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Wetton Downes
DVD Reviews
Wetton Downes - Icon Acoustic TV Broadcast DVD
Review by Gary Hill
John Wetton and Geoff Downes playing in an intimate acoustic setting, how can you go wrong? From what I can tell, you can’t.
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Related Articles
Nektar - A Spoonful of Time
Review by G. W. Hill

The whole “do an album of covers” concept is a popular approach these days.


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Buggles - Adventures in Modern Recording (12 inch single) (Vinyl)
Review by G. W. Hill

Are the Buggles progressive rock?


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John Wetton - Akustika: Live in Amerika / Akustika II: Return to Amerika
Review by Gary Hill

This is a two CD set combining two John Wetton live albums into one release. The two shows were performed about ten years apart.


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Asia - Alpha
Review by G. W. Hill
As I sat down to do a retro review of the single of "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes," I realized that I've never reviewed this album. I decided to resolve that issue.

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John Wetton - And the Les Paul Trio – New York Minute – Live at the Iridium, New York, 2013
Review by G. W. Hill

This was apparently recorded at a cancer awareness concert as John Wetton talks about that at a few places here.


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Geoffrey Downes - and the New Dance Orchestra – The Light Program
Review by G. W. Hill

This album was Geoffrey Downes first foray down the New Dance Orchestra trail.


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John Wetton - Anthology Volume 1: Studio Recordings
Review by G. W. Hill

This anthology of songs from John Wetton is quite strong. It’s not all progressive rock, and for the most par even when it lands there, it’s more in the AOR end of the spectrum.


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Asia - Aqua
Review by Gary Hill
I’d consider this to be a middle of the road Asia album.
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Asia - Archiva 1
Review by Gary Hill
This album really is a very pop oriented album. It is included in the progressive section of the reviews because both Geoff Downes and Steve Howe are on the album.
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Asia - Archiva 2
Review by Greg Olma

In 1995, Asia had a bit of a studio issue when a water pipe burst and ruined hundreds of thousands of pounds of studio equipment.  


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Asia - Arena
Review by Gary Hill
This is not your father’s Asia. In it’s beginnings Asia was a band that was arguably the first progressive rock supergroup -- well, OK, ELP probably has that title, but for various reasons, the crown was placed on Asia’s head at the beginning of their career.
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Asia - Aria
Review by Greg Olma

In 1994, Asia released Aria which was commercially a bit of a failure.  The previous studio record Aqua did much better, but by this time it really was the Geoff Downes/John Payne show. 


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Asia - Asia
Review by Gary Hill
When this group rose from the ashes of a dying Yes it seemed like a dream come true for progressive rock fans. Take two parts Yes (OK – one and a half maybe since Geoff Downes was only on one Yes album) in the persons of Geoff Downes and Steve Howe, one third of Emerson Lake and Palmer (Carl Palmer) and add in John Wetton (King Crimson, UK) and make a band.
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Asia - Asia
Review by Gary Hill
When this group rose from the ashes of a dying Yes it seemed like a dream come true for progressive rock fans. Take two parts Yes (OK – one and a half maybe since Geoff Downes was only on one Yes album) in the persons of Geoff Downes and Steve Howe, one third of Emerson Lake and Palmer (Carl Palmer) and add in John Wetton (King Crimson, UK) and make a band.
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Asia - Astra
Review by Gary Hill
This album has all of the original lineup of Asia except Steve Howe. The music, however, is much different than what we heard on their debut disc.
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Asia - Aura
Review by G. W. Hill

This is an unusual album for Asia.


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Various Artists - Back Against the Wall
Review by Gary Hill
There are few people who haven't at least heard of Pink Floyd's The Wall. I would hazard to say that those who have never heard the album are in the minority as well.
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Billy Sherwood - Citizen
Review by G. W. Hill

A contender for best of the year, this is arguably Sherwood’s best solo album ever.


