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Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe

An Evening of Yes Music Plus DVD

Review by Gary Hill

As someone who saw this tour live (twice, I believe) and owned the VHS of this for years, it’s a pleasure to finally have it on DVD. For those who don’t remember, Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe spun off of Yes during the Trevor Rabin era (between the Big Generator and Union albums). A classic lineup of the band, the group focused live on playing both material from their studio album, but also presenting more faithful renditions of the classic Yes music than the group that became known as “Yes-West” were producing. For the Yes fanatics (myself included), this tour was a dream come true. Not only did it reunite Jon Anderson with Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe, but it also brought some incredible live performances of the songs we all loved. It was, in a way, the best of both worlds at the time. For those who enjoyed the Trevor Rabin era of the band, there was Yes-West (although at this point Anderson had divorced himself from that group) and for those who were more attached to the “classic” line-up, we had ABWH.

This DVD professionally filmed. It was a Pay Per View TV special (yeah, I bought that at the time, too). So, one can imagine that the videography and audio recording are top-notch – and they live up to that assumption. The performance is simply awesome, too. And they caught the whole concert from Jon Anderson making his way through the audience to the stage (he started every show on the tour this way) through to both encores. This was really one of the better Yes related tours out there and the DVD lives up to everything that represents. I really only have two complaints. First, it would have been nice for them to put some bonus material on the disc. Secondly, and this one was a matter of logistics, so nothing could be done to change it, focuses on the bass player. Tony Levin handled the bass duties on both the studio album and the tour. Unfortunately, between the scheduling of this event and actually getting to play he wound up in the hospital seriously ill. So, Jeff Berlin had to fill in on bass. Don’t get me wrong, Berlin is a great bass player and does a fine job. In fact, when you consider that he had only a few days to learn such complicated material, it becomes a rather Herculean effort. The thing is, it just would have been a more accurate representation of the tour had Levin been onboard for the show. I guess there’s no accounting for fate. The truth of the matter is, this is a great DVD and should be purchased by Yes (and classic prog in general) fans everywhere.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 5 at
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