An Evening of Yes Music Plus (1993)


  
Disc One 1. The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra 2. Jon Anderson Solo: Time and a Word/ Owner of a Lonely Heart/Teakbois 3. Steve Howe Solo: Clap/Mood for a Day 4. Rick Wakeman Solo: Madrigal/Catherine Parr/Merlin the Magician 5. Long Distance Runaround 6. Birthright 7. And You and I 8. Starship Trooper Disc Two 1. Close to the Edge 2. Themes 3. Brother of Mine 4. Heart of the Sunrise 5. Order of the Universe 6. Roundabout

 

Another Yes album that isn’t, technically, a Yes album. Members Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, and Steve Howe did what most people figured they would do after 1989’s eponymous album, they toured. And of course, such a spectacle guarantees that attendees will be treated with many nuggets of yesteryear. A good thing. Right? Well, overall, yes.

The Good - It’s arguably the “core” lineup playing live, which this incarnation hasn’t done since about 1972. The old songs sound good. The new songs don’t sound too shabby either. This surprised me since I was highly disappointed by Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. The few cuts they feature here from that album sound a bit more breathable. I’m sure a good time was had by all.

The Weird - Each member gets to feature a “solo”. That itself isn’t too surprising, but for some bizarre reason, they each alternate the spotlight at the beginning of the show, as in, before they play any proper songs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this. It would seem to have been better to space these solos throughout the show. Maybe they thought that since there might be a lot of “new” fans coming to the shows, that it might be best to “show off” first? Introduce themselves to all the new faces? In case you’re wondering, the track Long Distance Runaround features the Bill Bruford solo. Speaking of Bill Bruford….

The Bad - Bill Bruford. Like the studio album, Bill is favoring electronic percussion. Actually, to my ears, it sounds like he’s only playing electronic percussion. Not only does this hinder the new songs, but it completely destroys some of the classic Yes numbers. I’m sorry, but I can’t listen to Close to the Edge with all the ‘thwack-thwack-thwacking’ going on. Yes, this was the eighties, and it wasn’t uncommon to see old farts play around with this new fangled technology on record and stage, but when Phil Collins of Genesis or Neil Peart of Rush experimented, they did so on selected songs, not the entire set. I dunno. From what I’ve heard, Bruford has always been a bit of rebel, and seemed the least enthused about such a reunion project. Perhaps he was going Neil Young on everyone and throwing out his past so he can play with some new toys. It’s this factor that causes me to rarely ever listen to this record. After all, Yes has plenty of good live albums before and after this brief incarnation.

Well, like many live albums, it’s a nice snapshot of what the guys were doing at the time.

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