An Evening of Yes Music
Artist: Anderson Bruford
Length: 2 hours, 22 mins
In all but name, this is
a key Yes DVD (or 2-CD set), catching them still fresh from their peak
(up to Relayer), but not yet jaded and out of ideas (the nineties).
Steve Howe is still recognisable as a youngish guitarist, developing traits
of the Dr Death look he currently employs, and Rick Wakeman sports a fine
At the time the Yes name
was owned solely by Chris Squire, who was playing elsewhere, while having
one of his spats with the other players, so the real band had to adopt
a new name, one far less creative than the music featured here. While the
Squire's away, the serfs will play – and play they do.
The early part features
plenty of solo material, often played solo. Jon Anderson opens proceedings
by walking in through the crowd, singing a medley of (largely) “Owner of
a Lonely Heart” and “Time and a Word”. After a while on stage he hands
over to Steve Howe, who gives a fresh, expanded “The Clap / Mood for a
Day” medley. Wakeman's set is over before you know it and Bill Bruford
waits until after an excellent “Long Distance Runaround” before hitting
his drum solo.
The set list would have
been a problem for the band at this time, as there simply would not have
been time for all the classic tracks. The pieces omitted in Squire's absence
hint at some of the material he may have preferred. There is nothing from
Topographics or Relayer here. What is included of the Yessongs
material is noticeably clean-sounding and lively, due largely to a combination
of different, more trebly, keyboards being used and Bruford's powerful,
“And You and I” is as starkly
beautiful as ever, continuing to earn its keep as one of rock's greatest
ever tracks, and ”Heart of the Sunrise” sounds majestic. It is here
that Bruford picks up some of Squire's bass lines on his synthesized drums.
Howe and Wakeman clearly enjoy playing these pieces and the whole ensemble
display stunning virtuosity throughout. Their dreamy, misty “Close to the
Edge” has moved on from earlier versions and is a true highlight here.
To keep up-to-date, there
is newer material here, such as “Brother of Mine,” which alternates memorable
vocal sections with more noodly parts.
There is little that could
improve this set, short of replacing the limp “Themes” with something as
good as “Awaken” or “Silent Wings of Freedom”. Despite some slightly shaky
vocals from Jon Anderson, “Starship Trooper” having one cylinder out and
the lack of bonus material, this lengthy set is magnificent. It comes with
more tracks than the website claims and is highly recommended.