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Phil Manzanera - Diamondhead
Review by Gary Hill

This is the reissue of the 2000 reissue of Phil Manzanera’s 1976 solo album. 


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Asia - Don’t Cry – 12-inch Single (Vinyl)
Review by G. W. Hill

For years Music Street Journal avoided covering items that were out of print.


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Asia - Don’t Cry – 12-inch Single (Vinyl)
Review by G. W. Hill

For years Music Street Journal avoided covering items that were out of print.


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Yes - Drama
Review by Gary Hill
In 1980 when Yes found themselves without their keyboardist (Rick Wakeman) and vocalist (Jon Anderson), they turned to their manager Brian Lane to see if he had any suggestions. As it was, he was also managing a group called "The Buggles".
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Yes - Drama - Remastered and Expanded
Review by Greg Olma
This is the bastard child of the Yes family. Many Yes purists don't acknowledge its existence with even Jon Anderson refusing to play any of the material live.
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King Crimson - Earthbound
Review by Gary Hill

This is a good, but not great, live album from King Crimson. The first thing holding it from the “great” title is the sound quality.


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Steve Thorne - Emotional Creatures - Part One
Review by Gary Hill
What a pleasant surprise this album is! I had never really heard of Steve Thorne before, but you can bet after this one I'll be keeping track on him.

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Various Artists - Encores, Legends and Paradoxes
Review by Gary Hill
With a cast of players that reads like a prog "who`s who", this ELP tribute takes the classics and makes them fresh and new again. The result is an incredibly listenable piece of music that really entertains.

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The Prog Collective - Epilogue
Review by G. W. Hill

This is quite a cool set. The main man behind this is Billy Sherwood, and I always like the stuff he does.


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Asia - Fantasia – Live In Tokyo
Review by Gary Hill
Yes fanatic and general prog head that I’ve always been, when Asia released their debut disc, I was all over it. They were the progressive rock supergroup of the time and they delivered with a killer disc.
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Asia - Fantasia - Live in Tokyo DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Asia fans rejoice, the reunion tour is now presented in DVD. I covered the CD release in detail, so you might want to check that out for the specifics about the music. Let’s just say that we get treated to a killer performance of Asia classics, King Crimson, ELP and Yes songs.


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Yes - Fly From Here
Review by Gary Hill

Only the second album in the history of Yes to be recorded without Jon Anderson, this one, particularly since it’s the only other Yes disc with Geoff Downes on keyboards, is obviously compared to Drama.


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Yes - Fly From Here – Deluxe Edition
Review by Gary Hill
This review addresses the Deluxe Edition of Yes’ latest album, Fly From Here.
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Yes - Fly From Here (Vinyl)
Review by G. W. Hill
I’m a huge Yes fan and Yes collector. For that reason I tend to buy various configurations of Yes albums.
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Various Artists - Fly Like an Eagle - An All-Star Tribute to Steve Miller Band
Review by G. W. Hill

Cleopatra Records loves doing these tribute albums, typically with Billy Sherwood in charge.


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Asia - Go / After the War Vinyl Single
Review by G. W. Hill

It used to be that we wouldn’t review things that were out of print.


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Asia - Gravitas
Review by Jason Hillenburg

One cannot rage against the dying of the light indefinitely.


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Asia - Heat of the Moment / Ride Easy (vinyl single)
Review by G. W. Hill
The old school Asia singles are cool because they generally include b-sides that aren't available on the main albums. This is no exception.

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Yes - Heaven and Earth
Review by G. W. Hill

Where do I begin on this review? I guess I should start by saying that I’m a Yes fanatic and I have been since I was twelve years old – and for those keeping track, that’s a long time ago.


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Robby Krieger - In Session
Review by Gary Hill
This compilation disc is quite strong. There is really a lot of great music here.

