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Yessongs

1 rating: 4.0
An album by Yes

Opening with a few bars ofStravinskyto set the adoring crowd on its feet, this once-three-LP set is Yes at their finest. This was, after all, probably the most mainstream act that had even provisional "prog rock" status, and their tunes show it. While … see full wiki

Tags: Music
1 review about Yessongs

Live majesty.

  • Jul 26, 2001
Rating:
+4
I didn't think that Yes' supra-complex, textured studio recordings preceding this live set would be translated effectively to the live setting. It's not perfect, but the inadequacies created by the limitations of playing live are part of Yessongs' charm. And while the songs are occasionally missing small ingredients that flesh them out so well on the studio versions, the band's heaving energy more than makes up for it. You can especially hear it in Jon Anderson's singing. His voice is often delicate on studio albums, but here he's surprisingly powerful, singing full-force over his equally lively buddies, who jam with fervor exploding from their instruments. And man, there are lots of jams! Songs are often extended by five minutes or so for soloing, and although many would find it tiring, I think the intensity makes it totally exciting.

The songs cover three of the band's best albums: The Yes Album, Fragile, and the progressive monster Close to the Edge. This is the best lineup the band had (Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Squire, Bruford/White), all of whom clearly feel the deeply spiritual, stirring nature of their music. Their most recent studio album, Close to the Edge, is especially well-represented, which is a marvel given the complexity of the music. The 19-minute title track is as beautiful and moving as the studio rendition. "Siberian Khatru" has tenfold the zeal. Disappointingly, "And You and I" is notably weaker than the studio version because Howe uses an electric guitar throughout, not the acoustic, which [...takes] away some of the original's subtle textures and simple charm.

Perhaps the most exciting songs come from The Yes Album. "Perpetual Change" blasts off after a lengthy jam interlude in the middle, returning to the exciting verses and impelling on Squire's rumbling bass lines. Wakeman's solo on "Starship Trooper" is killer, and when Howe came in with his lead, the crowd must have been slain. Fragile too gets covered well. After a stunning excerpt from Wakeman's "The Wives of Henry VIII," the band moves into a high-energy version of their biggest hit to that point, "Roundabout." "Heart of the Sunrise," with exciting drum & bass interplay and emotional vocals, makes for one of the best moments on the album.

Certainly the best live album from this era of progressive rock.

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Yessongs
Details
Label: Atlantic Records
Artist: Yes
Release Date: September 27, 1994

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"Live majesty."
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