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Yes

Yesshows

Review by Gary Hill

When Yes broke up after the aborted Drama tour, their label released two "new" albums, Classic Yes (a compilation) and Yesshows (a live album recorded before Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman chose to take their leave of the band). This two CD set is not on the same caliber as Yessongs, or even the Keys To Ascension albums released more recently, but it is still a good live album that holds up reasonably well. The production is a bit flat at times, seeming to lack a lot of dynamic energy. Still, the performances are strong, and the song choices at the time were brilliant, with no duplication of the material on Yessongs.

This is still a "must have" for Yes-fanatics, and should be of interest to prog fans that enjoy epic length pieces, as this contains two of them. More casual listeners, though, interested in purchasing their first Yes live album would probably do better with Yessongs or even one of the more recent DVD's. Since we have already reviewed most of the studio albums the material comes from, I have not gone into great detail on the compositional structures of each song, instead focusing more on the performance presented here and how it echoes or differs from the studio rendition.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Parallels
The ending segments of the "Firebird Suite" intro are included in the cut here, the band joining on the latter measures. As that winds down, Wakeman's keys provide the intro to the actual piece, and the band quickly launches into the number. They play it quite faithfully here.
Time and A Word
This title track ballad is delivered in a solid, and perhaps a bit more straightforward fashion than on the studio release. It is no less pretty, but just a little more restrained and coherent.
Going For the One
From the title track of one album to another, there are no real surprises here, the band simply delivering this hard rocker in style.
Gates of Delirium
Once again, this challenging epic is delivered pretty faithfully. It is a great showcase for Steve Howe's awesome guitar sound, and all the members of the band put in stuffing performances.
Disc 2
Don't Kill the Whale
The Tormato number comes across a bit stronger here than it does on the studio album. Squire does a nice job of recreating his unusual bass sound for this one.
Ritual (Part 1)
When the album was released on vinyl, the limitations of record length forced them to cut this extended epic into two parts. At least on my copy (an original Japanese pressing) the masters were not used to reassemble it into one track. Fortunately the arrangement allows enough space for a fairly unobtrusive transition, though. The band here present the composition with a little more raw texture than presented on the studio rendition, but also a lot more punch and energy.
Ritual (Part 2)
Continuing the live performance of this epic, Squire really wails on the bass at points, and they add in an extensive jam featuring a lot of soloing. This is a great piece for fans of powerful instrumental prowess.
Wonderous Stories
The 2-CD set ends with this strong rendition of the classic soaring prog ballad.
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