Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on October 6th, 2011
Yes formed in 1968 and instantly became a pioneer in the area of progressive rock. The band utilized classical trends and ideas to create epic musical pieces that were often over 10 minutes in length. While that made AM radio success more fleeting, the band was huge at its peak, joining the ranks of Emerson, Lake and Palmer in the genre as one of the most endearing and enduring bands of the era. While there have been many musicians to come and go over the years, the most popular lineup includes Jon Anderson on vocals, Steve Howe on lead guitar, Chris Squire on bass, Alan White on drums and Geoff Downs on keyboards. Certainly, they haven’t enjoyed the same amount of success in recent years, yet the band manages to survive in one form or another to this very day.
Eagle Rock Entertainment has given us a chance to drop in on our old friends and see how the last 43 years have treated the band in their Blu-ray release of Yes Symphonic Live. The concert takes place in Amsterdam in 2001 and is part of the band’s triumphant tour with a full orchestra. It’s something they hadn’t really done quite like this before. The tour was intended to promote their latest release Magnification which features the return to the long-form songs and classical roots. It’s likely the biggest concert tour the band has given in respect to arrangements and stage presence. They still appear to have a spark even if you won’t find Howe or Squire moving about as frantically as they once did. Of all of the band members Anderson appears the least worse for wear and has incredible energy and a voice as strong as you remember from the glory days.
We’re talking the full concert here. It clocks in at nearly three hours with most of the first half dedicated to the newer material. If you stick around, however, you’ll find yourself treated to rejuvenated versions of hits like I’ve Seen All Good People, Owner Of A Lonely Heart and Roundabout. I was disappointed that my own personal favorite: Wondrous Stories wasn’t included but there’s plenty here to satisfy Yes fans both old and new.
The Track List:
Close To The Edge
Long Distance Runaround
In The Presence Of
Gates Of Delirium
Steve Howe Guitar Solo
And You And I
I’ve Seen All Good People
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
The concert is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec at an average 20-25 mbps. The image is often dark. The band uses very soft lighting, but the high-definition image presentation is able to deliver wonderful contrast and sharpness. You’ll get vivid shots of the band. Black levels are excellent.
The LPCM 5.1 is quite impressive. The arrangements are full and sweet. Yes didn’t have 5.1 sound in the old days, and now with the orchestral arrangements this music sounds more dynamic than ever. Everything cuts through with dynamic sound and perfect clarity. The separation is great. You’ll catch every word that Anderson sings. Look, nothing beats being at a concert, but this is as good as it gets in your living room.
Dreamtime Documentary: (31:52) This raw footage look takes us into the recording studio to share relaxing moments with band members. Then it’s out on the road for the promotion of the release.
Music Video: Don’t Go
This is you best and last chance to see this celebrated version of Yes. The band has since completely reformed and Anderson is no longer on board. It’s hard for me to imagine the band without him and now, thanks to this Blu-ray release, I won’t have to. “So the story goes.”