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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Billy Sherwood and Tony Kaye

Live in Japan Expanded Edition

Review by Gary Hill

This live album literally features just Billy Sherwood and Tony Kaye. Kaye handles the keyboards. On the live portions of this Sherwood plays guitar and sings. The bass and drums are all pre-recorded tracks with Sherwood playing them. The duo work through a great selection of Sherwood style tunes (it seems as if he has his own school of modern melodic prog) and Yes tunes. This set is quite classy in that it includes not just the two CD audio of the show, but a DVD video of it, as well. The video opens with footage of the 2011 Japan Tsunami, but then launches out to concert footage. The sound on the video is great. The video is obviously pro-shot with multiple cameras and effects, but looks a little grainy to me. Still, it’s a bonus feature, and quite good, so you can’t complain, really.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc: 1

                                  
Confess

Powering in with a cool mainstream rocking sound, this is AOR prog at its finest.

Together We Are
There is a distinctly Sherwood type sound to this piece. It’s a killer modern prog jam. Again, it’s quite an AOR based prog sound, but a very cool one at that.
Cut the Ties
This high energy tune is much more decidedly prog rock-like, yet it manages to maintain a mainstream element.
Time and a Word
This old Yes classic gets a modern re-telling here. I like this version quite a bit.
I Could
Another modern prog tune this has Sherwood’s trademarks all over it. It’s a rather complex, yet still accessible piece of music. It’s a harder rocking tune.
Red Light Ahead
Still in instantly recognizable Sherwood penned territory, this song is a bit slower and mellower than some the rest.
Fireworks
This is a bit more of a powered up excursion, but still lands in melodic modern prog territory.
Your Move
There’s a modern wall of sound take on this Yes classic. While I prefer the original arrangement, this is classy. It’s a nice change while still capturing a lot of the original magic.
Owner of a Lonely Heart
While this Yes rocker is closer to the original version, it definitely gets some Sherwood spin. It’s a scorcher here. If anything this is proggier than the Yes studio rendition.
Disc: 2
                                  
I Am Waiting

With a bit of an extended introduction, I really like this take on the Yes number. It’s an instrumental version, and somehow that really lets the melodies stand tall.

Tony Kaye Solo
I really love this keyboard solo. It includes several sections from 90125 songs.
The Other Side
This is another that’s very identifiable as a Sherwood type cut. It’s another great mainstream prog number, too.
Wondrous Stories
I really like this rendition of the classic Yes tune. It has a Sherwood angle to it, but still has all the magic of the original. In some ways, I might even like this more than I do the original.
Man Over Bored
This is such a cool song. In fact, it’s one of my favorite pieces here. It sits in the same kind of modern prog style as a lot of the rest. Every single performance here is exceptional, though. The song is accessible, but also very complex. There are some moments of musical prowess that will catch your ear for sure. The whole piece is such a great building excursion, working to some seriously soaring territory.
The More We Live

I absolutely love this performance. Then again, this is one of my favorite tunes from the Union album. This song was co-written by Sherwood (along with Squire) so, it seems a natural that they play this pretty faithfully. This is a highlight of the show as far as I’m concerned.

No Way We Can Lose
Another song that Sherwood co-write in Yes (this one listed as written by the whole band), this tune was originally on Yes’ Open Your Eyes. If anything, this version is proggier than the original. I like it quite a bit, but I think I prefer the original take on the song.
Say Goodbye
Here’s another song that comes thoroughly from the classy Sherwood school of modern progressive rock. It’s accessible and yet meaty at the same time.
Roundabout
This is a smoking hot rendition of the classic Yes tune. I love the guitar soloing on it, but the whole thing just works really well.
 
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