Yessongs (1973)


  
1. Opening "Firebird Suite" 2. Siberian Khatru 3. Heart of the Sunrise 4. Perpetual Change 5. And You and I 6. Mood for a Day 7. Excerpts from "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" 8. Roundabout 9. I've Seen All Good People 10.Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) 11.Close to the Edge 12.Yours is No Disgrace 13.Starship Trooper

 

The first of many live albums by the band. First glance at the track list shows that there are 13 songs. One might then think, “Yeah, but these are Yes songs, so it’s probably a double album”. Well, it’s actually a triple album. Yep. Not sure how many of these existed back in the early seventies. I’m not even sure how many of these existed ever.

What’s even more curious is that the band only had 5 studio albums at this point in their career, yet the music here only features cuts from their last three. Those “last three” are widely considered the best by the consensus, so the idea to only feature those tracks here is not a bad idea. All of the great (and long) tracks from those albums are here. A triple album might be a bit much, but had this thing been whittled down to a double would have forced too much consequential material to be obliterated.

Fortunately, they play the entire Close to the Edge album (although not in order), and I think it sounds just as awesome live as the studio recording. That seems to be the only gripe about this recording by many – the sound quality. It certainly never bothered me. I’m guessing 1973 technology could be a bit limiting, so I focus on the playing and the energy and not necessarily the crispness of the production.

As far as the track listing goes, they include the “opening music” (Firebird Suite) which isn’t actually them playing, and keyboardist Rick Wakeman also plays a piece from his first solo album, excerpts from The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Most of the tracks here are from their most recent tour after drummer Bill Bruford bailed. New drummer is Alan White. He would actually remain the Yes drummer for the rest of the career. Quite an accomplishment.

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