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King Crimson - In the Court of King Crimson written by Sid Smith
Review by Steve Alspach
Few bands in progressive rock have a more colorful past than King Crimson. As Sid Smith says in the preface, the history of King Crimson is the "triumph of spirit over adversity. And sometimes the triumph of adversity."
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John Wetton – Richard Palmer-James - Jack-Knife / Monkey Business 1972-1977
Review by G. W. Hill

This set, basically two albums released as a two CD package, is a mixed bag.


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Various Artists - Keep Calm and Salute the Beatles
Review by G. W. Hill

I would say that this set is pretty effective.


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John Wetton - King's Road: 1972-1980
Review by G. W. Hill
This is a compilation set from John Wetton. 

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King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic
Review by Gary Hill
This album is kind of a legend in King Crimson circles. People have such a high reverence for it.
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Various Artists - Light My Fire - A Classic Rock Salute To the Doors
Review by G. W. Hill

I’ve always been a big fan of the Doors.


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Yes - Like It Is - Yes At the Bristol Hippodrome
Review by G. W. Hill

This new live album from Yes is quite good.


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Yes - Like It Is: Live at the Mesa Arts Center
Review by G. W. Hill

Yes recently did a couple of tours where they performed some of their studio albums in their entirety. This live recording comes from one of those shows.


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Asia - Live Acoustic
Review by Greg Olma

When Tesla released Five Man Acoustical Jam back in 1990, who would have thought that a new type of performance would emerge within metal and even prog?  


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John Wetton - Live at the Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999
Review by G. W. Hill
This live album is pretty good. It suffers a bit in terms of sound quality.

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John Wetton - Live in Argentina 1996
Review by G. W. Hill
John Wetton's known in some circles mostly for his prog rock work in bands like UK and King Crimson. His solo career, though, has a lot of AOR mainstream rock in it. 

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Yes - Live in Birmingham, England, May 2016
Review by John Pierpoint

I drove to The Symphony Hall and bought a ticket for the night's Yes show at the last minute (literally!). It was a long shot, but it really paid off, as I got a good seat in the stalls.


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Yes - Live in Birmingham, England, November, 2011
Review by Alison Henderson

There was something ominous about the date of this concert -11.11.11 so it was very much a case of going for the one on the night.


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Yes - Live in Chicago, Illinois, August 2015
Review by G. W. Hill

There seem to be some Yes fans deriding the recent incarnations of Yes.


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Asia - Live in Chicago, July 2005
Review by Greg Olma
I hate these guys. I hate 'em, I hate 'em.
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Downes Braide Association - Live in England
Review by Gary Hill

I really like this act. Just the two guys involved make it worth the spin.


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Asia - Live In Moscow
Review by Greg Olma

Asia may not have been the first band to tour Russia but they certainly made their mark during this concert that was captured in 1990.  By this time, the band had lost Steve Howe and replaced him with Mandy Meyer for the Astra album.  


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Asia - Live In Osaka
Review by Greg Olma

This double CD set is a nice live show from the Aqua tour in Japan.  


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John Wetton - Live in Osaka 1997
Review by G. W. Hill
It's easy to think of John Wetton as a prog artist. His work in bands like UK and King Crimson (and even Asia) lend credence to that argument.

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Asia - Live In Philadelphia
Review by Greg Olma

Asia has been around for quite some time, and I think they are one of the few bands that has more live releases than studio albums.  


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Asia - Live Koln
Review by Gary Hill
This double disc set is a very strong chronicle of a live performance by Asia. The repertoire includes material from every phase of their career, and they do a great job of performing it.
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Yes - Live on Cruise to the Edge, November 2015
Review by Brenda Bradley

 I knew it would be hard to see Yes without Chris Squire! As "Onward" played, with a white Rickenbacker on stage with a spotlight, I felt myself tearing up.


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John Wetton - Live Via Satellite
Review by G. W. Hill

This double disc set features two different concerts from John Wetton. 


