ever.

"As long as everybody enjoys playing together and getting up on stage we'll keep doing it," he said. "We're still pretty hot together as a band you know."The travelling can wear you down particularly around Europe as in the States you can fly in and out of places more easily and I've never really liked tour buses.

"But when you get to the venue and you have the crowd in front of you, you realise why you love doing it."

Yes, Manchester Apollo, Saturday, April 30. Details from 0844 477 7677