Union Live (2011)

Disc One 1. Intro/Firebird Suite 2. Yours is No Disgrace 3. The Rhythm of Love 4. Heart of the Sunrise 5. Clap / Mood For a Day 6. Make it Easy / Owner of a Lonely Heart 7. I've Seen All Good People Disc Two 1. Solly's Beard 2. Saving My Heart For You 3. Whitefish / Amazing Grace 4. Rick Wakeman Solo 5. Awaken 6. Roundabout


I guess it was around 1990 or 1991 when the “Union” of Yes occurred. Essentially, there were two very strong versions of the band that were recording and touring (one was called “Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe” due to legal reasons) and fate decided to combine the two lineups into one mega lineup for an album and tour.

Unfortunately, the album was rather a disappointment. This was more due to lack of planning than anything else. The tour, however, was quite the spectacle for those fortunate enough to witness it. As I recall, it was “theatre in the round” complete with a revolving stage. Being that there were eight musicians on stage, this gave plenty of time for solos to showcase various members’ talents. Apparently, this also allowed the show to stretch out to about three hours.

So twenty years later, a legitimate DVD/CD release is finally made to the public. This is a good representation of what the masses saw, but finally having this many years later takes away from the appeal somewhat. First, this is about the seventh or eighth “legitimate” Yes live album. Quite frankly, we’ve heard most of this before. Even the multiple solos on this record sound a bit thing. Of course, the reason why the focus of this record is more about solos than actual songs is because we’ve heard all those songs multiple times as well. As I recall, there were more solos at the show than what is featured here.

You can aslo definitely tell that there are eight musicians on stage. The mix sounds a bit crowded. Even some of the quiet spots on some of the songs are enhanced by Rick Wakeman’s tinkling on the keyboard or Bill Bruford wacking away on his electronic kit. Had this been the only proper Yes live album, it would be easy to say that these accoutrements are somewhat of a distraction, but when we’ve heard all of these things so many times before, anything that sounds remotely different is welcome.

The album isn’t much, the DVD is slightly better, but it would have been really cool to have actually attended a show during the tour. It’s too bad there isn’t more variety and/or deep cuts, but I’ve said that on most other Yes live albums that I’ve reviewed. Truth is, if you were there, what you hear on this record is probably what you would have wanted to see being played.

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