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Yes, yes, yes

March 24th, 2007 · Posted by Skuds in Music · 5 Comments · Music

When I saw that there was yet another Yes live DVD being released I had a bit of a sinking feeling. I knew I would not be able to resist it despite already have 9 DVDs and videos of the band of varying quality.

The new one is a film of the band live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2003 so its the ‘classic’ line-up of Anderson, White, Howe, Wakeman and Squires so no danger of it being as terrible as the 9012Live film, but still even a few DVDs with that line-up have been less than perfect – the House Of Blues one has terrible sound quality by their standards for example, while another one has some very annoying editing tricks which make it look like a Mike Mansfield production even though it isn’t.

The hype about this new disc is that it has been called the best performance by the band ever captured on film, and such hype makes me wary, but it turns out to be pretty well justified.

All the band were playing well, especially Steve Howe on guitar. Perhaps Anderson’s voice lacked a bit in places, though that may just be down to the mixin, and his bloody tambourine was way too loud for my liking, but they are minor quibbles.

The tracklist takes in songs from the 70s right up to more recent ones like Magnification and In The Presence Of, but most of it comes from the Fragile and Close to the Edge albums. Steve Howe does a couple of solo pieces including The Clap – harking back to the classic live triple-album Yessongs – and to reinforce that reminder of being a 16-year-old listening to that endlessly there is also a little solo spot for Rick Wakeman.

The highlight for me was Chris Squires doing The Fish. With all the excitement I had discovering Les Claypool and Geddy Lee last year (I know – where was I for the last 30 years?) I needed reminding just how good Chris Squires is – right up there with Jaco Pastorius, Claypool, Entwistle and Geddy Lee: miles better than Sheryl Crow.

There was a healthy mixture of doing some songs or parts of songs note-perfect to the album versions and giving some a bit of a twist, like Don’t Kill The Whale.

Everyone (of the dwindling crowd who give a toss about Yes) will have some regrets about songs not in the set list, but it is already a two-hour show: adding in Lighning Strikes and The Messenger from The Ladder, Ritual, Close to the Edge, Starship Trooper, Yours is no Disgrace, Time and a Word, Perpetual Change, Going for the One and all the other favourites would push the show over the edge into an endurance challenge, so its a reasonable balance.

After only one viewing I think I would put this DVD right up there with the Symphonic in Amsterdam one, which I like for the youth orchestra and the showy keyboard player who left under a cloud, and shows that even with 9 Yes films on the shelf there is always room for another.

But then I am a little biased about Yes. They were the first band I ever saw playing live.

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • Rob Glover

    How’s it compare to the Yessongs film though? That’s still my favourite one of their live movies. The sound quality might be a bit biscuit-tin, but the energy of the band in their early days, particularly Steve Howe, is well caught.

  • Jane Skudder

    As I recall you were hard of hearing for about a week after the gig….

  • Rob Glover

    That was Rush in 2005. The Yessongs gig was 1972, so I would have been more into The Clangers than Yes at that time…

  • Richard

    I was more into Led Zep and Deep Purple in 1972 – and, dare I say, The Carpenters.

    Those voices of Robert Plant and Karen Carpenters – simply divine – compared to that of Yes’s Jon Anderson…

  • Skuds

    Buggeration… I lost my comment. Not sure if I can type it all again.

    Rob – Jane was talking about when I went to the Tormato tour at Wembley Arena, sat in row 2 (!) and had ringing in my ears for days.

    The Yesshows film is OK. I am sure the concert itself would have been a better one to have been at, but the poor quality of picture and sound make it harder to enjoy at home.

    Understandable as its a 35-year-old recording and on VHS. Also my copy is only 70 minutes of the concert.

    I dug it out and watched it tonight. I had forgotten how much they rocked back then, before Topological Oceans.