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UK - Night After Night
Review by Gary Hill
The third, and final album by what was probably the first prog rock super-group (OK, other than ELP), this is a live album. Although Bill Bruford had left the band after the first album, his presence is still felt in the composition of a few of these tracks, but Terry Bozzio brings in his own style as the replacement.
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John Wetton - Official Bootleg Archive Vol 1: Deluxe Edition
Review by G. W. Hill

This six-CD box set is quite cool. Each of the shows has a bit different flavor. 


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Asia - Omega
Review by Greg Olma
Now this is more like it!  I enjoyed the Payne fronted version of Asia also but if you are a purist, then Omega will certainly satisfy those cravings for original Asia material.  

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Steve Thorne - Part Two: Emotional Creatures
Review by Gary Hill
Steve Thorne's first Emotional Creatures CD was a masterpiece of melodic progressive rock. Well, this one is, too.
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Phenomena - Phenomena II - Dream Runner
Review by Gary Hill

Given the scope of musicians on this set, I'm shocked I've never heard of these guys before. This is a reissue of an album released in 1987.


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Downes Braide Association - Pictures of You
Review by G. W. Hill

The “Downes” of this collaboration is Geoff Downes.


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Various Artists - Popoff Archive 2: Progressive Rock written by Martin Popoff
Review by Greg Olma
The music world has many characters who work behind the scenes, from producers to engineers to marketing people (and many more). 

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Various Artists - Prog Box
Review by Gary Hill

I've been looking to do a retro review of this box set for a while. I finally had the opportunity this time around.


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John Wetton - Raised in Captivity
Review by Gary Hill

The latest solo release from John Wetton finds him with a lot of great guest appearances. 


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Asia - Rare
Review by Gary Hill
This disc is a bit of a paradox. Although it was released under the moniker of Asia, the material here was actually recorded by just Geoff Downes and David Payne.
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Greg Lake and Geoff Downes - Ride the Tiger
Review by G. W. Hill

Apparently this album was recorded in the 80s, but has never before been released. I have to say that’s a shame. There is some solid music here. It’s definitely progressive rock, but on the AOR side of that equation. I’d say this is far closer to what you’d expect from Greg Lake than it is what you’d expect from Geoff Downes, but both men are represented well by it.


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William Shatner - Seeking Major Tom
Review by G. W. Hill

What an interesting ride I’ve had leading into this album.


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Asia - Silent Nation
Review by Gary Hill
I remember when Asia's first album was released thinking that it was an intriguing combination of sounds, still basically prog rock, but packaged in very accessible cuts that really rocked. After a while Asia seemed to lose their sense of direction, and I often lost interest.
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Downes Braide Association - Skyscraper Souls
Review by Gary Hill

I have to admit that I was initially drawn to this act because of Geoff Downes. As a fan of Yes and The Buggles, I follow his work.


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Various Artists - Songs of the Century: An All-Star Tribute To Supertramp
Review by G. W. Hill

I am a big fan of pretty much anything Billy Sherwood is involved with and I love Supertramp, so when I heard Sherwood was in charge of assembling an all star tribute to Supertramp, I was excited.


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Alan Simon - Songwriter
Review by Gary Hill

I don't think I had heard of Alan Simon until recently. This double disc set captures a lot of his previous work.


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December People - Sounds Like Christmas
Review by Gary Hill
To get you in the spirit of the holiday, The December People have released a fresh collection of progressive rock takes on Christmas music. Feeling out of sorts for not knowing who the December People are?
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King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black
Review by Gary Hill
King Crimson have always been one of the most creative and innovative bands out there. When you expect them to jab they dodge and when you think they are going to dodge you’d better duck.
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Downes Braide Association - Suburban Ghosts
Review by G. W. Hill

This is the latest album from Downes Braide Association.


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Buggles - The Age of Plastic
Review by Gary Hill

A lot of people (especially in the progressive rock community) have disparaging things to say about Buggles.


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Yes - The Definitive Rock Collection
Review by Gary Hill

Here is another compilation of Yes music. It is the first two CDs from The Ultimate Yes, repackaged.


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Phil Manzanera - The Music 1972-2008
Review by Gary Hill

Any time a compilation like this is released, fans will debate whether they like the choice of songs included or not. 


