Keys to Ascension 2 (1997)

1. I've Seen All Good People 2. Going for the One 3. Time and a Word 4. Close to the Edge 5. Turn of the Century 6. And You and I 7. Mind Drive 8. Foot Prints 9. Bring Me to the Power 10.Children of the Light 11.Sign Language


FI can’t think of any other time in history where a band simply named a new album after their prior album with the number ‘2’ following it. Exceptions of course being a first and second album ever by an artist. Perhaps the reason was the layout of these two albums are both a bit unusual yet mainly identical?

Last year’s Keys to Ascension had the classic (or one of the classic) Yes lineups reunite – Anderson, White, Wakeman, Howe, and Squire. This was apparently only for a brief set of shows. In addition to a very good live album, they added a couple of studio tracks. This was the band Yes, remember, so a couple of new tracks consisted of about 29 minutes of new material.

For whatever reason, on this album they decide to release more live tracks from the same set of shows along with more new studio material, so duplicating the name of the album as a “part two” actually makes perfect sense.

Like its predecessor, the live portion is very good and I would argue so are the studio tracks. Many diehard fans would disagree about the new studio tracks, but I’m firm in my sentiments. The ratio here of “live” to “studio” is a bit more even this time, and I would also argue the five new cuts aren’t quite as good as the two from the first release, but that’s splitting hairs a bit. Of course, hindsight shows us it would have been much better to have released this material as one large live album, and then a separate studio album (they did actually put all of the studio songs on one release a few years later, and it flowed much better and was better received), but I’m guessing that the band members weren’t completely in unison as to what to do.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, this version of Yes was now through – at least in the studio. I think, but I’m not completely sure, that every Yes album following this one would have a slightly different lineup. Surprised? Me neither.

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