House of Yes:Live From House of Blues (2000)


  
Disc One 1. Yours is No Disgrace 2. Time and a Word 3. Homeworld (The Ladder) 4. Perpetual Change 5. The Messenger 6. Ritual - Nous Sommes du Soleil 7. And You And I Disc Two 1. It Will Be A Good Day (The River) 2. Face to Face 3. Awaken 4. I've Seen All Good People 5. Cinema 6. Owner of a Lonely Heart 7. Roundabout

 

True, Yes probably didn’t need another live album at this point in their career, yet this one has a few charms that make it worthwhile. First, they’re playing at a much smaller venue allowing a bit more intimacy between themselves and the rabid fans – The House of Blues in Las Vegas. Don’t let the word “Blues” fool you. There are many “House of Blues” venues scattered across the country, and they became popular places for bands of yesteryear that couldn’t sell out arenas anymore, but could at least back a couple thousand in the seats.

Second, they’re touring in support of their fantastic The Ladder album, and there is a pretty significant chunk of that record here. Sometimes audiences don’t like a lot of “new stuff” when they see their favorite band in concert, yet the audience seems to go just as crazy for these tunes as the older classics. Truth be told, I doubt if an alien from another planet could tell the difference between “old” Yes and “new” Yes on a record such as this. It all blends quite well.

Another factor that this band always had against them is that a large chunk of their more popular tunes are quite lengthy. The reason this is a disadvantage is because it limits the actual number of tracks that can be played at a particular show, and since many of these epics tend to be fan favorites, it’s not surprising that you find a lot of “repeats” on their live albums. In fact, the three longest pieces on this album add up to 42 minutes – enough to fill a regular full length album.

They still manage to do a good job, though, incorporating a few rarities amongst the lengthier standbys. They even include a few “snippets” of songs as opposed to the entire song. Particularly rewarding is the 59 second version of Ritual - Nous Sommes Du Soleil. Had they included the entire 20+ minute epic, I probably would have reduced my opinion of this record by a couple of stars.

Then we come to the obligatory “trifecta” of Yes music. Since the only “hits” these guys really had were I’ve Seen All Good People, Owner of a Lonely Heart and Roundabout, it’s pretty much a given that they’ll be featured at all shows and on most of the live Yes albums. Truth be told, one wishes they could have included something else, but if you’ve ever been to a Yes show, you must admit that these three songs are definitely the highlight – usually showing up around encore time.

The band themselves sound quite good as well. Particularly memorable are Steve Howe and Chris Squire. Howe adds some nice little elements to Owner of a Lonely Heart that you won’t find on any other version (in case you don’t know, Howe wasn’t in the band when that song was recorded).

I wish I could have been there.

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