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Various Artists - The Rift - Dark Side of the Moon (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Review by Gary Hill
This new soundtrack album features some killer music. It leans on the space rock, trippy side of the equation.

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Asia - The Smile Has Left Your Eyes / Lying to Yourself (vinyl single)
Review by G. W. Hill
One of the cool things about these vintage Asia singles is that the song on the flip side is typically not included on the album. That makes these worth having. 

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Yes - Time And A Word: The Yes Story written by Martin Popoff
Review by Greg Olma

There have been a few books written about the band, Yes but this one really includes the involvement of many of the members of the group through extensive interviews. 


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Various Artists - To Cry You A Song: A Collection of Tull Tales
Review by Gary Hill
One of the first tribute albums ever done by Magna Carta, this one includes some intriguing arrangements of Jethro Tull songs. There are some definite winners here (witness Aqualung, To Cry You a Song, and Locomotive Breath) and no real losers.
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Yes - Topographic Drama: Live Across America
Review by Gary Hill

This brand new live album from Yes is cool stuff. For one thing, it's great to get live recordings of all the Drama songs. There are also two epics from Tales from Topographic Oceans and the "Leaves of Green" part from "The Ancient" on that album. They round the section out with a few other Yes classics. The live sound is great.

 

I've seen Yes close to twenty times (more times than I've seen any other band), and I can tell you that despite the technicality of their music and instrumental prowess, no two Yes shows are the same. That's true even when you see them on multiple nights in a row. Each performance is a little different because the music tends to take on a life of its own in live gigs. So, don't expect to hear the studio versions exactly covered here. For one thing, the line-up is different. For another thing, I don't think I've ever heard a live Yes song sound exactly like the studio version. I mean, why would you want that? You can listen to the studio version any time. I think these renditions are very faithful, and bring a new life to the songs at times. I highly recommend this, especially for those (like myself) who really love Drama.


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Various Artists - Trevor Horn and Friends – Slave to the Rhythm DVD
Review by Gary Hill
This is an interesting DVD.
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Peter Banks - Two Sides of Peter Banks
Review by Steve Alspach
The initial string-slinger in Yes, Peter Banks appears to have been overlooked in progressive rock annals in favor of his successor, but his work in Flash has stood up quite well to the years. On this album, Peter assembles an extremely strong group of progressive rock musicians, and the CD explores a wide range of musical styles.
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Peter Banks - Two Sides of Peter Banks
Review by G. W. Hill

So, this solo album from Peter Banks was released on CD in 2009.


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UK - UK
Review by Scott Prinzing

Considered by many to be one of the greatest prog albums of all time, it is a shame that the line-up lasted only one album and tour.  


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White - White
Review by Gary Hill
While Alan White released one solo album in the 1970's, this is his first project that could be considered "solo" since then. Much like Steve Howe did with Remedy, rather than create a totally solitary work with guest musicians, White has chosen instead to put together a band to record his music. 



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Various Artists - Who Are You - An All-Star Tribute to the Who
Review by G. W. Hill

I like The Who quite a bit. I mean, they aren’t one of my favorite bands, but I do really like them.


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Yes - Wonderous Stories: The Best of Yes
Review by G. W. Hill

I’m sure some would make the argument that we don’t need another Yes compilation album.


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Asia - XXX
Review by Larry Toering

Asia return with their classic line-up for an out of this world album.


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Various Artists - Yesterday and Today: 50th Anniversary Tribute To Yes
Review by Gary Hill

This new various artists collection, as you would imagine, pays tribute to the music of Yes. It's an intriguing set.


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Yes - Yesyears Box Set
Review by Gary Hill
Released during the flurry of activity surrounding the Union tour, this four CD set is a pricey, but fairly solid addition to the Yes catalog. While any compilation will undoubtedly bring up complaints as to what was included and what was not, this album presents a fairly accurate representation of the chronology of the band.
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